Eric Watson, Bradley County Sheriff
Posted 10/4/17


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It is no secret that the desire of any law enforcement officer is to complete their assigned tasks to the best of their ability and to arrive home safely at the end of their shift. I know families are precious, no matter our field of endeavor.

Working in law enforcement today is to choose one of the most interesting and challenging careers possible. It is also one of the most dangerous and unpredictable fields possible. Truly each law enforcement officer I know, or have known, wants to do a commendable job, and then go home to their loved ones. I have always said that when a deputy signs on with the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office, we get the affection and support of their family, as well.

It is very clear that law enforcement is not a “one person job.” It takes the support of the family, friends and fellow officers to assist that deputy through each day.

The Bradley County Sheriff’s Office Patrol Division operates on a four-shift system. We schedule deputies on two rotating day shifts and two rotating night shifts. I will never cease to brag about the men and women that make up all divisions of BCSO, as we have the best officers possible. They are in law enforcement to serve and protect, certainly not to have an easy job. Neither are they in it for a large paycheck. I am so thankful we have folks who are willing to go through extensive training and education on a non-stop basis to better do their jobs. I mentioned above the unending unpredictability and danger each law enforcement officer faces each day.

As I write this, 98 men and women have died in 2017 in the line of duty while serving as law enforcement officers.The past few weeks have been a particularly sad and difficult time for all of us in law enforcement. September saw a number of law enforcement officers lose their lives because of their service. Included in the number of officers lost were three members of the Puerto Rican Police. Agent Ángel Lorenzo-González and Agent Héctor Matías-Torres drowned when their vehicles submerged in floodwaters during Hurricane Maria. Agent Lorenzo had served with the Puerto Rico Police Department for 21 years. Agent Matías-Torres had served with the Puerto Rico Police Department for 22 years.

Puerto Rico Police Agent Roberto Medina-Mariani was shot and killed while attempting to take action during a robbery while off duty. He was in a restaurant when three subjects committed an armed robbery. Agent Medina-Mariani observed the robbery and identified himself. The subjects opened fire and shot him. They were arrested a short time later.

Agent Medina-Mariani was a U.S. Army veteran. He was a second-generation police officer and had served with the Puerto Rico Police Department for six years. His wife and two children survive him. In Minnesota, Police Officer William Mathews was struck and killed by a vehicle. He was in the process of removing debris from the roadway when a vehicle struck him. The driver of the car that struck him was driving on a revoked license and was under the influence of narcotics at the time. She was charged with criminal vehicular homicide. Officer Mathews had served with the Wayzata, Minnesota Police Department for 19 years. His wife and 7-year-old son survives him.

Polk County, Georgia, Detective Kristen Hearne was shot and killed as she and another officer responded to reports of a stolen vehicle on Sept. 29. As the officers arrived at the location a male subject ambushed them, and Detective Hearne was fatally wounded. The second officer was wounded. A female subject was taken into custody at the scene. The male subject fled the scene but was arrested after a massive manhunt and charged with murder. Detective Hearne had served with the Polk County Sheriff's Office for five years. Her husband and 3-year-old child survive her.

I would ask that you take a moment to remember the mothers, fathers, wives, husbands, sisters and brothers who have died while serving the public. They were family members, co-workers and friends. They shopped at the same stores, their children attended the same schools and they went to the same houses of worship as you.

A moment to reflect on their service is appreciated. Thank you for your kindnesses and assistance to the deputies of the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office!


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