UNSUNG HERO, noun, a person who makes a substantive yet unrecognized contribution
Over the past year, the law enforcement community has faced increased scrutiny around the nation. I believe it is important to recognize the positive contributions that are made, day after day, by the men and women who make up that community. We rarely hear about the officer or deputy, who has rescued somebody, has put their life on the line, gave somebody directions, picked up a lost child or got somebody home safely. Where would we be without these men and women?
But law enforcement is a team effort. For each man and woman you see in uniform, there is probably four to five support personnel that are making significant contributions, behind the scenes. These are the unsung heroes of Saline County.
Since taking office on January 1, 2015, the 911 Center, operated in the Emergency Operations Management office under the direction of Robert McGowen, has received 14,777 calls for service. The emergency radio dispatchers work 24 hours a day, 365 days each year. They answer 911 calls that range from: subjects trapped inside of their burning homes; callers threatening suicide; victims of violent crimes; witnesses to crimes that are occurring in real-time; weather related emergencies; animal complaints; and even loud cicadas buzzing. When dispatching those calls, the radio operators are polite, helpful to the deputies and always professional.
I would like to recognize the following 911 dispatchers for their valuable contributions to the Saline County Sheriff’s Office:
- Terri Carpenter
- Dorinda Blaylock
- Brenda Holt
- Christy Terry
- Brenda Malone
- Ashley Charbarneau
- Karen Guttery
- Courtney Leonard
- Staci Parish
- Brittney Malone
- Jennifer Bellott
- Jeremy Harris
The Fines and Fees Unit of the Saline County Sheriff’s Office collected over $1.4 million in 2014. Minus eleven holidays that are observed throughout the year, the four-women collect over $5,600 in fines, fees and restitution during each 8:30 am to 4:00 pm day.
I would like to recognize the following employees for their tireless efforts in making the Fines and Fees Unit operate effectively and efficiently:
- Carman Beaty
- Monica Kendrick
- Lisa Hill
- Samantha Pierce
Exclusively, three individuals handle pay, benefits and all personnel matters for the Saline County Sheriff’s Office: Christy Peterson, Audrey Villegas and Kate Baker. Their knowledge of Saline County’s policies and procedures is amazing and they possess an incredibly strong work ethic.
No one is confronted with more situations that demoralize and create emotional, mental and spiritual burdens than today's law enforcement officer. These burdens also affect the officer's family and other members of his or her department. Law enforcement agencies need the specialized guidance, counseling and assistance that a Police Chaplain can provide.
The person who makes the most substantive, yet unrecognized contribution to the Saline County Sheriff’s Office, and our citizens, is Police Chaplain Tamara Gore.
Chaplain Gore has a passionate interest in, and the specialized training for, pastoral care in the dangerous world of law enforcement. She offers care to all people, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, creed, or religion.
Chaplain Gore provides a source of strength to our deputies and their families, other SCSO members, the community, and the incarcerated.
Some, but not all, of Chaplain Gore’s responsibilities are:
- Riding along with deputies on routine patrol
- Accompanying a deputy to assist with notification of any suicide, death or serious injury
- Working with deputies to assist in any kind of crisis situation where the presence of a trained chaplain might help.
- Visiting with sick or injured members of the SCSO at their home or in the hospital
- Advising the Sheriff in all matters of a religious nature involving the SCSO and performance of law enforcement duties in the community
- Chaplain Gore acts as a liaison with local church leaders on matters pertaining to the moral, spiritual, and religious welfare of police personnel
- Provides assistance to victims and victims’ family members
- Assists at suicide incidents
- Assists with specialized teams (Crisis Response, Hostage Negotiation, etc.)
Chaplain Gore’s responsibility is primarily with the men and women who work in the Saline County Sheriff’s Office. Chaplain Gore is an unpaid public servant who works 120 to 160 hours per month.
Chaplain Gore is a good friend, a spiritual inspirer, and an unselfish example. It is not uncommon to find Chaplain Gore at the Saline Memorial emergency room, behind crime scene tape, at a funeral parlor, a wedding, or at someone’s home. Not only is Chaplain Gore always available, at many places at all times, but she always exemplifies a certain character in crisis situations.
At the age of 24, I attended the police academy and became a sworn officer with the Benton Police Department. Over the past 20+ years, I have received extensive specialized training. I was fortunate enough to attend the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Academy in Quantico, Virginia. However, the training I received, at a very early age, by my parents, neighbors, teachers, pastors and athletic coaches was invaluable. Being respectful, compassionate, understanding, determined, and above all, responsible for my own actions, is how I have chosen to lead the 110-man Saline County Sheriff’s Office.
Recognizing the men and women, behind the scenes, who are truly unsung heroes is not something that should be done, but something that must be done.