Dear Editor: I was one of around 30 people who recently attended the second annual Citizens Law Enforcement Academy done by the Jackson County Sheriff's Office.

How fortunate I was to attend. The program was held on six Tuesday nights at the sheriff's office for two hours per session.

Sheriff Janis Mangum began the program by introducing some of her command staff and discussing what we should expect. We heard about E911 calls, EMS and EMA issues, met with a K-9 officer and his dog and toured the county jail.

In other meetings, we heard from police chiefs in the county, a DNR representative, EMS and fire department officials, a GBI officer and a GSP officer. The GBI officer discussed some closed cases, which we found to be very interesting. A great part of what we learned from this was shown on a screen of actual situations.

For our final event, we met at the county shooting range where we were instructed by deputies using our personal handguns. It was a learning experience for all of us.

One of the points the last deputy who spoke to use made was this: He said each morning when officers from the local and state get up, they first put on their protective  vest, then they holster their gun to their side. They think, "Will this be the day that someone shoots me, or will this be the day I must use my weapon to shoot someone else?"

How many of us in this city, county or state have to struggle with such serious questions each working day?

The struggle goes beyond that. These folks stand between us and trouble for so little in pay. Dedication has to be a must for them to even consider such an occupation.

Something should be done. Whoever the power that be and have control of the purse strings, please give consideration to this tragic situation. Raise our taxes a little if that's what it takes.

Where would we citizens be if there were no officers to protect us?

"All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing." — Edmund Burke


Sonny Cheatham



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