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Amy Patsch

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Neil and I recently finished a 10-week course learning about our Ocean City police. We attended the Citizen’s Police Academy, which required no fitness test but certainly enlightened us and the others in our class, as we were educated on how the police view and do their jobs here in Ocean City. 

We were led through the sessions by Patrolwoman Kayla Ricci from the Community Policing Unit. Officer Ricci was the perfect pick to put this course together. She has a wonderfully engaging personality and made us all feel welcomed, as she steered us through the maze of Ocean City policing.  

Part of the enjoyment of the classes was getting to know some fellow residents of Ocean City that we had not met before. We gathered every Tuesday evening, where we received insight from different officers or patrolmen, who spoke about their particular section’s expertise and how it served the entire police department.   

We were invited to visit the 911 call center and we rode in off-duty patrol cars to witness how the radar works and to get a feel for the space these officers use as their full-time office on wheels. We also met and heard from the Chief of Police Jay Prettyman, as he explained the overview of the department, as well as the goals and expectations for the future of policing in Ocean City.   

From start to finish, it was quite informative, and I believe it reinforced in all of the attendees’ minds that these men and women are very much just like the rest of us.    

In our town of Ocean City, we have a force of police that are husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, daughters, and sons.  

In other words, they are real people who go to work every day just like we do but, in their jobs, they may encounter those things we hope we never will. Each day the officers go to work, they may find opportunities to help and assist the people of Ocean City, but they may also encounter violence, drug use, life-threatening situations, victims of crimes, death, and trauma.    

The more we heard from these men and women and how they enjoyed their jobs and their families and how they loved living here at the shore brought about in me a sense of comradery with these officers. Their children go to local schools, their families enjoy the beach, and like the rest of us, these officers try to get some time off during the good weather to enjoy Ocean City themselves. 

What I took away from the classes was that each of us has a job to do and most of us want to do it well. Police officers are no different. We all want to take pride in our work. Every officer we met had a smile and a very positive attitude about their job. It was such a pleasure getting to know these men and women who enjoy working in Ocean City. 

Law enforcement officers are just what the name implies; they are charged with enforcing the laws of our state and nation. It was clear to us that laws and directives coming from the state Legislature and Attorney General’s Office often do not consider the impact those decisions will have on the shore towns with their intense influx of seasonal visitors from multiple states.   

By the way, they also told us that criminals are getting smarter, too.    

Thinking of all this, as well as the authority invested in our officers, I suggest that if you pray often for our country and its officials, please consider adding our law enforcement officers and their families to your prayers.  

Christians are to pray for all those in authority over us and that certainly includes our police. These men and women go to work every day carrying weapons to protect themselves against the nefarious people they may encounter. I, for one, am very happy that someone else considers this a nice career because it is certainly one I could not perform. I thank God that He has assigned people to enjoy the task of policing. 

God, our ultimate lawgiver, has given us laws to protect us from our own sinful selves. These are considered God’s moral laws. They abide over all of us, believers or not. If each of us obeyed the God-given laws, we would have a very civil society and little need for the police, but the reason so many laws are on the books is that many fail to stay in line with what God’s plan is for our lives. 

As we pray for our nation, our leaders, our police, and ourselves, I suggest we pray for a nation that will follow God’s design and ideals for us. What God desires for each of us is more beautiful than anything the world has to offer. Oh, if only everyone knew! 

ED. NOTE: Amy Patsch writes from Ocean City.Email her    

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