We live in uncertain times. Gone are the days when one could walk the streets any time of the day or night with the confidence that no harm would be put upon your person or belongings. These days, we look at each other with anxiety because of the continuing rise in the crime rate of our nation.
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We look for people who can protect our communities from harm, but without involving the national guards or arms of military service. In small towns such as ours, that duty falls upon the shoulders of the sheriff and his deputies. It is this concern for the security of others and the desire to serve my community that I decided to join the ranks of those wishing to be trained to become deputy sheriffs.
I realize that becoming a deputy sheriff is not as easy as it sounds. It will require a huge sacrifice on my part as I spend the next 26 weeks at the police academy undergoing rigid training that will ensure I know and understand all my duties and responsibilities as a community peacekeeper and law enforcer and then another 3 weeks on the field, brushing up on my technical skills and gaining hands-on experience before venturing out on my own.
The 40 hours or more work week will probably take its toll on my family and personal life but after having a lengthy discussion with my family, they have come to understand that I have always had a sense of duty and responsibility to my family, community, and country, which is why they are all highly supportive of my decision to join the academy.
They also see the work opportunity the same way that I do, as a chance to meet people from all walks of life in a capacity which will be most beneficial to them — that of being their protector and guardian in all instances.
The position of a deputy sheriff is not defined merely by the uniform that is worn or the badge that he carries and wears. The power of the law enforcer does not come from the gun or taser that he carries, either.
This is something that other law enforcement students do not seem to understand. It is something that I came to understand when I first became interested in joining the department and went out of my way to talk to some of the deputies in my area.
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They helped me understand that a deputy sheriff needs to embody and possess certain traits in order to function properly on the job. Traits such as patience, common sense, and the ability to make good decisions while under pressure. Abilities that I personally believe that I possess in abundance.
It will not be hard for me to become immersed in the training and actual job implementation as a deputy sheriff because I am an honest person who believes in hard work while striving to make a difference in people’s lives. That difference in their lives will come from my being able to become an unseen presence, constantly looking after their welfare, and jumping into action the minute their peace and safety are threatened by a type of chaotic instance.
The size of the police department that I will be working for does not matter. What does matter is that by becoming a deputy sheriff, I will be able to help prevent crime and injustice. In an era when law enforcers are feared more than trusted, it is important that I be able to show the public that deputy sheriff’s, in particular, are fair when it comes to upholding the law and that we do not trample on the basic human rights.
As a part of the community, my job will be to show them that they are going to be safe and should feel secure under my watch. That my protection extends to the whole community regardless of their race and sex. Bigotry and anti-Semitism do not have a place in law enforcement. Public trust is the first and foremost reason that I have the power to enforce laws as a deputy sheriff, and I should never abuse it.
I believe that it is important to continuously build upon that public trust, which is why I look forward to the day when I will be able to participate in the Sheriff Department community outreach programs. Programs like the Community Academies which allow the members of the community a three week peek into the life, duties, and responsibilities of law enforcers.
Or perhaps I will be able to impart the knowledge I will have learned by then through the Community Oriented Policing Services. I am particularly interested in the Community based law enforcement programs. This is because I believe that the best way of securing a community is by allowing the people to police themselves under the supervision of law enforcement bodies.
Neighborhood watch meetings, Town Hall meetings, Volunteers on Patrol – these are but a few ways in which the community can work hand in hand with the deputies and the sheriff’s department in order to ensure that the places where they should feel secure and safe will never be infiltrated by bad elements and influences.
Unlike a big police department, a sheriff and his deputies have the ability and time to make law enforcement a part of the everyday lives of people in their jurisdiction.
I feel that it will allow me the opportunity to get to know my neighbors better and be of better help to them because they know that they can and should trust me to protect them when they feel they need it. Whether in uniform or out of it, I am still their next-door neighbor friend and townmate.
My desire to ensure the protection of my family and fellow man is the driving force that will ensure that I become one of the best deputy sheriffs to ever graduate from the academy. I will begin my quest now.