Our chance to say #8216;thank you#039; to heroic officers

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 16, 2006

Monday night's council meeting was a chance for a grateful city to give a heartfelt thank you to three of our bravest.

Officer John Bass, Officer Lionel Davidson and Officer Byron Russell were each commended by Mayor Dexter McLendon and the Greenville City Council for their heroic efforts and bravery during a Jan. 14 shooting at the Comfort Inn. Both Davidson and Bass were wounded while engaged in a shootout with Wayne Vasquez of St. Bernard, La.

Prior to presenting a trio of commendations to the three men, McLendon alluded to a night 11 years ago when he received a phone call about the shooting of Greenville patrol officer Gary Wayne Heath. Heath is the only Greenville police officer to die in the line of duty.

&#8220That's a phone call I will never forget,” said McLendon. &#8220We need to remember Gary Wayne Heath and all of our officers who serve our city. They never know what's going to happen when they go on a call.”

McLendon praised each of the officers for handling the situation at the Comfort Inn to the best of their ability. He said officials now know that Vasquez was a Hurricane Katrina victim, whose life had taken a turn for the worse since the August 2005 storm. While it was unfortunate Vasquez died, said McLendon, he left the three officers with little choice after opening fire on them.

We wish to extend our own thanks and appreciation to Bass, Davidson and Russell, as well as all of our law enforcement personnel, be it in Greenville, Georgiana, McKenzie, Butler County or the Alabama State Troopers who patrol our highways. It is people like these three men who lay their lives on the line each and every day for the good citizens of Butler County.