HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Recent national controversies have put the relationship between the public and law enforcement in the limelight. The Horry County Sheriff's Office says no matter what side of the fence you're on, you should thank a deputy today. Today is Law Enforcement Appreciation Day.
Sergeant Jeff Benton with the HCSO says officers and deputies say so much of their day involves dealing with negative incidents that you would be surprised at how far a simple 'thank you for the work you do' will go.
"It's a profession that's sometimes frowned upon by some, but I believe that's appreciated by many, many, many more," Benton says. "And I think that days like today are days that simply just do prove that." The cards and letters of gratitude displayed in Benton's office lend to his statement.
But controversies that have dominated the news nationally have put the feelings between the public and law enforcement on display, and not always in a positive way. "Certainly national news causes a lot of talk locally," Benton agrees.
But local agencies say, for the most part, the reaction in South Carolina has been supportive. "As law enforcement officers, we don't go out every day thinking that an individual's going to give us a thank you. We really don't know who appreciates you, and who doesn't."
And when police are involved in something, it's often a result of something bad happening.
"You don't see a lot of the good things that we do," Benton continues. "We're in daycare centers. We're doing juvenile diversion programs at our jails to rehabilitate youth that have been in trouble."