When most people outside the profession think of law enforcement, there are a few preconceived ideas and concepts that commonly come to mind. Thoughts of catching criminals, engaging in high speed chases on the freeway, and typing up arrest reports are what enter most people’s minds when they think of local, state, or even federal law enforcement officers and their day to day tasks.
But responding to violent crimes and other tragic events is far from the only element of the job of police officers. In fact, for many officers across the country, particularly those in small and medium sized jurisdictions, many of the calls they take involve simply lending a helping hand in the community.
Felicia Jefferson, a deputy with the Newton County Sheriff’s Office in Covington, Georgia says that she often tells people that her office does a lot more work helping and assisting the citizens of Covington than it does arresting them. Often times that help includes referring individuals to particular services around the area such as alcohol or drug rehabilitation, domestic violence shelters, or mental health facilities. Sheriff’s deputies in Newton County also often are called to just patrol a citizen’s property while they are out of town or to settle arguments between neighbors that don’t involve any level of criminal behavior.
One particular instance that happened recently involved Deputy Mark Lovell who was called to the home of an elderly citizen who was concerned that her neighbor was performing voodoo rituals and sending the spirits through the walls into her apartment. When Deputy Lovell arrived, he spoke to the woman and reassured her that he would take care of the situation, which he said immediately gave her peace of mind. He then went to the neighbor who he says was very cordial and explained that it was simply the sound of a Baptist preacher on his television.
It’s those kinds of calls that most people aren’t aware of but that make up much of the job of local law enforcement in jurisdictions all over the country.