As we approach the midpoint of 2017, it is once again time to celebrate National Police Week. To some this is just another meaningless holiday. To others, this is some of the only positive they get in a year full of sacrifice, turmoil, and heart break. Whether you choose to participate or not is a personal decision. As a retired police officer, I would ask you to consider a few facts before making your decision:
1) How many people do you know that start each shift making preparations to survive a potential life and death fight? A police officer puts on a heavy ballistic vest each day. Despite the fact these can often cause back problems from the excessive weight, it is better than the alternative... catching a bullet in vital organs.
2) How much of a sacrifice do police officers really make? There have already been 48 line of duty deaths since January. Nineteen of these were the result of being gunned down or beaten to death. Most people never know the violence that truly occurs on their own streets, especially under the cover of darkness. Police officers stand as barriers to this violence so that everyday citizens can live in relative peace.
3) How many decent police officers are left out there? Many people hear stories in the news about a rogue police officer here and there that do something appalling. I have worked with some that performed both unethical and illegal acts. But does that mean that all or even most police officers are bad? NO! It means that these are the acts that generally get publicity. Negative publicity not only sells, but it is also 10 times more likely to impact your emotions than a positive act. There are news articles that cover priests who are pedophiles, doctors that molest patients, and teachers that abuse children. But does that make all priests, doctors, and teachers bad people? Of course not. We do not hear enough about the good deeds any of them perform. But a small percentage committing atrocious acts makes the group look bad.
So if any of these seem like worthy reasons to appreciate your local police, then I want you to join me in playing a game. Find a police officer and come up with a unique way to say "thank you" for the sacrifices you make each day. Post your unique "thank you" with #policegame
For all of my brothers in blue that are still serving their communities..... Thank you and BE SAFE!
Michael Cox is a retired police officer that works to help others take charge of their personal safety.