Police deserve thanks, respect

Day by Day

Police deserve thanks, respect

April 6, 2016

All my life, I have known I could look to police officers to help me in any number of situations. Talking with friends and family, they all agree. Police deserve respect for being willing to step into potential danger every day on the job.

With every one of my many car accidents over the years, I was always thrilled to see a police officer or state trooper, even when I was in the wrong.

Today, officers are more at risk than ever when doing the job they are trained to do. So why do they walk daily into the potential fray instead of opting for a safer option?

Misty Hutchinson, D.A.R.E. officer in Grove City, became an officer to help those who couldn’t help themselves.

“I still believe that most people recognize the sacrifice and dedication our officers put forth every day — we are fortunate in Grove City. The desire to serve a community and work for something greater than just one’s self. This career is both rewarding and challenging — especially in today’s world,” Hutchinson said.

“The best things, honestly, are those times when you know you have helped someone and are lucky enough to see the difference you have made. I have the good fortune of working closely with school-aged youth in our city and get to see the impact all of our officers make on these families.”

Al Kolp, a retired Westerville police officer, said, “The bottom line (about becoming a police officer) is that it is a job to help people and the community. I was never embarrassed to be seen in uniform.”

He didn’t always want to be a police officer.

“I was in college fully expecting to become a farmer, but the Vietnam War and the dropping of the college deferment happened. So I joined ROTC, and when I graduated I became a military police officer.”

A friend told him after the military he could become a civilian police officer.

“We talked to people when we got in a situation. We didn’t simply arrest them. Physical force wasn’t needed because there was respect (for officers).”

One time Kolp stopped a driver who was intoxicated and took him home. Some time later, the man saw him in a store and thanked Kolp for helping him.

“The main enjoyment in my job was we built a reputation and camaraderie with the public,” he said.

Kolp often did special duty and in the late 1970s and early ’80s, those officers were hired to be a presence in the schools.

“I got to know the kids and the younger kids were never scared of us. Four high school kids I knew during these days went on to become police officers. I’d like to think I was a good influence.”

His wife, Joy, said she didn’t worry about her husband as much as she worries about their son, who is a police officer in Delaware.

“Al became an officer even though he knew full well he wouldn’t get paid that well, would have to work weekends and holidays, but he went into it because he wanted to be a part of a community. Our son feels the same way,” she said.

On her first day in uniform, Hutchinson got a reality check. She was riding with a veteran officer and they had a flat tire on their cruiser. A “routine” traffic stop led her to draw her weapon as they found drugs and made an arrest, and they ended up being in the middle of a neighborhood fight.

After 18 years, she said, “I love what I do and wouldn’t change it for any other job.”

“My father was a policeman for 25 years in Tiffin,” said Grove City resident Sonja Stauch. “Being the daughter of a policeman meant if I was in trouble, like my bike broke down or I was lost, all I had to do is say who my dad was. I never tried anything (wrong) because I knew I’d get caught!

“He befriended so many people and was well-respected.”

I’m sure the police would agree with my decision to take myself off the road when my multiple sclerosis made me a hazard to others and myself.

My respect for police officers is absolute. Knowing one is a phone call away is comforting.