Editor, The Spotlight:
We’ve all had our encounters with the Bethlehem police. We’ve seen them at night responding to some far-off emergency, maybe yielding in our cars to their flashing lights and sirens. We’ve seen them out in the snow and rain, maybe directing traffic around an auto accident. We’ve seen them on Saturday evenings manning routine DWI checkpoints. Maybe our encounter was more personal where a cop helped us sort out a problem with a break in or worked alongside the EMTs in a health emergency.
For all my years in Town and despite my acquaintance with many of the individuals who serve as its police officers I was not prepared for the experience I had last Tuesday when I “rode along” during the 3 - 11 p.m. shift. What I saw and what I heard has given me a new appreciation for the selfless work our police officers perform.
In many respects it was a typical Tuesday. While a number of police officers were providing security for Town Court, which began its business at 4 p.m., others were on patrol covering 175 miles of roadway that wind through our town. Officers assigned to the court manned detectors, guarded doorways, and were present in the courtroom to ensure the security of the court staff and the citizens who were in attendance.
While this is going on we also have a full contingent of officers “on the beat.” I joined one of them, later that night, riding along with Police Officer Adam Cobb where in the short span of four hours I got a sense of how dangerous the job can be. I was no sooner outfitted with my Kevlar vest when the call came in to respond to a fight at Walmart. I was always at a safe distance from the action but have to say I was scared for Officer Cobb as he became the first responder to this crisis. He wasted no time stepping from the patrol car to take control of the fight, separating the antagonists, and restoring order. It was chilling to be in the middle of this, riveting to see the skill with which Officer Cobb and his fellow officers affected control over the fracas, and ultimately comforting to know of the skill the brave men and women of the Bethlehem police force exercise.