19 March 2012
It’s widely recognized that law enforcement officers possess a demanding and dangerous job. Day in and day out they deal with criminals and the sometimes stressful public. Many see law enforcement as an annoyance rather than a protector. Law enforcement officers often feel underappreciated from the public that they protect every day. “The general public wants nothing to do with the police until they need us,” says Pocahontas Police Chief Al Henrickson. Al has been in the police force for 24 years and deals with the daily ins and outs with a submissive calmness. Sometimes people take for granted the small things that police do for the public like: unlocking cars, daily patrolling, crime prevention in the schools, and enforcing road safety laws. “We have two main highways in the heart of Pocahontas and with that comes heavy truck traffic and the laws need to be enforced, said Al.” Approximately $3.2 billion dollars are spent each year for crime prevention programs in schools put into action by local and state agencies (Wiloch n.p). Police programs conducted in schools are effective in minimizing crime. These programs include more police patrols in higher crime neighborhoods and the use of specific divisions that recognize and observe repeat offenders after they are released back into the community (Wiloch n.p). It is often typical that the public has a general misconception of the law enforcement profession. Simply put, the public assumes their only responsibility is to arrest the "bad guys". Even though a large part of their work happens to be arresting lawbreakers, it’s not as simple as that. “A lot of people may not know that we do school patrol every day. We patrol in the morning and when school gets out. Our officers actually go into the schools and observe the students and teachers, on a daily basis,” noted Al. The purpose of school patrolling in any community, big or...