On July 4, 2021, Lieutenant Ben Blackburn responded to a fireworks complaint. While meeting with the complainant, Lieutenant Blackburn discovered that her husband was on hospice and that due to her age, she was having a hard time keeping up with his care and the chores around her residence. She had even been warned for the appearance of her yard and overgrown hillside in front of her residence. Lieutenant Blackburn took matters into his own hands and returned to meet with her on his off days. She was more than surprised when Lieutenant Blackburn offered to cut her lawn for her. When Lieutenant Blackburn found that her lawn mower did not work, he fixed it and then cut her grass.
Not satisfied that this was all he could do, Lieutenant Blackburn enlisted the help of one of his officers, Calvin New. Officer New teamed up with a couple of his family members and cleaned up the hillside in front of her residence to get the resident in compliance with city ordinances. She called and spoke with both Captain Cook and Chief Healey to express her gratitude for the actions of these officers. Lieutenant Blackburn and Officer New went above and beyond the call of normal duty for a police officer and turned a complaint about fireworks into an opportunity to help a citizen in need.
Their actions have brought great credit to the Opelika Police Department
as well as the City of Opelika and has shown the “To Serve and Protect” is more than just a slogan for the officers of this department.