Local officer attends services for Louisville detective killed in accident, discusses state of affairs for police
Those coming to honor Louisville Metro Police Detective Deidre Mengedoht extends beyond the city's limits. Over the weekend, the president of Bowling Green's Fraternal Order of Police was among those in attendance to mourn the loss of another police officer.
Bowling Green's Fraternal Order of Police President and retired BGPD Officer, Shawn Helbig, paid his respects in Louisville during a visitation followed by a service held by the FOP on Sunday.
"She's a sister in our world and that's how we treat her. Whether we know them or don't know them, a loss in law enforcement is a loss in law enforcement. And it's devastating at every level," said Helbig.
Detective Mengedoht was one of
killed in the line of duty in 2018.
"That's the thing that a lot of people don't realize is -- it can happen anytime. This officer literally was driving home from work, saw a stranded motorist on the side of the road, got out with that stranded motorist; got out from her car and was struck from behind," he said.
Enforcing the law is a difficult job with different situations receiving coverage across the country, with some of the public's perception altering in recent times.
"Unfortunately, I don't see us turning a corner just yet," said Helbig. "With the mentality towards police and the opinion towards police, I'm kinda ready for the silent majority to stand back up."
"I know there's people out there that care about law enforcement -- I'm ready for them to come back to the forefront."
With 2018 coming to a close, police departments face roadblocks in the new year.
"It's tough right now because we're struggling with a recruitment issue. It takes a special person to want to be the police right now. Society has taken some steps that are not very positive for law enforcement," explained Helbig. "And you have legislators cutting benefits, you have legislators cutting retirement. It's hard for us to go and get new officers to come in and do this job. And so your agencies are constantly running short. "
Helbig called it the perfect storm. Looking at the state of affairs, he said work needs to be done from a legislative side, along with changing the public's opinion.
"You know, we're the guy that lives right down the street from you. We happen to drive the police car and wear a gun belt to work every day. But I'm your neighbor. If you need help, come talk to me," said Helbig. "We need the police to be strong. We need to be well trained. And we need to make law enforcement attractive again to people."
Bowling Green's Fraternal Order of Police, made up entirely of those in law enforcement, puts on events and programs for the community, like 'Shop with a Cop' and a food basket program.