Please disseminate to all law enforcement: Police Week 2019
May 12-18, 2019 marks the period that we call “Police Week”. In 1962, President Kennedy designated May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day, when we set aside a time of “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”.
I, like a lot of you, will attend memorials or private ceremonies during the month. Whether it may be the National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service in the Nation’s capitol, state ceremonies, local ceremonies, or your department is doing something (or all the above) I always tell people that it is important that we do these ceremonies for a couple of reasons.
- Sacrifice by those who came before us makes our job safer.
I think that most (if not all) of us understand this. The methods of policing change often. Sometimes, the changes are driven by sacrifices of those before us. We use seat belts more often (hopefully every single time!) because of those who did not. We wear our vests (every time!) because of those who did not or maybe served before a time when they were even available. We hear a story and think “If they would have had a back-up weapon, they might have made it out OK.” Changes in how vehicles are approached at traffic stops, hunters in the field, or suspects in an interview room are changing because of what has happened to others. Learn their stories, share them, and motivate yourself and others to prevent the deaths and injuries we can prevent by heeding those lessons. When we attach a name and face to something, we work together to prevent it from happening again. We learn from the past, develop better/stronger/faster tools, and use better techniques.
- Sacrifice should never be forgotten.
This should be a way of life for all of us. From the first Line of Duty death of Constable Darius Quimby back in January 3, 1791 to the most recent (at the time of this writing) of Conservation Officer Eugene Wynn, Jr. on April 19, 2019, we remember the 23,711 officers that have paid that price. They were husbands, wives, parents, children and friends. For some, it was one of their first days on the job, and others were preparing to retire. Some were from large departments; others were the only person in the department. Some were from large cities, others from “the middle of nowhere”. A lot of officers and a lot of differences between them. A quote that I often use is from the poet Cicero, “The life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living.” Take time to remember them. Tell someone’s story today. Chances are they improved yours.
Also, If your community doesn’t have a memorial service, consider starting one. It doesn’t have to be elaborate. If you would like some assistance in this area, let me know. I know some people that can help. Don’t let your community’s loss be forgotten.
Thanks for spending a few minutes with me. This message is being read by departments of all shapes, sizes, types and locations. For all my law enforcement family reading this, I’m praying for an especially peaceful and safe week for you: safe citizen encounters, safe traffic stops, safe building searches, and safe DV calls. I pray for a time of healing for the departments reading this who have had a loss in the last year, or with a loss that continues to hurt. 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.
I also 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.
Thank you to each person who has taken the time to read this. You are why I do what I do. Thank you for who you are, and all you do. Don’t forget that people DO care. If I can help in any way, don’t hesitate to contact me.
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.