Dozens of men and women in different uniforms filed through the Rincon Recreation Department’s Macomber Park Building, and while the uniforms may have varied in color, there was one accoutrement in common — their badge.
The Color Effingham County Blue event was held Sunday afternoon, as law enforcement officers from every agency were honored for their service.
“I’ve always thought it was a special job,” said state Rep. Bill Hitchens, a former commander of the state Department of Public Safety whose son Billy is a colonel in the Georgia State Patrol.
Hitchens, who started his post-military career in public service as a state trooper, added that many young officers are leaving law enforcement.
“I grew up in a different environment,” he said. “Back in the ’60s and ’70s, people paid the officers respect. It’s a tough job.”
Hitchens said there likely is more to the story when people see videos of encounters with law enforcement that go wrong.
“It’s a pretty tough job,” he said. “You try to arrest somebody who doesn’t want to be arrested, and it’s a little bit different from what you see on the news. It’s never pretty.”
Hitchens said law enforcement officers can be criticized for doing their job and for not doing their job.
He recalled that when he started with the state patrol, there might be one trooper in a rural county at a time, and in Effingham, there was a sheriff and one deputy.
“There was no communication, except for car to car,” he said.