June 29, 2012

Optimist Clubs show Respect for Law

One of the purposes of an Optimist Club is to inspire good citizenship and respect for law and in 1965 Optimist International established the Respect for Law program. According to a brochure from Optimist International, the intent wast to familiarize youth with the people in their community who work hard to make it a better place to live. "It is vital that youth recognize the contributions that law enforcement officers make to their community and that they realize these officials are there to assist them if needed."

Through the years, the program has become less about children and more about the officers. As a way of showing respect and appreciation for their service, many Optimist Clubs bestow Officer of the Year honors on deserving public servants. Some recent awards follow. 

Optimist Club Respect for Law
Arkansas City Optimist Club
In Arkansas City, Kansas, Police Officer Troy Cochran was honored by the Optimist Club. 

"Officer Cochran exhibits an insatiable desire to work his cases to clearance,” said Arkansas City Police Chief Sean Wallace. “He prides himself on taking a case that appears unsolvable and working every angle until he finds a break. This trait alone enables Officer Cochran to stand out among his peers.”

Respect for Law Optimist Club
Waukesha Optimist Club
In Waukesha, Wisconsin, the Optimist Club recognized Correctional Officer Erin Billeb for her work as a training officer in the Waukesha County Jail, especially for her role in assisting inmates who deal with mental illnesses and chemical dependencies. 

Sheriff Dan Trawicki explained, “Erin’s job is one that, as you can imagine, is extremely difficult. We are very lucky to have Erin in this position.”

Not every Optimist Club chooses to honor a single officer. In Chattanooga, Tennessee, the Optimist Club showed their appreciation to the Chattanooga Police Special Weapons and Tactics Unit (SWAT).  The team was nominated by the Chief of Police Bobby Dodd for their service as officers who never receive a routine call. 

Carolyn Tucker, president of the Scenic Chattanooga Optimist Club, said “The Scenic Chattanooga Optimist Club is proud to be a long-time participant in the Optimist’s annual Respect for Law Program. As a community, we are deeply indebted to those who choose a career of service in law enforcement. These men and women serve as the frontline of protection for all of us, and we are proud to honor them.”

Her sentiments are why more than 1,500 Optimist Clubs participate in the annual Respect for Law activity by honoring their own.

Photos courtesy of the Arkansas City and Waukesha Optimist Clubs. 
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