Feeling Proud and Grateful on Public Safety Day



Our day began at the Law Enforcement Center.  Sheriff Jenkins welcomed the class a gave  us an overview of the department and its mission to “…serve all the people within Frederick County with respect, fairness, and compassion…” He emphasized the role of police officers to “…nurture public trust by holding themselves to the highest standards of performance and ethics…”  Major Troy Barrick (2016) discussed the many aspects of law enforcement in the County, the importance of relationships between departments, and the challenges they face.  The overall commitment and challenge of protecting both the public and law enforcement personnel was particularly striking.  It’s a delicate balance.  Sheriff Jenkins summed it up by sharing what he tells his “people,” to “be nice until it’s time not to be nice”.   

Capt. Hibbard joined Maj. Barrick for an in-depth look at several active assailant scenarios and mass shootings.  The words to remember are Avoid (situational awareness), Deny (lock & barricade) and Defend (get angry and fight).  In short, we can no longer act defenseless. Statistics show that hiding under tables and desks and praying the shooter won’t find you is not the best option and more likely will get you shot. Looking for secondary exits, moving furniture such as heavy desks and file cabinets in front of doors to deny the shooter entry and if necessary defending yourself will result in more lives being saved.


Chief Owens shared an overview of the Fire and Rescue Departments.  It was particularly interesting to learn about the important role that volunteers play in maintaining public safety 24/7/365.  The cooperation between volunteers and career staff is one of mutual respect and shared responsibility.   As Chief Owens noted, volunteers are trained with the same skills and intensity as career staff…they are a crucial “force multiplier”.  On to the Public Safety Training Center where we learned about the rigorous 5 ½ month training program from Chief Healy.  We also had an opportunity to see some of the training structures and go inside a “burn building”.


Off to lunch at Independent Hose Company #1.  What fun!  Chief Jewell, in full 18th-century dress and “town crier style,” took us on a dramatic journey through the history of Maryland’s oldest volunteer fire department.  Of course, we also had a chance to walk through the firehouse and see some state-of-the-art equipment.  At first, I was disappointed that there were no red engines, but I learned that each company sports their own colors.


Back on the bus for a short ride to Animal Control, where Linda Shay told us that their primary mission is to “prevent cruelty, abuse and neglect” by being the only “open animal shelter” in the County.  They take in any and all animals and play an important role in educating the public. Of course, there was a brief walk through the shelter, but no animals left with us.  


The final stop of the day was one of the most exciting.  Have you ever seen a fully-equipped, state-of-the-art medivac helicopter?  It really is quite a sight.  Led by Maryland State Trooper Jansen and Trooper Hansen, LFC had an up close and personal view of the MSP Helicopter Hanger.  The men and women who serve on this “ambulance in the air” are quite extraordinary.  Whether transporting the injured to shock trauma or participating in search & rescue missions, disaster relief, homeland security, or helping law enforcement, they are always ready at a moment’s notice to do whatever is needed to save lives and protect public safety.

Protecting the public takes bravery, compassion, strength of will and character.  Today was a behind the scenes look at the men and women who put their lives on the line every day to serve and protect us.  On behalf of LFC 2017, we are very grateful.

-Hermine Bernstein

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