Wilson County Sheriff Robert Bryan and Lebanon Police Chief Mike Justice spoke to the 15th Judicial District Bar Association on Wednesday about unity between the departments.
Bryan began his speech by noting that the last few years have been "rough" for those in the field of law enforcement. Not necessarily on a local scale - but nationwide. He also said that he has "never seen the agencies work together as they have in the last year or so."
He said when agencies are at odds - the community is at odds. However, now they - and Chief James Hambrick with the Mt. Juliet Police Department - do their part to help one another solve cases.
Bryan added that there have been several changes at the Sheriff's Department this year. "I've had several longtime employees retire," he said. Longtime Chief Deputy Larry Bowman retired. Chief Deputy Mike Owen, also present at Wednesday's Bar meeting, was appointed to the position.
"We probably have the best working group we've had in a long time," Owen said.
Lebanon Chief Mike Justice brought Public Information Officer PJ Hardy to the meeting - who spoke on his behalf since he had to step out early for another work obligation.
"I appreciate you having us. I definitely would like to come back," Justice told the Bar. He spoke briefly about not only solving crimes - but looking for solutions. "Police work is very stat-driven. We've been looking closely at home stats. For example, 70 percent of incarcerated folks come from fatherless homes," he said, before introducing Hardy.
"One of the best things I've done in my career is creating a position for someone to speak, and speak well on behalf of (myself and the Department)."
Hardy stressed that nowadays law enforcement is more than just badges and guns. He is passionate about getting out into the community - so that residents of Lebanon can better understand the jobs they do.
Hardy echoed Bryan's remarks that in present day there is a tumultuous relationship between society and law enforcement - but added, "We don't see that here."
"I think we have a community that supports law enforcement," Hardy said.
He frequently updates the Lebanon Police Department's Facebook page and interacts with folks to get a "pulse on what is going on" locally.
Hardy used the opportunity to "plug" a couple of upcoming events LPD is hosting for the community - including Citizens Police Academy in September. Deadline to sign up for the Citizens Police Academy is Sept. 16.
Staff Writer Sabrina Garrett may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.