The past few years have been an exceptionally hard due to wildfires, protests, and the pandemic. However, there is a group of people who are constantly on the front lines fighting for Sandy. They are Sandy’s local heroes.
Ernie Roberts is the police chief of Sandy. Roberts has been in law enforcement for the past 22 years. His journey in this career started because he wanted to make a change.
“I was not happy in my previous job and wanted a job where I felt like I could make a difference,” Roberts said.
Saving lives are the most memorable moments of being on the job for Roberts.
“I have been awarded the lifesaving medal two times during my career,” Roberts said. This is one of the biggest honors an officer can receive.
Although many of us know this profession is dangerous, we don’t always know what it is actually like for the people working in that profession.
“I was working alone and had to arrest a person who I knew was under the influence of amphetamines. I tried to wait for help but this person attacked me and I was alone. He never seemed to get tired and I was exhausted. I had no energy left at one point and was scared he might take my weapon and use it on me. I was fortunate and a bit lucky that a State Police Officer arrived to help me,” Roberts said.
Police officers, as explained by Roberts, are “People doing a job just like anyone else. They have opinions and unique personalities, just like everyone else. Officers have families, you will see them standing in line right next to you at the store, their children play on sports teams just like everyone else.”
We often view police officers as a uniform and tend to forget they are everyday people; they just also do a very dangerous job in order to keep us safe.
However, police officers aren’t the only ones with dangerous jobs. The Sandy Fire Department is also a firsthand witness to dangers in this city.
“I entered a house that was on fire and it began to get uncomfortably hot after I lost all visibility,” firefighter Paul Brady said. It was a terrifying moment that will be an everlasting memory.
Brady is a 44-year-old Apparatus Operator and Firefighter Paramedic. An apparatus operator is the driver of a fire truck. He has worked for the department for five and a half years, “three years volunteer and two and a half years career,” Brady said.
“I chose this career to help people on their worst day. I also chose this career to solve many different problems with the tools that I have,” Brady said.
Laurie Smallwood has been a firefighter paramedic for 15 years. She started this job because it was not a typical 9-5 job. She wanted something interesting where she could help others.
This compassion for others is deeply tied to what she believes is the scariest part of the job. Surprisingly enough it’s not the gruesome injuries or buildings on fire it is “the fear that you may let someone down or not be your best,” Smallwood said.
As there continues to be more hardships to be faced. These local heroes will always be there to serve and protect.