OZARK, Al. (WTVY) - During the month of May, we honor the ones who save lives every day. Starting the week of Monday, May 15th, we celebrate law enforcement for National Police Week.
"I've been in several situations where I actually saw the proverbial saying, "my life flashed before my eyes,”” said Lt. Jimmy Culbreath of the Ozark Police Department.
Culbreath has been in law enforcement since 1993, but said the job has gotten more challenging because the general public doesn't know what police can and cannot do.
"That lack of understanding unfortunately fuels a lot of the misconceptions as it relates to public perception of law enforcement, so education is everything,” added Culbreath.
Retired Ozark Chief of Police Alan Benefield, Mayor Bob Bunting and current Chief of Police Marlos Walker were just a few who spoke on behalf of the fallen heroes who were honored Thursday.
There have been 544 police officers killed during the line of duty in the history of Alabama. The deadliest year in law enforcement history was in 1930 when 307 officers were killed in the US. But as Chief Walker said, thinking about yourself is not an officer's priority in the line of duty.
"They think about the good things. For example, they're helping someone, solving a crime for a victim, catching a bad guy that's done something wrong. Those really overshadow the thought of, "is something going to happen to me today?”” Added Walker.
Retired Chief Benefield said the deadliest decades in law enforcement in the country were in 1920 and 1970.