By Rebecca Pasqueda, Correspondent
On Monday, March 20, the Central Texas Tea Party gathered together for its monthly meeting at the Harris Community Center at 7 p.m. The meeting consisted of its usual agenda by opening with prayer, reviewing the previous meeting’s minutes, addressing old and new business, and featured a guest speaker. This week’s guest speaker was Mike Gentry, Harker Heights Chief of Police.
“I haven’t been to a meeting in nearly three months, but when I saw his name on the agenda for today I just had to come to this meeting,” said CTTP member Anthony Trivola, “Any opportunity to hear Chief Gentry speak is definitely worth it.”
Once the previous meeting’s minutes were read and the treasurer updated the members on their current funds, the table was turned over to Chief Gentry to address the members. He began by explaining to the group that he wasn’t going to take up much of their time but wanted to give them a quick history lesson on law enforcement from the beginning times of America to now.
“I’ve been asked plenty of times when I plan on retiring, and my answer is always the same: not anytime soon,” Gentry said: he has been in the law enforcement field for almost 40 years now. “I do not want to be considered a quitter, therefore this history lesson is so that you know just how serious I am about my job.”
Gentry went on to explain immigration from Europe to America and how law enforcement was enacted differently on the east and west coasts of our country because of it. He spoke about his various encounters during his upbringing of becoming a law enforcement officer and how it impacted and changed his view on becoming one. The Texas Law Enforcement, according to Gentry, is based on helping fellow citizens live their lives: how to treat people and show respect to others. By no means did he say that Texas’s Law Enforcement is flawless, but the core function of it is to help everyone in need by sacrificing everything but right to perform the job. He spoke of how Texas Law Enforcement officers are trained to never back down from a fight.
Chief Gentry quoted what Sandy Hook’s first-grade teacher, Kaitlin Roig-DeBellis, said to her students during the tragic shooting, “She said ‘There’s bad guys out there. Now we gotta wait for the good guys to come.’ That’s what our job is: to be the good guys for you. We do not and cannot fail to do this job because no one else is gonna do this job for us.”
Gentry went on to recount an incident a fellow officer encountered with an unknown murderer. He went on to say how once they all heard of their fellow officer’s death, one of their directors at the time gave them five minutes to cry with one another and hug each other one last time before they went out to catch the killer.
“The world will have you believing that law enforcement is just stacking up bodies with innocents. I find myself questioning how many of those bodies are justified and unjustified, but nothing is going to stop me from protecting you from anyone who walks through that door and tries to hurt you,” Gentry said, “Do you understand now what I am supposed to be for you? I will not surrender that responsibility as long as I am in this.”
Gentry received a standing ovation from the members of the CTTP and was thanked afterward for his service once the meeting came to an end.
For more information about the CTTP and when their monthly meetings are held, please visit http://www.centraltexasteaparty.org.