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Advocate Editorial Board opinion: Actions show there is life, compassion behind badge

By By the Advocate Editorial Board
July 10, 2014 at 2:10 a.m.


Law enforcement officers have one of the most important and often unappreciated jobs in our society. They are protectors - the ones who enforce order. Every day, they put on their uniforms and head into some of the most dangerous situations in our society.

Often, residents only see the negative, disciplinary side of law enforcement personnel. They are the men and women who pull us over and give us tickets for driving too fast or running a stop sign. They uphold the rule of law - even the unpopular laws - and take people to jail. But it would be unjust of us to think that is all there is to an officer of the law.

Some Victoria police officers have shown the community that there is more to an officer than just a man or woman with a badge. Senior Officer Bryan Knief and Cadet Officer Anthony Vacarro responded to a call at a family's home. The family was made of a single mother with her three children, and the officers learned during the call that the family was running out of food with no way of getting more for a while.

That's when the officers chose to take action and went to the Wal-Mart on the Houston Highway. While still in uniform, they bought a cart full of food for the family. Their good deed was captured in a picture by Rebecca Vasquez, who posted it on Facebook. The photo and accompanying story went viral. People from as far away as Maryland and San Francisco commented on the photo, applauding the compassion of these two public servants.

We are proud to say they are not the only officers doing good deeds and spreading a positive message in Victoria. Another resident took a picture of Officer Jeremy Buchhorn giving out free cookies to some children at the city's splash pad.

Another pair of officers is creating a stir on social media. Officers Sgt. Chris Guerra and John Turner, both members of the Crime Prevention Unit, have begun posting humorous videos online to help spread important public safety messages. They range from Turner yelling "It's wet!" to remind drivers to be safe during rainy conditions to conversations about not leaving a purse or "tactical satchel" in an unattended vehicle to prevent theft.

These aren't the first entertaining videos with a message the department has created. The Victoria Police Department has also released TV commercials to spread public awareness about important issues. Around Christmastime, the department released a commercial filmed in the style of a 1950s music video to warn residents about the rise in vehicle theft during the holidays. More recently, the department released another musical commercial in the style of a rap video to remind drivers to pay attention and not use their cellphones while driving in a school zone.

Victoria is fortunate to have such a strong, positive and creative group of officers working together to protect our community. These recent acts of kindness and inspiration have reminded us that an officer is more than a disciplinarian. These are people who care about their community and are dedicated to protecting and serving its residents. If you see a police officer or any other member of law enforcement, remember to thank them for the good work that they do every day. It's the least we can do.

This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.

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