Hiawassee, GA – Which words come to mind when asked to describe law enforcement? Narration of the enforcement of law? The preservation of peace? A balance of both?
In this day and age, the odds are stacked against “God” and “Love” making it to the top of the majority’s vocabulary list, yet that was the message bestowed upon graduates of the Citizen Law Enforcement Academy (CLEA), a 20-hour course sponsored by the Towns County Sheriff’s Office.
Pastor Steve Taylor of McConnell Baptist Church was the keynote speaker at the graduation for the seventh edition class on October 3, 2017, in the sanctuary of the majestic church on Main Street.
Dozens of graduates and guests gathered in the pews, seated in solemn silence, as Pastor Steve made mention of the Las Vegas tragedy that occurred mere days before, and his gratitude toward those willing to serve in support of peace officers.
The Pastor said he “understands why a program like [CLEA] is necessary. Law enforcement cannot do it alone.” Pastor Steve iterated the shared sentiments of Sheriff Chris Clinton, who listened among his supporters and staff, nodding in agreement throughout the lesson.
The solution to the strife returns to a wise Scripture, according to the Pastor’s teaching: Luke 10:27, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind. And love your neighbor as yourself.”
“Love God. All we do flows from there. And love people,” Pastor Steve Taylor emoted, “We see, but don’t say. We say, but don’t do…There’s confusion in society about what love is. We have to choose to love. Love is conduct, action. Not to get, but to give.”
Pastor Steve imparted his closing thoughts for the Sheriff, his staff, CLEA alumni, and graduates to ponder, “Do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly…Give to others what they don’t always deserve.”
The keynotes were followed by a digital presentation of the 10-week journey the recent graduates traveled in order to arrive with certificates in hand, followed by kind words of appreciation from Sheriff Clinton.
When asked, active CLEA alumni David Marrella shared his thoughts on public service. He replied in earnest, “It’s a way to give back. The Sheriff’s Office has always taken care of us and now I want to give back to them.”
CLEA VII graduate, Richard Parkman, resonated Mr. Marrella’s response. “I see it as an opportunity to become involved. I support [Sheriff] Chris [Clinton] and law enforcement. This is a people-oriented community.”
It was an event those in attendance are unlikely to soon forget.
Featured Image: (L-R)
CLEA alumni David Marrella, Pastor Steve Taylor, Sheriff Chris Clinton
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