Letter: Police officers often first responders at scene
The primary responsibility of law enforcement in any response situation is the protection of life, limb and property—whether it be a crime in progress, a traffic-related incident or any number of incidents produced by Mother Nature. Many times, law enforcement officers are the first trained or certified individuals to arrive at an incident or emergency, having to take responsibility for protection and preservation of life, property, evidence and the environment.
While fighting crime and attempting to prevent crime are essential roles of law enforcement, it is by no means the most prevalent; some even view it as not the most important. Community Policing is a term used to describe a philosophy of policing in which law enforcement identifies quality of life issues and solutions to problems to make our community a safer and better place to live. Sometimes solutions to problems are better achieved outside the criminal justice system.
As first responders, we may not always be summoned to help with a matter related to criminal activity. Far from it. Even though it may not seem important to us, it is very important to the person who called for assistance. Law enforcement personnel routinely direct persons to other resources better equipped to assist them with their issue when it is not law enforcement related.
At any time, law enforcement may be called into the midst of any number of violent or potentially violent situations. Training and resources play a huge role in how these incidents are handled and how the end result is gained. Law enforcement officers may have to play counselor, moderator or referee to resolve a bad situation peacefully. At times, even with the best of efforts, some situations may escalate and other resources may need to be utilized. In our case, if the level of danger were to increase significantly, options such as a negotiator or a tactical unit may need to be brought in, since we don’t have such resources in-house.
Mathews County Sheriff