As always, I want to say thank you to everyone who has made it possible for me to distribute this message. I cannot express my gratitude enough for your assistance. I also want to thank you, the reader. While I can’t visit with each of you individually, I can, however, remind and show you that people DO care. This message is being read by departments of all shapes and sizes. To each of you, welcome. I know you’re busy and you do a lot to get ready for your shift. So thank you for reading.
May 10-16 this year is Police Week. It was designated by President Kennedy in “recognition of the service given by the men and women who, night and day, stand guard in our midst to protect us through enforcement of our laws”. Some of us will go to memorials, or private ceremonies, or just sitting around reminiscing about our fallen comrades. Most of us do something so we remember, so we never forget. As Cicero wrote, “The life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living.” I encourage you to take time to remember.
There has been so many events occurred over the past year, and I’m sure I don’t need to mention most of them. They are common names and places now, that one year ago most of us had not heard of. I wanted to use this note to share some insight I have been given. Insight that some of you reading this note have given me over the last year. Some of you reading this have shared your thoughts, hurts, anger and frustrations. You are under a spotlight more than ever. Some of you feel that your job is hated, or no longer matters. You feel that the average citizen does not notice, or worse, does not care. I have heard from officers in different places about the environment we find ourselves in. Public opinion is brutal, and unfortunately for us it’s been turned in our direction. So here are some things I want you to remember:
1) Eventually some (if not a lot) of the negativity will die down. There will likely always be some that will cause us heartaches or headaches. But it will get better. Humans go in cycles, and people will movie on to other things.
2) Stay strong, prepared, and optimistic. It’s my mission to help people not lose hope, even though it would be easy to do given the times. Keep training. Keep doing those extra checks. Keep “sharpening your saw”. Keep doing what you do. Tell a joke or two in roll call. I was on a ride along with a department, and the supervisor bought pizza for all of us. I thought it was great. It’s the little things in life that keep us going sometimes. So don’t neglect them.
3) You still have a lot of support, perhaps more than you think. There are thousands and thousands who support Law Enforcement, but maybe not as vocal as some of us. Just keep doing what you do, and the support will rally around you when you need it. Just don’t be afraid to ask.
4) Your role in society is just as important as it ever was. Maybe it’s even MORE important. Sometimes all of us look at our jobs and question “Is it worth it?” But in today’s environment, this one can be hard to remember. You are the ones who keep us safe from the evils in society. You are the sheepdogs keeping the wolves at bay, away from the sheep.
5) Don’t forget your support network. Maybe you were just on the receiving end of someone’s verbal abuse (or worse). Find someone who can remind you that everyone is not like that. Maybe you were on the receiving end of someone’s generosity. Share it. Bring those cards from that kindergarten class in to work. Someone bought you lunch, or the new K9 unit some dog treats, then talk about that. If you have good stories, share them on social media. Talk to your chaplain. If your department doesn’t have one, find out if a someone close to you does.
For all the law enforcement reading this, I’m praying for a peaceful and safe week for you. Safe traffic stops. Safe building searches. Safe DV calls. I pray for a time of healing for the departments reading this who have had a loss in the last year. I pray that those of you making trips to Washington and state memorials will have a safe trip. For those who are attending a memorial to honor a fallen brother or sister, I pray for healing. But most of all, I hope now more than ever, there is an outpouring of appreciation form the communities that you serve.
In closing, thank you for all you do. I’ve said it before and will say it for the remainder of my days. You all are heroes. I don’t know how often you hear it, but I’m certain it’s not nearly enough.