Did you know that if a Carroll County Sheriff’s Deputy is injured in the line of duty and can no longer do their job, we don’t provide them a true disability retirement? I was floored when I heard that. In Harford County, Delegate Mary Ann Lisanti was floored too and took action by sponsoring a bill that would require all law enforcement agencies (along with other emergency services- like Fire Department) to provide an industry standard disability retirement.
As a resident and a practicing lawyer in Carroll County, I rely on our Sheriff’s department. I expect them to protect my family; protect my children- whether in our neighborhood, shopping centers, or their schools. As an attorney I have counted on Deputies facilitating a peaceful eviction or assisting in domestic disputes by putting themselves between my client and someone who is belligerent, high on drugs, or brandishing a weapon. I consistently expect them to put themselves in harms way for my benefit and my client’s benefit. That’s why I teach my children that police are who she goes to if she’s scared. (My white privilege of being able to do that is a topic for another time.)
It’s a fair expectation. Their job is to protect and serve. What is not fair is to expect them to run into danger, while the rest of us run out, and not provide them a safety net.
On March 6, 2018, I drove to Annapolis to testify in favor of Delegate Lisanti’s bill. I am not a police officer, nor is anyone in my family. Other than being a resident and professional protected and served by our Sheriff’s Department, I have no direct connection. But I’m an activist. I believe in the importance of speaking truth to power. Far more important testimony was received: By our Sheriff Jim DeWees, by officers who had survived catastrophic injury, and their family members. I was proud to add my voice to theirs in telling Maryland law makers to do what is right.