From time to time, we hear complaints at the Journal concerning the amount of space we devote to crime coverage each week.
Though it may seem as if Barrow County has more than its fair share of criminal activity, the truth is that our law enforcement officials – like officers in every other locale – are kept busy dealing with a wide range of issues.
Last week, I read an article about a Bosnian man who believes aliens are out to get him because his house has been struck by meteorites six times in the past three years.
In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, Radivoke Lajic said, “I don’t know what I have done to annoy them but there is no other explanation that makes sense.”
Of course. As the fictional detective Sherlock Holmes said, when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.
My first thought upon reading this article was for the poor Bosnian law enforcement officer who got called out to this farm in the middle of the night to take a report about an alien attack.
My next thought was for all our local law enforcement officers who take similar reports on a daily basis.
If you read the crime pages, you already know that law enforcement agencies within Barrow County have responded to equally weird calls for assistance.
From the man who thought ninjas were plotting to steal his lawnmower to the woman who was convinced someone came inside her home and tied knots in her hair dryer cord as a message, local authorities deal with their fair share of “interesting” individuals.
While these incidents are often humorous, the stark reality is much less so.
Police officers and Sheriff’s deputies are asked to fill a number of roles on a day to day basis. Arresting people and writing tickets may be the two law enforcement activities that immediately come to mind, but they do much, much more. Every day, police and deputies are called upon to mediate disputes, help stranded motorists, give directions, provide advice and sometimes just listen to a citizen’s concern or complaint.
They may be called upon to render medical assistance. Most people do not consider the fact that if you are hurt in a car accident, the first medical aid you receive may be at the hands of a police officer or deputy. First aid, CPR and other first responder medical skills are taught in police academies and as part of the continuing education certified officers must fulfill each year.
And in the case of some of Barrow County’s more “interesting” individuals, law enforcement authorities must often act essentially as social services workers to ensure that a citizen in need is receiving the care they require.
Have you ever heard of a 1013 form? It is a form used by law enforcement authorities to request an emergency evaluation of a mentally ill individual. What about child deprivation? That is the process by which a law enforcement officer ensures that a child who has been neglected or abused is removed from a dangerous or harmful situation.
In short, our local law enforcement authorities have a lot on their plate. Remember that the next time you are scanning through the pages of crime and court results we run each week. There are real people behind every one of those incidents – men and women who are called upon to deal with situations many would like to pretend do not exist in Barrow County.
The truth is that Barrow County is no different from anywhere else – we have plenty of crime, but fortunately we also have dedicated law enforcement officers who are prepared to deal with whatever comes their way.
Kristi Reed is a reporter for the Barrow Journal. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.