ALBANY -- They are there for us even though many don't appreciate them. They investigate rapists, hold hands when tragedy strikes and give up days off to testify in court, said Barney Knighton, president of the Exchange Club of Albany.
The club showed its appreciation at a luncheon to honor law enforcement officers from six local agencies Friday.
"We are here today to honor a bunch of officers who daily go out and put their lives on the line for our safety," Knighton said. "It takes a special type of person to do this. We are here to honor a bunch of true heroes."
The officers honored at the luncheon with standing ovations, plaques and checks for $75 by the club were considered the best of the past year by their supervisors and their peers.
The officers were:
- Albany Police Department Sgt. Kandace Hird.
- Dougherty County Police Department Cpl. Robert S. "Bob" James.
- Dougherty County Sheriff's Office Deputy Connie Mallory.
- Georgia Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Section Cpl. Tommy Daughtrey.
- Georgia State Patrol Trooper First Class Andrew McKenzie.
- Lee County Sheriff's Office Cpl. Chris Eubanks.
Speaking first, Albany Police Chief John Proctor spoke of all officers in all the agencies before he introduced his own.
"Today, we are here to acknowledge the hard work and dedication that our officers humbly give to their communities and to their departments on a daily basis," Proctor said. "This afternoon we gratefully honor their professionalism, their dedication and the integrity they bring to work every time they hit the streets."
While each of the honorees was suitably praised and introduced by his or her supervisor, acceptance speeches rarely got beyond appreciation for the recognition.
The "I am honored and proud. Thank you" words of Hird could be said to encapsulate the feelings of the honorees. They are more accustomed to giving aid to the community than speaking in front of more than 160 club members, guests and other law enforcement staff.
Exchange Club members had nothing but praise to heap on the honorees in particular and the law enforcement community in general.
"Law enforcement isn't an easy job," said club member Skip Nichols. "We are honored to do this to recognize them."
Other club members Bill Burger and Ben Adler agreed heartily. That sentiment was held by every club member spoken to.
"This is a chance to honor a number of good officers," Jimmy Huff said. "We are proud to have them here."