“Police face every day what we fear,” said DeKalb County Commission President Ricky Harcrow during a Thursday ceremony in honor of National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day.

“I borrow this phrase from somebody else, but I think it is as true today as it ever was,” Harcrow said. “Law enforcement officers of every rank and file have chosen a profession that puts their lives on the line every day for our communities. They have answered a call for public service that is demanding and, oftentimes, very much unappreciated. From local and state to federal, their duties command dedication. They work long hours away from their families, and rarely do they know what they will face when they go to work. They do what they can, where they are, with what they have. And I want to acknowledge that today. I want to tell you gentlemen how much we appreciate you and offer our thanks for the service that you render.”

He noted that particularly in smaller towns, “law enforcement is often the only paid emergency resource in a community. They often work in coordination with local, state and federal organizations to make communities safer. Now we have an opportunity to offer them appreciation. I want to thank the law enforcement team across our county and recognize each of them as a dedicated public servant.”

Harcrow praised the officers and deputies who are on the front line as schools and churches increasingly fall under random attack.

“Our first obligation is public safety, which has become a difficult process,” he said. “We see the safety of schoolchildren arriving to the forefront, and even churches as they meet on Sunday morning top the list [of dangers], even now. As far as I am concerned, and I work with them every day in some way -- our county and our municipalities throughout the county have some of the best [police officers and deputies]. I will always be a supporter. Our county commission supports them. We have gone to every length to work with our law enforcement officials and to support them and their personnel. I know that our city councils and other public officials feel the same.”

DeKalb County Sheriff Nick Welden called the group “a true family in DeKalb County law enforcement. That’s one thing we have going for us in this county and its municipalities, and I am extremely proud of as sheriff of this county.”

That fellowship is rooted in a shared experience, he said, adding, “You must have those experiences to truly know what it means, from the most horrific crimes to the great deeds you do in life, to be appreciated. We back each other up and know the community supports us now more than ever. I thank the [county] commission. They see what we need to do our jobs. We have big shoes to fill in this county when it comes to law enforcement.”

Fort Payne Police Chief Randy Bynum also spoke, saying, “On behalf of all of the municipalities and everybody represented up here, every department, we all wear different colors, but we all do the same thing. Our job is to serve and protect, and we take that job very, very, very seriously. It doesn’t matter where we are from, what we do or how we do it, we are all on the same team. I want the public to know that. That’s our number one focus: to keep the citizens of DeKalb County and all of our cities we represent safe. I appreciate the opportunity [to say that].”

Harcrow closed out the ceremony by recognizing County Revenue Enforcement Officer Clayborn Simpson, who was unable to attend for health reasons.

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