5 Reasons to Support Your Local Law Enforcement Officers
Washington, May 17, 2017
It’s Police Week, and as we honor our fallen officers and celebrate the men and women who put their lives on the line every day, here are five reasons for all of us to support our local law enforcement officers:
First and foremost, our law enforcement officers do the jobs they do because they are committed to serving others. They love where they live, and they want their communities to thrive.
The Traverse City Police Department’s mission, for example, is “to protect life and property, and enhance the quality of life for all citizens.” The Escanaba Department of Public Safety says that it’s “dedicated to preserving life, maintaining human rights, protecting property, advancing education, and promoting individual responsibility and community commitment.” The Sault Ste. Marie Police Service is “Committed to Excellence in our Community,” and so are law enforcement officers across the First District.
Public safety is public service, and that’s what police work is all about.
Here’s the thing we sometimes forget about public safety officers: they’re people too. Sure, they’re part of something bigger than themselves, but when they take off the blue, or black, or brown uniform, they’re just like us. They have the same hopes, dreams, regrets, and worries. They have moms and dads, brothers and sisters, husbands and wives, and sons and daughters at home. They’re human beings who are elevated by their willingness to sacrifice. William Blake said that “the most sublime act is to set another before you.” When our law enforcement officers go to work each day, that’s the affirmative decision they make: to set others before themselves.
Commitment to Excellence.
The fact is that our law enforcement officers can’t know what new challenges they’ll encounter or what new threats they’ll be expected to confront when they’re on the job. Imagine not knowing whether the day holds a high-speed collision or a close encounter with a loaded weapon. That’s what our law enforcement officers deal with when they put on the uniform, and its why they put in the time, training, and effort that it takes to prepare for the unexpected. It’s that commitment to performing at the highest level—no matter what—that makes them effective in even the most stressful situations.
Every community needs leaders—people for the next generation to look up to—and that’s a role that law enforcement officers across Michigan and the United States are well-suited to fill. For better or worse, our policemen and women represent the age-old struggle between good and evil. They hold a special place in young minds (how many of us wanted to be policemen and women when we were children?), and they have a unique opportunity to directly and indirectly influence outcomes for so many of our young people. It’s a big responsibility, but it’s one that our law enforcement officers take on willingly. After all, leaders don’t shy away from the mission just because it’s difficult.
Earlier this week, a member of my staff asked a police officer who recently lost a colleague in the line of duty to explain why he thought law enforcement officers deserve public support. He couldn’t answer for himself (he said he thought it would be self-serving), but he explained why he admires his friends on the force instead. Their courage. Their commitment. Their instincts. Their nerve. Their devotion to their families as husbands and wives and fathers and mothers. Their insistence on always doing the right thing.
What he didn’t have to mention was their humility, because his silence about his own service said it all.