In the course of serving and protecting the community, our law enforcement officers find themselves daily in the face of danger. They are routinely called upon to perform miracles and to do the impossible within split seconds. They arrive at the scene of an automobile accident and are expected to perform as doctors, paramedics and traffic engineers. They respond to domestic disturbances and are expected to perform as counselors and therapists, as well as keepers of the peace. Frequently, they deal with juveniles and are expected to perform as parents, teachers and sociologists. In the courtroom they are expected to be lawyers.
If they do not perform their duties with excellence every day, they risk complaints from the public, discipline from the department, suits from disgruntled defendants, criticism from the prosecutor and judges, investigations by the news media, and even death when a life-threatening situation is not handled properly. They risk impacting their own mental health by exposure to the worst our society has to offer. Nevertheless, they are often paid less than plumbers, auto mechanics, school teachers, or truck drivers.
You will rarely see a newspaper headline about good cops working with compassion, dedication and commitment. In fact, the vast majority of law enforcement officers are hard-working and dedicated professionals who are committed to making a difference. They want to do a good job and keep us safe and many are doing just that. But most recently there seems to be a nationwide assault upon our fine men and women in the law enforcement profession who are employed to serve and protect us. They put their lives on the line for us every day, without hesitation. They suffer much criticism and personal threats from various segments of our society. Many in our country are paying the ultimate sacrifice of giving their own lives. The threat they face is real and motivated by evil intent, under the cover of darkness.
Our law enforcement men and women need the support, a show of thanks and appreciation from our elected leaders as well as the community at large. So the challenge is for you and I to tell our officers how much we appreciate their service, their dedication and commitment to protect us and keep our families safe every day. They each have my full support and confidence, how about you?
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Editor’s note: The writer is a retired Wendell police chief, town manager and town commissioner.