by Madison White Franks
HEATHSVILLE—Northumberland County Circuit Court Judge Michael McKenney spoke at the second annual Northumberland Law Enforcement Day last Saturday on the steps of the Old Courthouse in Heathsville.
“Every day we can be proud of the men and women who serve as deputies, dispatchers and as emergency personnel. We are quite blessed by the dedication, intelligence and compassion that is shown by these officers,” said McKenney.
“Today, we gather to express our deep appreciation for a job well done,” he said.
“In the early years, sheriff’s found it convenient to make arrests and serve warrants at public meetings…the fear of meeting the sheriff caused many people to absent themselves from public meetings and from church on Sundays,” said McKenney.
He noted that in 1658, the General Assembly banned arrests and serving warrants on the sabbath.
“We have a long history of outstanding individuals that have served as sheriff in Northumberland County. I think they deserve not only our recognition and appreciation, they deserve to be remembered in our county’s history,” he said.
“It takes a large group of individuals working together to keep us safe in the community,” said Del. Margaret Ransone. “Living together in a community requires commitment to each other to respect the law.”
She urged parents to teach their children to be respectful of law enforcement and authority figures.
“2016 was not a good year for law enforcement. We had 135 officers killed nationwide,” said Sheriff Doc Lyons. “So far in 2017 we have had 95 police officers killed.”
“If you are in law enforcement, you have a calling that has been given to you from God, it is God ordained,” said the Rev. Mike Moffitt of Light of Christ Anglican Church in Heathsville. “Thank you for answering this call for your life. We are grateful for your service and your sacrifice.”
Other speakers were Lance Marston of the event steering committee; Jim Hess, acting commandant of the Northern Neck Marine Corps League, Detachment 1062; Northumberland County Commonwealth’s Attorney Jane Wrightson; attorney Patrick O’Brien of the event steering committee; Major Johnny Beauchamp of the Northumberland County Sheriff’s Department, and Jesse Bowman of the event steering committee.
Northumberland Public Library director Cherie Carl and Jan Bates informed the public about the Cops Rock Project where Northumberland Elementary school students were able to paint rocks with art teacher Susan Lewis in support of the local law enforcement and put them on display at the sheriff’s office.
Sharon Mann sang the national anthem and “Heroes Unsung.”
“With uncommon acts of bravery, you rush into harm’s way, giving something to the rest of us, there is no way to repay,” she sang.
Other participants were the Northern Neck Marine Corps League Detachment 1062, American Legion Post #117 of Reedville, the Kilmarnock and District Pipe Band, and pastor Kori Kiss of Bethany Baptist Church, Callao.