From Baton Rouge to Dallas, the scenes flashed across television screens around a world that has taken a drastic turn. “I don’t know what is driving people to do what they’re doing now,” says Orange Beach Police Chief Joe Fierro, “all I know is that our jobs have not changed and our responsibilities haven’t changed.”
Those recent attacks prompted Sheriff Hoss Mack to bring together police chiefs from all over Baldwin County. “Everybody is safe in this county but we’re not immune. We’re not immune to anything.”
He says communication between departments and a heightened sense of awareness among officers are paramount in these unusual times. “That’s our first charge is to serve the people but we’ve got to protect our people in order to serve the people,” says Mack.
Nationwide some departments are returning to two-officer patrols. That is not happening in Baldwin County, yet. “We’re already doing two officer stops and sometimes more depending on what the stop or call involves,” says Fierro.
Even in these difficult times, police departments across the county have been overwhelmed by community support. In Robertsdale, the softball team got together after training to put together goodie bags they will deliver to area police departments. “It’s really a hard time right now and I know I wouldn’t be able to do what they are doing for us,” says senior Emily Sinclair. “They are out protecting us in our lives so we just wanted to give back to them.”
“Law enforcement needs to know that it’s got the public’s support,” says Mack. “We have to earn that trust. It’s not granted and that’s where we need to make sure that we convey to our people that you earn that trust every day.”
The public has a responsibility too. The sheriff says any suspicious person or activity should be reported to local law enforcement.