By Journalist Ms. Jones
POUGHKEEPSIE – Despite being in the Black Lives Matter Era and songs like “F*** Tha Police” which addresses police brutality, there are still some good ones out there.Beulah Baptist Church was full of the men and women in blue at their Law Enforcement Appreciation Day on Sunday, April 23rd.
“Today’s service was designed to give appreciation and affirmation to all of those who work in law enforcement… those who work in the prison, those in the police department, and those who work in the court…Oftentimes they get painted with a broad brush, with a negative brush, and we refuse to allow the bad apples to define the whole barrel. There are some good apples and we say,‘Thank you!’ We want them to know that we appreciate it,” said Dr. Rev. Jesse V. Bottoms Jr., pastor of Beulah Baptist Church.
This is the first time that Beulah has had this type of service. Pastor Bottoms decided to do it because Dutchess County District Attorney William V. Grady, who he has worked closely with, will be retiring soon after 40 years of service. He is the longest serving district attorney in the state of New York. There was a special presentation to him by Pastor Bottoms.
“I’ve known Reverend Bottoms since I started working as district attorney. He’s always been a very strong advocate for the Black community… We’ve had a number of discussions and meetings and experiences together all working for one purpose and that is to give us a better community in which to live… It was a real honor to be here and a privilege to serve the community for so long,” said DA William V. Grady who plans to retire at the end of the year.
The Law Enforcement Appreciation Day was presided by Minister Anthony Watson, Retired CO of Westchester Department of Corrections. The Invocation was given by Danny Whitehead from the NYS Dept. of Parole (Retired). The Welcome Statement was shared by NYS CO Armitra Bynum. Retired NYPD Officer Delvia Moore read the Statement of Purpose. Dutchess County Sheriff Kirk Imperati, State Senator 39th District Rob Rolison, Poughkeepsie Police Chief Tom Pate, and 19th District Congressman Pat Ryan greeted the congregation. The Offertory Appeal & Prayer were facilitated by CO NYS Aaron Owens and Retired Prosecutor NYS Courts Jean Strickland. CO NYS Rev. Cheryl D. Kelly gave the Morning Prayer. CO Westchester Dept. of Corrections Rynard Brown sang a solo. Min. Rodney Felder, CO NYS, implored people to come to Christ through the Invitation to Christian Discipleship. Even the sermon was preached by law enforcement; Rev. Carlton Giles, Retired Policeman and Chairman of the State of Connecticut Parole Board was the guest speaker.
“It feels great to be appreciated and to be loved by the community. It’s a great ordeal to be part of the community. I definitely feel like becoming a correctional officer… I have a calling to do so. I love to help people. I love to make people more productive in society… It’s just a loving thing to be appreciated today!” said Sergeant Bruce Allen, CO at Westchester Dept. of Corrections.