After spending half of the day with some of Hopkinsville and Christian County's finest law enforcement officers presenting cases to the Grand Jury, I just realized today's significance. The National Fraternal Order of Police has partnered with C.O.P.S. and law enforcement associations across America to establish today as National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day.
In light of recent negativity directed toward law enforcement nationally, there is a need to show law enforcement officers that our citizens recognize the difficult and sometimes impossible career they have chosen, in public service to us all.
Can you imagine going to work each day and wondering if you’ll survive your shift and see your family that night? Most people can’t. But in law enforcement, this is a fact of life. Each day 780,000 police officers across our country put a badge on and go to work knowing they may face extremely dangerous situations. Yet, they go to work anyway. Being a law enforcement officer is not just a job, it is a calling. The pay is low, the hours can be terrible, and there is sometimes little appreciation for what you do. Yet, they do it anyway.
What the public doesn’t see is the lengths law enforcement takes to keep our communities safe. On average, between 105 and 203 officers die in the line of duty each year, 50,000 officers are assaulted in the line of duty each year, 14,000 officers are injured in the line of duty each year, and over 300 officers commit suicide each year. There is no other profession in the world, except possibly the military, where you will find these kinds of statistics.
Being a law enforcement officer truly is an impossible job. You must be professional, courteous, caring and yet be ready to protect the public at all times. You must be prepared to make life and death decisions at a moment’s notice. You take an amazing amount of abuse at times, but have to view this abuse as just “part of the job.” You do not have the liberty to express your emotions during many situations.
Law enforcement officers play such an integral part in our society; without them, chaos would reign. Have you ever thought about what you would do if you were in trouble – a car accident, a home invasion, an assault – and you did not have someone to call for help? No matter how much abuse law enforcement takes, they continue to do their job, and do it well. They are the guardians of our way of life and they deserve our support.
I am personally and professionally very thankful to the many men and women in our cities, counties, states and nation who proudly take that oath "To Protect and Serve." It is because of them that we can all sleep a little easier tonight. So, please find a moment, today or any day, to let an officer know that you appreciate them and the sacrifices they make each day.