Law Enforcement Appreciation Day set for Saturday
The Hartselle Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association will host its first annual community-wide Law Enforcement Appreciation Day Sat., May 9, in E.A.R.T.H. Park.
The festivities will feature popcorn, hot dogs, shaved ice, balloons, stickers, face painting and bouncy areas from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Everything is absolutely free to the public.
The event is designed to bring the community and the 10 local law enforcement agencies together in honor of National Police Week Sun., May 10 through Sat., May 16. Peace Officers Memorial Day is also Fri., May 15, as a time to remember fallen heroes.
The HCPAAA has invited the Morgan County District Attorney’s office, Trinity Police Department, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Hartselle Police Department, Priceville Police Department, Somerville Police Department, Morgan County Sheriff’s Department, Decatur Police Department, Falkville Police Department and Alabama State Troopers.
Representatives from these groups will be bringing special vehicles or equipment such as boats, Humvees or patrol cars for visitors to see. Law enforcement agencies of all kinds will be available to talk with the public and answer questions.
Blue ribbons celebrating National Police Week will also be handed out for visitors to feature on their vehicle antenna the following week.
HCPAAA Lead Committee Chairman Bobby Webster saw the need for a law enforcement appreciation day in the community several months ago.
“There’s a lot of negative publicity of police departments all over the country, and I thought our community should really show their support for our local law enforcement,” Webster said. “A supportive event would be positive for our officers and show our appreciation to our local agencies.”
HCPAAA President Tammy White said they decided a community-wide event before National Police Week would be a great way to utilize Webster’s idea.
“Our community has always been supportive of local law enforcement, but we thought a fun-filled day for everyone to get to know each other would really show the agencies how much everyone appreciates them,” White said. “It all started out as the idea to pass out ribbons, but it grew to this big event. The city, schools and local businesses have been extremely cooperative, and if the citizens show as much cooperation as we’ve already seen by coming out Saturday, this is really going to be a great turnout. All the local agencies in Morgan County and their families have been invited, so the community can learn about each one of those.”
Lt. Linda Fox of the Hartselle Police Department said she is grateful for the HCPAAA’s hard work and devotion.
“This has really been a humbling experience for me to realize how much they appreciate the job we do,” Fox said. “Hartselle has always shown their support, and we are blessed with the HCPAAA that tirelessly volunteers for us and feeds us. It’s going to be nice to have a day where we aren’t the last people want to see like it is the other 364 days of the year. We will get to smile and laugh with everyone instead of having to be stern.”
Fox said support such as this makes her job easier.
“Knowing how people appreciate what we do makes the hours we spend away from family a little more bearable,” Fox said. “Being a police officer isn’t just a 10-hours-a-day job. We are constantly on alert, and the community recognizes us as officers, even when we are off duty. Hopefully people will see that we are human, and we can all come together for a day.”
The HCPAAA is continually raising money for the needs of the police department. Their current project is preparing a “go-bag” for each Hartselle officer in case of an emergency where they have to abandon their vehicle. They have about $2,300 left to finish this project. They also feed as many departments in Morgan County as they can monthly and hold multiple gun safety classes each year.
The date of their next four-hour instructional and hands-on gun safety class will be announced at the Law Enforcement Appreciation Day Saturday.