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Local leaders support, honor security officers killed on duty

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Mt. Juliet Police Department Chief James Hambrick hosted the event at the police department. LAURIE EVERETT / The Wilson Post
Members of Private Officer International and State Rep. Mark Pody, as well as Sen. Mae Beavers listen as State Rep. Susan Lynn reads a resolution honoring security officers killed while on duty. LAURIE EVERETT / The Wilson Post
State Rep. Susan Lynn reads a House Resolution recognizing Private Officer Memorial Week that was Sept. 18-24. A service was held last week at the Mt. Juliet Police Department. Sen. Mae Beavers was part of the presentation. LAURIE EVERETT / The Wilson Post

Some say when they are killed on the job protecting others, they don't make the headlines. Security and private police officers daily face the rigors of human conflict, while protecting selflessly.

But they are heroes, too, said Rick McCann, a 42-year police officer and founder of Private Officer International.

He founded POI in 2004 as a private security association. POI addresses the growing need for enhanced private security officer training standards, security officer recognition and award programs, pay and benefit issues, and other rising issues as this industry continues to rapidly grow since the devastating events of September 11, 2001.

Last week there was a small but mighty gathering at the Mt. Juliet Police Department in support of Private Officer International Memorial Week.

"Private security isn't like it was years ago," he told the crowd that included MJPD Chief James Hambrick and Deputy Chief Michael Mullins. State Reps. Susan Lynn and Mark Pody, as well as Sen. Mae Beavers were on the first row as McCann honed in on how many security lives are lost while protecting not only all of Washington D.C's federal buildings, but also hundreds of private businesses, schools, nuclear sites, museums and others.

In 2015, 119 security and private police officers were killed in the line of duty in the U.S. In Tennessee, two to five security officers lose their lives annually in the line of duty, said McCann.

He told those gathered at the police department that over the past decade more than 1,550 private security officer were killed in the line of duty through their work, and in Tennessee alone over the past 10 years, 63 of these men and women lost their lives in service.

"We are all in this together," Hambrick noted. "Our motto is 'community strong,' and there are a lot of unknowns out there. We are called to serve and losing officers in the private security field is a tragedy for everyone."

Pody mentioned those who put on a uniform, especially these days, not only represent safety but also are often targets for others.

Before Lynn read a special House Resolution to commemorate Private Officer International Memorial Week, Beavers noted those in the security field have a "passion for your job."

"I appreciate you every day, and every time you leave the house, you don't know," she said. "It's astounding what is going on these days."

Lynn quickly mentioned this gathering was close to her heart as both her grandfather and his brother were police officers and both killed in the line of duty. Her mother was just 11 years old when her father was killed.

"At that time they didn't have widow benefits," Lynn said. "It was very difficult for my grandmother and affected my mother's entire life."

The resolution reiterated the sad facts revealed by McCann and noted it was "fitting and proper that those private officer who have dedicated their careers to public safety and those who have given their lives in this noble cause be recognized and remembered."

"Police officers are immediately recognized," McCann said. "But security officers don't get any media attention. They are more and more on the front lines, often there before the police get there.
"We have expanded our services, training, products and memberships to include a wide array of protective services and law enforcement professionals working collectively to protect life and property."

Writer Laurie Everett can be reached at laurieeverett1@gmail.com.

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James Hambrick, Mae Beavers, Mark Pody, Mt. Juliet, officers, police, public safety, safety, Susan Lynn
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