LOGAN — The death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota has had ripple effects throughout the country for law enforcement agencies. It has sparked protests and riots, as some people have called for change.
Cache County Sheriff Chad Jensen said it has also reignited an outpouring of gratitude and support for deputies, troopers and officers locally. During last month, citizens have dropped off food, treats, and Thank You cards on a daily basis, to express appreciation for the job deputies and others in law enforcement do.
“I don’t say this just because I am the sheriff of Cache County and have been born and raised in Cache County, but we honestly live in the best county in the state,” said Jensen. “We have the best citizens and the best residents in our county than anywhere else in the state.”
As examples, several families recently decorated the front of the sheriff’s office complex with hundreds of colorful hearts. They also included messages of thanks. In June a group of deputies were eating at a local restaurant. As they attempted to pay for their meals and leave, they were told that a city worker had walked into the restaurant, paid for the group’s meals and left without being identified.
Jensen said he is seeing random acts of kindness to law enforcement agencies throughout the valley right now. It is part of a special relationship he feels that they share with citizens.
“From our office and from law enforcement, we appreciate that so much. In my career, when I have been out on patrol, on the side of the road, by myself, and something happened, it’s not uncommon for three or four people to pull up behind me and offer to help or just be there as backup. We have such a great relationship, and our citizens are so great with law enforcement. We thank them very much for what we have here.”
Even the protests and calls for change done locally have been peaceful and respectful. Last month, hundreds of individuals stood along Main Street outside the Historic Cache County Courthouse, protesting the use of force by police, seen in other parts of the country.
Jensen said law enforcement isn’t perfect and the events around the country have once again shown a spotlight on that. As the sheriff, he works with his departments to constantly evaluate or self-police themselves.
“A silver-lining of this [past month] is that we should always look at ourselves and our processes. And if we can do something better, we should absolutely look at what we do and improve on everything that we do. Whether it be the use of force, our policies, our pursuit driving, we should and we do review those all of the time. We should continue to do that if we want our profession to continue to grow and gain the respect from the public that we want.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has also produced additional strains on the relationship between citizens and law enforcement due to a lot of uncertainty. It has also shut down some businesses and upset many people’s plans.
Jensen expressed hope that everyone can be patient of each other during these “weird times.” He said, being respectful of each other will solve a lot of problems right now.
“Thank you for the respect shown to the law enforcement agencies and officers in our valley. No law enforcement agency can be successful if they don’t have the respect, help and partnership with the community. We have that here. We work really hard to keep that relationship close and tight, but we can’t do it all by ourselves. We have such a great community that wants to partner with us and be a part of the solution and not create problems.”
Except for Logan, North Logan, Hyde Park and Smithfield, the sheriff’s office contracts with cities within the county to provide law enforcement services. They also provide staff for the jail, search and rescue and security at the local courthouses.