Branum: Responders praised for snow-day work

Branum: Responders praised for snow-day work

February 1st, 2014 By Allen Branum in Opinion Columns

Snow was no barrier for for public servants' dedication during the weather emergency.

Photo by Erin O. Smith/Times Free Press.

The Chattanooga area was surprised with an abnormal winter event this week that no one apparently suspected was in the making.

While all the Monday morning quarterbacks are busy determining who failed and what should or should not have been done, there is one thing that stands out for me -- the dedication and determination of the public servants who were out in the weather doing whatever needed to be done to protect the citizens of this area.

Most every opinion is outcome based, so there is no way to win public opinion. That means that if there had been any other decision, the problems caused by that decision would have been scrutinized also as the wrong thing to have done.

If the Public Works (department) trucks could have gotten into some areas before the traffic jams did, a lot of our problems may have been reduced. But it did not happen that way.

The one thing I do know is that the men and women of the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office worked to lessen the impact of the conditions no one could control.

I was out on the roads some, and I listened all day to the radio traffic of officers as they responded to call after call for help.

In some cases, law enforcement had the same problems as the general public: They were simply unable to get where they needed to go. Even with that, I understand there were only two corrections officers who were unable to make it to the jail for duty on that day. That is dedication. Others came in early for the next shift.

Out in the county, I heard several deputies on the streets advise they were unable to get into an area and would be responding on foot to assist in some cases. I know this same scenario was played out over and over in all jurisdictions by other officers and responders just as committed, but I can attest first-hand to the dedication and persistence I witnessed by the employees of the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office.

We are blessed to have these men and women serving, and I am proud of every one who worked selflessly all across this region in those difficult conditions.

And they consistently do it every day.

Allen Branum is the chief deputy of the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office.