If you watch sports, you know that few people pay attention to referees or umpires unless they make a controversial call.
They can make dozens of consecutive correct calls and no one says a word about them. But as soon as they miss one, the spotlight is on them. And criticism quickly follows.
The same is often true of police and other law enforcement personnel. Despite the pressure of their jobs, they’re only noticed when they make a mistake. Theirs is often a thankless job.
We sometimes forget police officers are frequently in life-threatening situations. An average of 150 police officers are killed in the line of duty every year in America. Some of those deaths occur in ambushes, where officers don’t have a chance to defend themselves.
Service to their communities
A vast majority of law enforcement individuals and agencies do an outstanding job of serving and protecting the public. Day in and day out.
They deserve acknowledgment for their bravery, dedication to the job and exemplary conduct.
And that’s what National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day is all about.
Today, January 9, is the annual designated day for this initiative to thank and show support to law enforcement officers for service to their communities.
Boy raises funds for fallen officers’ families
Some folks – including young children – have used their creativity to find ways to pay their respect to police officers. One of them was a 5-year-old boy from Henderson, Nevada.
He was selling lemonade at a stand outside his home recently in order to purchase a new box of Legos. But then he got to thinking… why not show police officers how much they are appreciated by using the money in a different way?
The boy wound up raising $425 for the families of fallen officers. His mother was both surprised and elated. “He wanted to do it because he wanted to support police officers,” she told Fox News.
“As a mom, that’s what you want to hear from your child. You want to know that they have empathy, that they’re thinking of others. It gets me a little teared up when I talk about it because I’m so proud that he has that in him.”
Police show appreciation
If that would have been the end of the story, it would have been a feel-good moment to be treasured.
But officers at the local police department decided they wanted to say “thank you” to the boy in a tangible way.
So, they gave him an exclusive, behind-the-scenes tour of their station. The youngster was able to sit behind the wheel of a SWAT vehicle and meet the K-9 squad.
One of the officers said about the boy, “Somebody that has that kind of a heart already at 5 is just going to make an awesome officer.”
Just say ‘thank you’
In the past, some communities have held cookouts to honor and thank their local law enforcement officers. Police departments in Houston, Texas and Madison, Wisconsin have held events featuring tours, music, food and festivities.
Other communities have organized 5K runs, golf tournaments, block parties and additional law enforcement appreciation events.
What can you do to show your support on National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day? The simplest way might be to stop next time you see a police officer and thank him or her for their service.
Other ways include:
- Wear blue clothing in support of law enforcement.
- Send a card of support to your local police department or state agency.
- Share a story about a positive law enforcement experience on social media.
- Display a blue light on your front porch.
- Participate in a Blue Blood Drive.
Law enforcement officers serve us. And protect us. The least we can do is show our appreciation to them on this special day.