Little things go a long way toward making a good first impression.
And so it was Monday night when Wendell’s newest police officer was introduced.
Lenward Hanks stood in front of the town commissioners and beside police Chief Bill Carter as Carter read aloud a synopsis of Hanks’ background.
Such introductions are fairly common in town halls all across the region. From time to time the new officer speaks an uncomfortable brief word or two, then sits down.
But Hanks did something unsual. Asked if he wanted to speak after his introduction, Hanks turned his back on commissioners and addressed the people in the audience – the taxpayers, voters, residents and, yes, even a den of Cub Scouts who filled the audience. He promised to do his best to serve them. He expressed his appreciation for the opportunity to work in Wendell.
His decision to address that group instead of the commissioners was no sign of disrespect. It was a remarkable – and all too uncommon acknowledgement – of the people the police actually work for.
Sure the commissioners and mayor are the elected heads of government. But government exists to serve the people Hanks addressed in his remarks Monday night.
It was a small, almost imperceptible action. But it was an important one and an incredibly wise one on Hanks’ part.
For our part, we appreciate that Hanks addressed the crowd with his comments Monday night. It felt good and it began immediately to build the belief that his hire was a good one for Wendell.
Here’s hoping he has a long and prosperous career in Wendell and that people will, indeed, benefit from the commitment he made to them.