Law enforcement officers are often quick to shrug off any praise for putting themselves at risk to ensure public safety, emphasizing that they were simply doing their job.
When it comes to a member of the public performing a similar act of courage, that is a different matter entirely, as evidenced Tuesday night at the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 21 in Lima. Members of the order gathered to pay tribute to several in the public who have served others both in the public and in the police community. While several people and organizations were honored, the first presentation was especially noteworthy.
Nathan and Christie McCall were on the road early Feb. 13, when their truck was struck by a vehicle, which, as it turns out, was leaving the scene of a robbery at Neidert’s Mower Sales and Service in Elida. When they realized the situation, Nathan McCall chased the perpetrators on foot, apprehending one. Christie McCall remained on the phone with the 911 dispatcher, relaying information on the vehicle and the descriptions and movements of the perpetrators.
After conducting an investigation, the Allen County Sheriff’s Office was able to arrest two other people involved in the robbery, as well as recover all the stolen items. However, without the help of the McCalls, events would have turned out very differently.
“Without those people stepping up, we would have arrived and found several items were missing, but we wouldn’t have had near the success,” according to Darrell Ball, the chaplain of the lodge and co-chair of its Citizen Award Committee.
These awards testify to the fact that as much as the public relies on police for a safe, orderly society, the police are also equally dependent on the public.
“It’s important for those of us in law enforcement to recognize those people in the community,” Ball said, “because without their assistance, we cannnot be nearly as effective in our jobs. The police cannot be everyone. Our eyes and ears can only go so far. So when we have citizens in the community who are willing to be those eyes and ears for us, that greatly increases our chances of solving crimes.”
With so many in the public reluctant or even unwilling to aid law enforcement, events such as this are always encouraging.
“It makes us feel good as a precinct,” Ball said. “So often, we get the, ‘I didn’t see anything, I don’t know anything,’ routine, so it’s refreshing when people step up and take responsibility so we can get these cases resolved successfully.”
While law enforcement hopes others will follow the McCalls’ example, Ball also urges the public to take precautions.
“We never encourage people to put themselves in harm’s way,” he said, “and while this turned out well, you never know what you’re getting into chasing someone. They could be armed, and you’re not. We just encourage people to be the best witness you can be when we arrive at the scene.”
The McCalls declined to comment on their award.
By Craig Kelly - The Lima News, Ohio (MCT)
©2013 The Lima News (Lima, Ohio)
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