Calcasieu Parish Sheriff Tony Mancuso. (Brad Puckett / American Press)
Last Modified: Sunday, May 20, 2012 7:36 PM
Accolades seemed to pile up, one after the next, as last week’s annual dinner for the Calcasieu Sheriff’s Office progressed.
Encouraging was that stated tributes were not for one law enforcement officer, but many. More encouraging is they were made by deputies and supervisors themselves. Who would know better how their fellow officers perform on the job than their brothers and sisters behind the badge?
Sheriff’s Office employees stepped forward one by one for many honors — 20-year service, fitness, support staff. The SWAT team was announced as tops in the state; the honor guard had earned national notice.
Department by department — fleet operations, enforcement, corrections, programs, special services, law enforcement center, investigations, civil — men and women who serve with distinction were honored as the best of the best for the year. Small wonder, then, that smiles were wide and spirits soared.
They were the types of tributes that the public craves to hear about the men and women in uniform. They bolster our confidence that we are protected in Calcasieu, in Lake Charles, and across the region as department by department observed National Police Week.
But the words themselves were as impressive as the hardware distributed to deserving men and women who protect and serve. Speakers talked about the “strength and courage” of their fellow officers or that they “can always be relied upon.”
“He overcame obstacles.” “He has chosen to do more.” “He did not try to bring attention to himself.” That’s what those who protect and serve said of their fellow officers.
Or — this was inspiring, but chilling to hear: “He may take a bullet to the chest, but not in the back.”
Sheriff Tony Mancuso had talked aplenty at that morning’s memorial service about the attributes required to wear the badge, listing honor, courage, pride, compassion and sacrifice among them. His choices were well-taken, especially at a solemn service where the fallen are remembered. But even in a lighter mood at dinner, with glasses raised high and laughter in abundance, the awesome responsibility of the job was as much in evidence as the door prizes and the good dinner.
At least for this one week, it was fitting for the rest of us to say, “Thank you.”
This editorial was written by a member of the American Press Editorial Board. Its content reflects the collaborative opinion of the Board, whose members include Bobby Dower, Ken Stickney, Jim Beam, Dennis Spears, Crystal Stevenson and Donna Price.