MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Montgomery residents are honoring members of local law enforcement just a day after an Orlando police officer was shot and killed on the job and another officer responding to the situation died in a traffic crash.
Organizers said the goal of Tuesday's law enforcement appreciation luncheon was to serve those who serve the community daily.
"We felt like we could return a favor one day out of the year at least to thank those people," explained Beverly Lynn with the Capitol Heights Civic Association.
With the current turmoil surrounding law enforcement in today's society, officials say simple gestures like a meal and a conversation go a long way.
"Getting to see the officers and deputies as just human beings is very valuable," said Montgomery County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Kevin Murphy. "I think sometimes people have a tendency to de-personalize someone in law enforcement, you know, that's not a husband or a father or a mother, a brother or a sister. They don't see you as a person, but we are. We're just like anyone else in the community, we have a job to do."
That job of law enforcement can quickly turn dangerous. Monday's murder of an Orlando police officer is a sobering reminder.
"When something like that happens, it's really tense. It's kinda an eerie feeling. It's a situation now where law enforcement dealing with these one percenters out there challenge us each and every day. So, we just have to be on our guard and respond safely to make the situation safe," said Montgomery Police Chief Ernest Finley.
Leaders say they have a job to do to keep the community safe and they are hopeful communication will continue between law enforcement and residents in order to create a positive relationship.
"Our goal for this next year is to do things a little bit differently. It's always about that transparency but also work with the community even more. It's all about how do we give back and we meet half way so we can bring some more positiveness in those communities," says Finley.