Sumter's law enforcement officers from various agencies spent Tuesday morning in fellowship during the 2018 Police Week Prayer Breakfast at Church of the Holy Comforter.
Attendees listened to prayers from officers and a speech from Sen. Kevin …
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Attendees listened to prayers from officers and a speech from Sen. Kevin Johnson, D-Manning, about owing a debt of gratitude to law enforcement.
"There seems to be a deep level of dissatisfaction with law enforcement, maybe because of incorrect perceptions of what law enforcement does and what law enforcement stands for," he said.
Bad apples exist in every profession, Johnson said, but the vast majority of officers are themselves law abiding and take their responsibilities seriously.
Officers take an oath to uphold the law, and that's exactly what they do, he said.
"Most law officials love what they do," he said, "They take pride in their job, and they do it well."
When events - fun gatherings like the Iris Festival or a disaster like a major flood - happen throughout our community, law enforcement is there, Johnson said.
The community owes officers a debt of gratitude because they are brave and fearless, he said.
If anyone doubts the bravery of law enforcement officers, think back to Sept. 11, 2001, Johnson said.
While civilians ran away from that gruesome scene as fast as they could, officers and other first responders rushed toward the danger, he said.
"You have to be devoted and dedicated to do that," he said.
Officers show up to help families even though showing up means leaving their own families behind, Johnson said.
They go to work not knowing if that will be the shift where they make the ultimate sacrifice, he said, and some officers lay down their lives not just for friends but for strangers, no matter the color of their skin.
Sometimes, officers confront suspects who are larger, stronger, quicker and even more equipped, but they still show up to work with their agency badges and their badges of courage, Johnson said.
Law enforcement officers are regular people doing special things, he said.
Following Johnson's speech, Chief Deputy Hampton Gardner of the Sumter County Sheriff's Office conducted the final inspection for Sumter's fallen law enforcement officers, and a member of the sheriff's office's honor guard played taps.
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