Eudora News & Information ~ www.eudorareporter.com
You might not find this occasion printed on your 2015 calendar, but January 9 is a special day. It’s National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day, and according to Eudora Chief of Police Bill Edwards, the citizens of Eudora have a lot to appreciate. He beams when he talks about the nine officers who serve with him on the Eudora Police Department. He calls their dedication to the department and to the people of the community “amazing.”
Edwards came to Eudora a little over two years ago from Park City, KS, but he has been in law enforcement all of his adult life. His small crew of officers works very hard to protect Eudora around the clock each day. Since Chief Edwards mainly works from the office and Officer Caleb Lewis spends his days in the school district as the School Resource Officer, that leaves eight officers to patrol the community. They work 12-hour shifts, with two officers on each shift.
“What really makes me proud of these officers,” said Edwards, “is that nobody has a job. Each officer handles many things. They follow up their own calls, and often have to go to court after their shift ends with no sleep. Larger departments have detectives, but we don’t in Eudora. These guys do it all. It’s amazing to me to see the level of dedication among these officers.”
Edwards is proud of all his officers, but made note of two who had received an award for saving a life. Officer Caleb Lewis and Sargent Tom Willis got a call from school officials about a boy they were concerned about and who hadn’t come to school. The officers searched for him, eventually finding him unconscious in a wooded area, not breathing and without a pulse. The pair preformed CPR and called for paramedics. The boy made a full recovery.
Another of his officers delivered a baby on K-10. “You can tell these officers ‘good job,’ but they just say it’s part of their job,” Edwards said. “They don’t expect any thanks.”
The department receives about 11,000 calls a year, and those calls can be anything from someone reporting a crime, a domestic dispute, a medical situation, or just people calling because they’re concerned about a dog left out in the cold or a cat in a tree. Someone responds to every call, and often officers spend extra time with people who are distraught, giving a listening ear and some reassurance.
Edwards believes that the community has a great deal of respect for the officers. People often come in or call asking for a specific officer, one they’ve had a previous positive experience with. Chief Edwards encourages everyone on the police force to use their authority correctly. He tells his officers, “You earn respect by the way you treat people, not by the uniform you wear.”
According to Edwards, “A good day for us is when people don’t notice us. That means we’re keeping the community safe.” He added, “My job is pretty easy. It’s to help support my officers in the field. They’re the ones out there helping the public every day.”
Those involved with promoting National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day give these suggestions to let our dedicated police officers know on January 9 how grateful we are for their service:
- Thank an officer
- Wear blue to support law enforcement
- Share positive stories about your local law enforcement on social media
- Send a card of support to your local police department or state agency.
- Have your children write letters to officers of the law
The good thing is that you don’t have to express your gratitude for our top-notch Eudora Police Department on this very day. We can do it any (or every) day. Thank you, Chief Edwards and the Eudora officers, for all you do to keep our community safe. You’re the best!