The original item was published from May 23, 2016 9:04 AM to September 21, 2018 9:25 AM
How sweet it is to have a community that cares about its police. The sixteenth annual Derby Police Appreciation Banquet was held recently at the First Presbyterian Church in Derby. Not only did some 25 volunteers help cook, serve and otherwise host the event, 46 businesses donated goods and services for door prizes for the officers, their spouses and children.
This annual dinner event is one of few similar events in the state. Derbyites should be proud of this tradition. Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt was the guest speaker, and many officers brought their small children, which was a stark reminder of the youthfulness of our police officers and their commitment to family.
Police Chief Robert Lee informed the audience that for just the past few months, as officers have made routine traffic stops, they also have been distributing invitations to comment on their behavior. Chief Lee read responses about officers who were polite, compassionate and helpful. Some noted while they didn’t like getting a ticket, the officer performed her duty professionally.
Law enforcement requires a delicate balance between professional police and the community. Rael Hodgson was recognized as the Volunteer of the Year as her State Farm Insurance Agency has sponsored a bike rodeo for youth in Derby for many years. Teaching bike safety is more than a gesture; it makes a meaningful difference in public safety.
Pastor Ben Ray at First Presbyterian Church volunteers as chaplain to the police department, and Father Tom Wilson at St. Andrews Episcopal Church provides assistance to victims of domestic violence, which is generous of them and much appreciated by the police and the community. Delivering bad news to family members or helping a victim navigate the court system is a difficult aspect of policing, and having experienced members of the clergy assist makes a meaningful difference in community goodwill and confidence.
On behalf of the community, thank you Derby Police Department for serving and protecting us.
And on behalf of the police, thank you Derby community for appreciating and helping your local law enforcement professionals.
Published in the Derby Informer
on May 18, 2016.