To the Editor:

It is a very rare event, indeed, when I pause in my daily activities and offer praise for no particular reason. I do so at this point in time due to the very, very unusual circumstances that are occurring in our great nation.

I have seen a lot in my 78 years on this planet. However, I have never, never seen anything remotely akin to the events involving our law enforcement communities for the past several weeks. I won’t refer to those events as we all have witnessed them via our national and local media.

However, based on what I have witnessed and what I absolutely know from experience, I feel I must pass along the following to you, the good, honest, hard-working citizens of Jackson County.

I refer to the Sylva Police Department, Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, NCHP and the JCSO’s SRO Unit. I do not personally know any employees of these departments nor have I had any interaction with any employee of these departments.

Additionally, my wife and I only recently, after Hurricane Michael, moved to the Sylva area. So, my opinion of these agencies is purely based on fact, rather than supposition. And, as a career law enforcement officer, and like many others, I am highly critical of any and all wrongdoings of any peace officer. Most of us are hard-working, responsible members of the community who strive simply to keep the peace. Unfortunately, there are some who, for whatever reason, have a different agenda. And those are the ones who gain all the attention; not the men and women who put their lives on the line each and every day, day in, day out.

Try putting yourself in a peace officer’s boots. You can’t do it. You cannot experience what these men and women go through unless you, “walk a mile in their boots”. And they do it every single day; on duty and “off duty”, for, a peace officer is never, never, truly off duty.

So, to the men and women of the above mentioned agencies, thank you for your service. I have observed you conducting your daily business, and I am very impressed with the professional manner in which you present yourself to the general public. 

At a time when all law enforcement officers are under the proverbial microscope, you have all conducted yourselves in a manner that deserves a very large, “Thank you”, for all you do for all of us; our children, our families, everyone, good and bad.

Thank you for being there when we are in dire need of your services as well as when you are simply present.

Joseph Candlish,

Balsam