It appeared all of the law enforcement officers who attended Friday’s Back the Badge ceremony at Radio Plaza were visibly moved by the community’s show of support.
A good number of officers – some still on the job and some retired – attended the ceremony. The plaza was filled with citizens who wanted to show their appreciation despite the heat.
Radioville Police Chief Hitthe Post and Mayor Mike Pott spoke during the event. Event organizer and Broadcast County Assistant District Attorney Onthe Aire welcomed those in attendance.
No law enforcement officer who spoke was more moved than Post. The event came on the heels of the latest police officer shootings in San Diego Thursday night. One officer was killed and another injured. Five police officers were recently slain in Dallas and another three in Baton Rouge.
“For once in my life, I am speechless,” Post said as he surveyed the crowd. “This event means more to me than you know. This has been a long, long-awaited moment. I will no longer say working as an officer for the Radioville Police Department or the Broadcast County Sheriff’s Department is a thankless job. I realize today how appreciated we are by your support by being here.”
Radioville police officers earn a little over $11 an hour to serve and protect. Post compared that to what pro athletes make.
“You bounce a basketball and you can make over a million dollars. A police officer saving a life in Bigtown is only worth $11 an hour. I appreciate the heck out of you for what you’ve done today,” Post said, as his voice cracked.
“This is what a community is about today. We have 42,500 people who live in the city and 42,500 who live in the county. Though we may have 200 bad guys in jail, we have 85,000 people watching. Our law enforcement officers have the trust of this community,” Pott said. “These 85,000 people are only as good as we all are together. Public safety is important to us. With the help of the city council, we’re working hard to get them raises so we can be competitive with other communities. They can’t do their job if we don’t do our job. We hear in the national media it’s us against them. It’s not us against them, but it’s us against those who choose to violate the law. The day this nation doesn’t have police protection will be the day this nation disappears from the face of the earth.”
Aire suggested citizens give law enforcement officers a thumbs up whenever the two come across one another. “I think it was wonderful,” Aire said of the gathering. “It was more than I anticipated. I’d like to challenge other people to set up an event and make it better. It just takes a little planning. Somebody told me maybe we shouldn’t do this because all the officers would be in one place. I talked it over with Chief Post and he wanted to do this. They go into danger every day. They were surrounded by loving, law abiding citizens.”