Optimist Club recognition of law enforcement is important

Several area law enforcement officials were recognized last month at the Cape Girardeau Evening Optimist Club's Respect for Law banquet.

This year's honorees included: Special Agent Beth Dallas, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms; Lt. Jason Ladner and Lt. Zack Dillard, Cape Girardeau County Sheriff's Office; K-9 patrolman Johnny Spencer and detective Cpl. Darrin Sides, Cape Girardeau Police Department; Cpl. Perry Hazelwood, Missouri State Highway Patrol; Capt. Kenneth Gullett, Southeast Missouri State University Police.

The keynote speaker was former U.S. District Judge Stephen N. Limbaugh Sr.

Law enforcement has never been an easy job. But the profession has become even more challenging in 2020 with riots, racial unrest and a pandemic. Even in Southeast Missouri where law enforcement officials are largely respected and appreciated, the national rhetoric wears on the men and women who wear the badge. Cape Girardeau Police chief Wes Blair recently talked about several of his officers who resigned, three who left law enforcement entirely. The stress on the officers and their families is significant.

We're thankful the Optimists helped recognize these individuals for their service. Our community is a better place because of these individuals and their many colleagues. To all those in law enforcement, thank you for your service.