Albert Black believes in doing the right thing despite the fear that sometimes arises when facing dangerous and unpredictable situations that come with his job.
As an investigator with the Orangeburg Department of Public Safety, Black takes upholding the law seriously as he works to protect and serve the citizens within the community.
Whether he's battling fires or fighting crime, he has learned to face each challenge with professionalism and bravery.
It is Black's ability to face difficulty and danger without fear that has earned him the designation as the exemplification of courage as part of the Orangeburg County Community of Character initiative.
Black is excited about the recognition, particularly since his 6-year-old son, Austin, was recently honored for having good character at his school.
"So I must be setting a good example," Black said, smiling.
A New York native who has lived in Orangeburg for 13 years, he said courage means having the ability to overcome fears to do what's right.
"Being a public safety officer is a dangerous job. We're expected to go into dangerous situations. It's OK to have fear, but (officers have to) overcome that fear and do what we have to do. We have a job to do, if it has to be going into a fire, or going into a dangerous situation with an armed suspect," Black said.
He said being a public safety officer, however, is "absolutely" more than just arresting people. You also have to have the courage to solve problems, he said.
"When I first got hired here, I was advised that we were in the business of problem solving. One of those tools that we use to solve a problem is an arrest, but not everything warrants that. So just being able to step up and do what's right is always a good thing" even if it means taking different approaches to situations, Black said.
He said courage has also played a part in his personal life, particularly when he found out he and his wife, Amanda, were expecting a child.
"Being a father is actually a scary thing. When I first found out I was going to be a father, I realized I'm responsible for somebody's life now. So whatever I do, I have to make that impression and raise a good citizen, a good moral person, which my son is," Black said.
He added, "When I see him do good, it makes me feel like I'm doing good. So it's just about overcoming that fear of being a father and raising somebody to be a good citizen."
Having courage has enabled him to grow in life, he said.
"You're going to have some type of fear with anything that you do that's new. You have to overcome that fear in order to do it. So, to me, to have courage is to have unlimited growth," Black said.
His mother, Deborah, has helped him foster the trait of being courageous, especially when it comes to a fear of public speaking.
"I can remember being in first grade. We had to do book reports, but we had to act it out on stage. I was terrified just going up in front of my whole school and acting out my stage play. And my mother pretty much told me to bottle up that fear and project it," Black said.
"And when it comes to public speaking, or just going out, I bottle up that fear ... and it makes me come out better," he said.
Black's goal is to now teach his son the value of being courageous, doing what's right and not being afraid to express his opinion, things he considers important to his child being successful in life.
He credits God for helping him to be a good example for his family and community.
"I definitely want to give thanks to God. He is the head of my house and my life, and I would be nothing without him. So I thank my parents for actually instilling a love of God in me and having a wonderful wife, who also instills a love of God," Black said.
The investigator applauds the OCCOC and its efforts to spread good character throughout the community with a focus on positive character traits.
"I believe it's a good thing to focus on these characteristics because those characteristics are good to have in Orangeburg County ... . You can actually reflect on the other people who have been nominated for these characteristics and actually exhibit what you see they are doing," Black said.
"So I always thought it was a good thing. I always pay attention to it."
Individuals interested in nominating a Citizen of the Month can visit the OCCOC website at www.orangeburgcharacter.com.
ODPS investigator recognized for courage by Orangeburg County Community of Character
November 14, 2018 Times and Democrat article (reprinted with permission)
Article by DIONNE GLEATON T&D Staff Writer