Over the past year, well-publicized incidents nationally and in the Lowcountry have cast some law enforcement officers in a negative light.
Make no mistake, any alleged wrongdoing by a police officer should be investigated fully, and, if proven, appropriate action should be taken. Police officers are — and should be — held to a higher standard. It is important to remember that the vast majority of officers live up to that high standard. They are honorable men and women doing a dangerous job for the public good. They protect and serve, and they risk their lives for us, often times without adequate compensation.
For those who would criticize all law enforcement officers because of the actions of a few, ask yourself this question: Imagine what your neighborhood, or your town would be like without the police. That is a scary thought.
I would like to publicly commend Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office 1st. Sgt. Jimmie Ross. A 35-year veteran, he has spent a lifetime on the thin blue line, putting his life on the line for our protection. In 2002, his police vehicle was struck by a drunk driver in a head-on collision. Sgt. Ross sustained back, neck and head injuries and was out of work for nearly two months. But he came back, and he came back strong.
Sgt. Ross represents the best in law enforcement. He is a symbol of all that is right about our lawmen, and I believe he is the rule, and not the exception. He is representative of the vast majority of our officers and deputies at the town, county and state levels.
To Sgt. Ross, and to so many of his fellow officers, a grateful Berkeley County, state and nation says thank you. May God protect and bless you and your families. Keep walking tall.
Wade C. Arnette
(Mr. Arnette is a former Berkeley County coroner)