Lawmen thanked for service

Published 10:19 am Tuesday, March 17, 2009

MURFREESBORO — It’s not often law enforcement officers hear those two little words of praise: thank you.

On Wednesday, officers with the Hertford County Sheriff’s Office, Murfreesboro Police Department and Chowan University (CU) Public Safety Department got a chance to have their work appreciated.

The officers gathered to partake in an appreciation dinner hosted by CU’s Criminal Justice Club.

Club President Jonathan Morriss came up with the idea last year of having an appreciation dinner for officers.

With support from the other members as well as the club advisor Dr. Bert Wyatt (chair of the Criminal Justice Department), Morriss’ idea became a reality.

“It started out for Public Safety (here on campus) and the Murfreesboro Police Department,” Morriss told the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald. “This year it grew to include the Sheriff’s Office.”

Morriss said the reason behind the dinner is to simply give thanks to the officers who work to keep the campus and the surrounding communities safe.

“Ya’ll officers face outstanding measures everyday for people like me,” said Morriss to the crowd.

Former Highway Patrol Trooper, now District 4 Senator Ed Jones served as the event’s guest speaker.

Jones reflected on his own inspiration for getting into law enforcement—playing Cowboys and Indians.

“It’s always about making a difference…making a difference in folks’ lives,” he said about being an officer. “If not for you how could anyone sleep or feel secure enough to send their children to school.”

Jones also took the time to speak on the need to rehabilitate offenders so when they are released from jail they’ll be prepared to be a constructive citizen.

“After that time (of being incarcerated) they’re still a felon and cannot get a job,” he noted. “When they can’t get a job they turn back to crime.”

Jones also referred to the recently introduced Ex-Offender Reentry Study bill (Jones is the primary sponsor for the legislation) to prepare the justice system in being more “proactive instead of reactive.”

“Keep one thing in mind, no matter what, when you go to court and put your hand on the Bible and swear to up hold the law, the good will always survive,” he said to the audience.

Among those in attendance were the law enforcement agencies’ respective leaders, including Sheriff Juan Vaughan, Murfreesboro Police Chief Darrell Rowe and CU Public Safety Chief Derek Burke.

Sheriff Vaughan said the dinner was an excellent idea and was happy to have his officers invited.

“I want to thank them for the recognition…we appreciate it,” said Vaughan.

Rowe also thanked Morriss and the Criminal Justice Club for the dinner.

“This shows we have a close law enforcement community that works together along with Chowan,” he said.

He also spoke about the relationship between the university and law enforcement. Rowe said officers take classes on the campus and programs offered on the campus position students to learn from officers.

Burke said he appreciated the event and it showed officers that they are valued. He also noted how the law enforcement agencies work together.

“It’s a consolidated effort in making everyone safe,” he said.

When asked if the event provided the boost of morale for their officers, both Vaughan and Rowe said it did.

“It does show them how much people appreciate them,” said Vaughan.

Morriss said he is hoping the event will grow more in the future.