What we have seen go on in multiple cities and neighborhoods throughout the country is not indicative of what I have seen when I have gone on ride-a-longs with our local law enforcement. Over the past month, beginning with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s department in Harrison Township in early June and continuing in my time with the Trotwood Police Department and the Dayton Fire Department in late June and early July, I have seen firsthand the positive interaction between law enforcement and our community.
Throughout my career as a criminal defense attorney, I have come to know plenty of members of our law enforcement. I have found myself cross-examining them in court rooms in order to defend the client I am representing and ensuring that their due process has not been violated throughout the course of the investigation. I have also seen that they have a relationship with our community and play a big role in keeping us safe.
On June 13, I had the wonderful opportunity to do a ride-a-long with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department in Harrison Township. There were two significant incidents that showed how our law enforcement truly do engage and are a part of our community. One such occasion where the deputy, who earlier in the week promised to provide a basketball net for some local youth who were in need of one, followed through on that promise. As we left those kids with their new net, you could hear one say, “That was cool!” Although this could be looked at as just a small act, it was obvious that the officer had an ongoing positive relationship with the youth in his community.
The second incident followed the first simultaneously where the same officers responded to a drive-by shooting. The officers, not only attended to ensure the safety and health of the victim, but also immediately went into trying to apprehend the perpetrator, putting their lives in grave danger. It was this type of sacrifice that I witnessed firsthand that made me quickly realize how much these individuals are willing to give up to protect our community.
Following that ride-a-long, I took part in two more over the course of the next month. Although these two did not bring about the same type of “seemingly heroic” or dramatic actions, the overall message and theme remained. From responding to a fire alarm at a senior citizens complex to responding to an injured motorcyclist, I was able to see on many occasions that our law enforcement is playing an active and constructive role in our local communities.
Although there remains work to be done to mend the fractures that exist across our nation, I have faith that we are making, and will continue to make, strides toward a safer, stronger community right here in southwest Ohio. I look forward to continuing to do everything I can as a state representative, who also serves as a defense attorney to some of our most vulnerable citizens, in order to help our neighborhoods and communities prosper.