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Beyond the Lights: Officers put work first

This series of day-in-the-life of stories provides a candid look behind the scenes of the Boulder City police officers who protect and serve Boulder City.

Let’s do something special and take a quick visit over to Boulder City Police Department’s fellow law enforcement officers in Henderson at the marshal’s office where some of the marshals were found donating their time in uniform to help distribute food to residents who came from communities all over the Las Vegas and Eldorado Valley areas to Central Christian Church’s main Henderson campus during one of its “Hope for the City” COVID-19 relief food pantry giveaways.

The marshals express how helping the community in every way they possibly can during these troubling times eases some of the tensions they’re experiencing in their personal battles dealing with the fallout from COVID-19. What a thoughtful and caring deed.

Law enforcement officers across our great nation are helping to lift the spirits of Americans old and young in creative ways while making certain they adhere to social distancing guidelines.

One of the creative ways that has really taken off is the first responders’ drive-by birthday parade. Our hometown first responders, along with other caring persons, made a local resident’s fourth birthday more than special and memorable when Boulder City Police Department patrol units and Boulder City Fire Department fire and rescue units did a drive-by parade down Marita Drive past the child’s residence.

You can only imagine the surprise, joy, happiness and love that 4-year-old and their parents felt when they saw superheroes who wear badges come by just to celebrate this child’s special day in the midst of the current stay-at-home orders.

Work came first

Now it’s time for real talk: the law enforcement officers’ side of the fallout. I wonder how many Boulder City residents even stopped to take a moment to think about what our first responders, aka law enforcement officers, might be enduring with this catastrophic event since March 15 when COVID-19 became oh so real and Nevada entered into a state of emergency. Maybe? Possibly? No, probably not. Everyone’s thoughts have been concentrated on self-preservation and the welfare of family and loved ones. After that, truly nothing and no one else. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that; it’s a part of normal human nature and behavior to react in this manner.

I’m no different from anyone else because that’s exactly where my mind went and stayed for the first several days of the state of emergency. Then the shift happened. On or about the fifth day following the governor’s enactment of the state of emergency, I started noticing that all of the law enforcement officers in my present and past circles in Nevada, California, Arizona and New York were working unrelenting hours of overtime, with limited information on this swift-moving contagion being called COVID-19. They had no personal protective equipment issued to them yet, but they stayed true to the “black and blue” for the communities they serve.

Law enforcement officers are working together locally and across the country to ensure everyone’s safety without a second thought about what may lay before them in the coming days, weeks and months. They had no idea whatsoever what the fallout would be for them, their families and loved ones.

Within days there were so many states, cities and provinces reporting the spread of COVID-19 at unbelievable rates that no one could keep up with the numbers. Then came the swarm of stay-at-home orders issued by state governors, followed by state and citywide lockdowns, business closures and you name it. It was happening at what seemed like the speed of light.

Then the unthinkable happened: The world famous Las Vegas Strip went dark. The entire casino-hotel resort corridor shut down and every adjacent city’s casino-hotel-resort properties also went dark for the first time in the history of Nevada.

Businesses large and small made immediate adjustments as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, including reducing their business hours and workforce hours, with many employees furloughed or laid off and businesses completely shutting down.

For our law enforcement officers it was absolutely unbelievable. Now they would have a ton more of work added onto their plates as they would have the added duties of keeping all those places of business safe and secure 24/7. Extra patrols would be needed along with security checks, social distancing compliance checks, etc. Don’t forget all the schools, courts and other state and local government agencies have also gone dark and need protection, too.

Aly Rashaad is a dispatcher in Southern Nevada. She served as the director of fundraising and marketing for the LASD Road Racing Association for Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, which provided the NASCAR and positive leadership experience to at-risk inner-city youth. She can be reached at Alys.View@ymail.com.

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