Christmas at the station
First responders work during the holidays to keep public safe
MECOSTA, OSCEOLA, LAKE COUNTIES — While families throughout the area wake up Christmas morning to open presents and spend time with loved ones, a few members of the community will still be hard at work keeping their neighbors safe.
For police, firefighters, paramedics, nurses and others, Christmas is just another day on the job.
"When you get into the law enforcement profession, you know you are going to be working holidays, weekends and nights," Mecosta County Sheriff Todd Purcell said.
At the Mecosta County Sheriff's Office, Purcell said about 15 staff members are expected to be working the holiday.
"It is tough on the officers and their families because they are not able to watch their kids opening presents on Christmas morning," he said.
However, Purcell said, as people continue to work as first responders, they begin to learn ways to adjust their holiday plans so they still can celebrate with their friends and families.
Osceola County Sheriff Ed Williams said his department also has a regular staff on Christmas, including deputies at the jail and on the road, as well as a list of on-call personnel.
"We hope that it's a slower day than normal and everyone is in the Christmas spirit," Williams said. "We like everyone to get along for at least one day a year."
Although many first responders hope people will obey the law during the holiday season, Purcell said deputies tend to receive calls on Christmas related to driving violations and crashes as people travel and domestic disputes between family members.
"Typically, Christmas is a little bit busier than other holidays such as Thanksgiving," he said.
While Mecosta County can be busier this time of year, Lake County Sheriff Rich Martin said Christmas is usually a slower day for police. Nonetheless, he said there also will be a variety of road deputies and a sergeant working on the holiday to keep an eye on the county.
"The days leading up to Christmas can be busier for us due to people traveling," he said.
Along with keeping the public safe, Martin said many local organizations also host a variety of holiday dinners and events that police and other first responders can attend.
"As first responders, we have a responsibility to take care of people. That's just a part of the job," Martin said. "People get into this job because they want to do it, not because they have to do it."