Altar Call - Opelika-Auburn News
For Sunday, May 21, 2000
Walter Albritton

Police officers deserve our support and gratitude

As children grow up wise parents teach them that good friends are among life’s greatest treasures. Because that is true, we can affirm that our community’s police officers are some of our best friends. Without them anarchy would prevail and soon rob us of peaceful living. That’s why they are often called "peace officers," for they make peace possible.

This past Wednesday a significant memorial service was held in the parking lot at the Opelika Police Department. The event was arranged to remember two police officers, Roger Motley Jr. and Brenton Truitt Jr., who were killed while serving in the line of duty. Police Chief Tommy Mangham and his staff deserve our praise for the excellent law enforcement they provide for our community.

It was fitting that these two officers should be remembered and that their families be recognized for the supreme sacrifice their loved ones paid with their lives. A wise and wonderful man once said it best: "Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."

Our law enforcement friends have more than a job; they have a sacred job "the maintaining of law and order for our citizens." "Law and Order" is not merely the name of a television show. Law and order are absolutely necessary for a free society to live in peace. The laws by which we are governed are in place for the good of all. Lawlessness cannot be tolerated or our society will collapse.

Because power corrupts, our men and women in blue must be on constant guard against the temptation to abuse the authority given them. Power over others tends to blind the best of us. Police officers can be tempted to think that because they are "the law," that they are above the law. Such thinking can lead them to manipulate the law to serve their own selfish purposes. To guard against this, police officers must hold themselves accountable to the highest principles of honesty and integrity.

Police officers have the special privilege of living as good examples for our youth. That is a privilege to be treasured! On duty or off duty, how they live as individuals will bring either honor or shame upon all who wear the uniform of law enforcement. While it is the duty of parents and community leaders to teach the young to respect the police, the officers themselves must do all they can to deserve that respect by their example.

Greater safety for the police is provided these days by better protective gear such as bulletproof vests. City government must not fail to secure the best protection available for our police. Actually the finest "armor" available to anyone is faith in God. Those whose work calls on them to put their lives on the line for others daily surely need to equip themselves with this piece of spiritual armor.

In the final analysis each of us must, like our police officers, be prepared to die for the average of death is still one per person. One of the old gospel songs says it well, "The arm of flesh will fail you, ye dare not trust your own; put on the gospel armor, each piece put on with prayer; where duty calls or danger, be never wanting there." Until the good Lord calls us home, we shall be wise to trust our lives, and our loved ones, to him hour by hour.

Speaking of prayer, we owe it to our law enforcement people to pray for them often. When, last fall, word spread that one of Opelika’s officers had been shot, I began immediately to pray for the policemen and policewomen who are personal friends of mine. Like most citizens I did not learn for several hours that it was Officer David Cagle who had been shot in the head. Surely God must have heard and answered many prayers in sparing the life of Officer Cagle. He too was recognized in the service Wednesday as Senator Ted Little read a legislative resolution honoring the young officer for his courage.

All of our law enforcement friends deserve our support, gratitude, and constant prayers for the dangerous work they do to uphold the law and allow us to live peacefully in this wonderful community.