I am a 28-year retired veteran of the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office. As I watch what is going on in society today, I am shocked to see some citizens call for the defunding of police. I can only assume they harbor some type of bias toward law enforcement or are totally ignorant as to the services law enforcement provides.
I worked in detention my entire career. I have many memories of my days on the job. My first day where I thought to myself, "What the heck was I thinking?" I remember facing true evil, like my interactions with serial killer Oba Chandler. He was always smiling and complimentary. I wondered if that was the same demeanor he displayed to get the mother and her two daughters on his boat. I remember the elderly man who resembled Santa Claus, who broke down crying that he molested his granddaughter. I remember the many career criminals who even attempted to prey on the weak while incarcerated. Oh, and how could I forget the father who threw his young daughter off the Skyway bridge.
With that being said, the memories that I will never forget are my co-workers. They were some of the kindest, hardest working and professional human beings I ever had the pleasure to know. They were young, middle-aged and what I choose to call seasoned. They were men and women of all ethnicities. They were mothers, fathers, sons and daughters. We all had one mission in mind and that was to protect and serve the citizens of Pinellas County. We always had each other's back while performing the duties of a challenging career. Our main objective was to come to work, do our job as trained and go home safe. These are challenging times for sure, and I worry about my former colleagues and most of all my daughter. She has chosen to follow in my footsteps and is now a member of law enforcement. I have a very good idea as to what she will face in her career. I also know the fine members of law enforcement will have her back. Will you? Please do your duty as a citizen of this great country. Be an informed voter and vote what’s best for society and not some personal or political agenda. God bless our first responders.
Mark Farling, Seminole