Last Updated on May 11, 2022 by Luke Feldbrugge
Law enforcement appreciation has many faces across our communities. Maybe it’s the thank you to the state trooper who helps you to the side of the busy highway or the officer who fills out the report on your stolen property. Chances are you’ve had plenty of opportunities to feel gratitude for the many services that law enforcement provides and to say “thank you police officers”. Here we offer a little insight to the many roles law enforcement plays, the special observances in their honor, and some suggestions on how to offer our gratitude and show our law enforcement appreciation.
Three steps are important in the law enforcement appreciation equation:
- Remember To Do It – It’s easy to get caught up in our busy lives and forget to show your appreciation. To help, we have put together a list of ways you can thank law enforcement folks in this post.
- Look for Opportunities – Law enforcement professionals are present throughout the community – the gas station, the coffee shop, the mall. Don’t be shy. Thank them. In some coffee shops, for example, patrons may pay for an officers’ caffeine-fix.
- Just Do It – Put the “I should do it” on the back burner and just act. In fact, if you make a habit of expressing your police appreciation, it will start to feel natural.
At Homes for Heroes, we are always looking for opportunities to thank law enforcement. Fortunately, there are some national efforts to recognize our debt to community law enforcement heroes. In fact, May is a significant month to acknowledge and thank law enforcement officers, and those who support them, with two national events.
National Law Enforcement Observances
National Peace Officers Memorial Day
This national observance was signed into law by John F. Kennedy in 1961. It happens every May 15 in Washington, D.C, and it is a solemn day to remember law enforcement professionals who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their communities–their lives. On that day, officers and families from across the nation gather at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial to honor those who have fallen in the call of duty. The new names of fallen officers are added to the memorial each year right before the Peace Officers Memorial Day. The memorial service is sponsored by the Fraternal Order of Police. There are over 22,000 names of fallen officers who died in the line of duty in the U.S. remembered on the memorial.
One of the four quotes on the memorial reads:
“It is not how these officers died that made them heroes, it is how they lived.” —Vivian Eney Cross, Survivor
National Police Week
National Police Week coincides with Peace Officers Memorial Day, again in Washington D.C., and events are scheduled throughout the week. Typically the week’s events draw between 25,000 and 40,000 officers and families of fallen officers. Events include:
- A candlelight vigil
- A Police Unity Tour Ride-In and Ceremony
- A Memorial Tribute Concert
- An Honor Guard Appreciation Reception
- A Police K9 Memorial Service
- Annual Memorial March and Service
- A Wreath laying
- A tent city where families and officers from all over the country can meet and talk
- Stand Watch for the Fallen
While we are grateful as a nation for those who have paid the ultimate price for our communities’ safety, we also need to be thankful for those who face life threatening situations every day. Doing their duty may be all the thanks they need, as they often say, but that should not be enough for us. Gratitude and appreciation for these individuals and their organizations is what makes us a better community and increases our connections to one another.
National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day
Every year on January 9 we celebrate Law Enforcement Appreciation Day, not just for the officers who have fallen but for every police officer and law enforcement professional that keeps our community together. Here are some ways to thank police officers in your area.
- Write a letter of appreciation to your local police department or sheriff’s office.
- Display the American flag at half-mast on Law Enforcement Appreciation Day.
- Wear a blue ribbon in support of law enforcement officers.
- Share an article, photo, or story about law enforcement officers on social media.
- Take a photo of yourself with your favorite law enforcement officer and post it online.
- Attend Law Enforcement Appreciation Day events in your community.
- Download this law enforcement coloring sheet, or this version, and deliver it to your local police station
Appreciating the Whole Law Enforcement Community
It’s easy to lump all of law enforcement into people in uniforms with badges, but there is a lot more to the field than that.
The folks at 911 have a unique position in the law enforcement community. As the first point of contact in many, if not most incidents, they need to keep their cool while gathering the pertinent information. And when you are talking to people who are hysterical or literally under fire, that calm voice can make a great deal of difference.
Dispatchers are represented by the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO). They have their own week of recognition in early April: the National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week.
The qualities 911 dispatchers must exhibit on the job are multitasking, communication, decision-making, empathy, and listening skills to manage these primary responsibilities:
- Answer 911 emergency and nonemergency calls, texts, social media, and alarm systems
- Determine the type of emergency, its location, and the appropriate response
- Relay information to the appropriate first-responder agency
- Coordinate the dispatch of emergency response personnel
- Give instructions to the person in need before emergency services arrive
- Monitor and track the status of police, fire, and ambulance units
- Synchronize responses with other area communication centers
- Keep detailed records of calls
You can be privately grateful for these folks OR you can actually add your voice to others who appreciate dispatchers. There is a project called the 911 Tree of Life where citizens can tell their stories about how a 911 telecommunicator made a difference in their life.
This quote is often cited when people recognize the efforts of dispatchers.
“Between the thin red line and the thin blue line
Lies the thinnest gold line.
The gold line represents those who are rarely seen
But mostly heard.
The calm voice in the dark night.
Dispatchers, the golden glue that holds it all together.” –Anonymous
Another law enforcement group that sometimes gets less attention is correctional officers, but they play a vital role in the administration and application of our laws. They face danger every day in managing the jails and prisons across the country. And they do it to make sure justice is carried out and to keep our communities safe.
Their daily work environment is both dangerous and tense, to say the least. It’s important to remember that prisons never close, so corrections officers work holidays, weekends, night shifts and they can miss a lot of family time because of work. Correctional officers play multiple roles to manage everything you would need to run a large town or small city, or in this case a correctional facility.
The primary responsibilities of correctional officers are:
- Enforce rules and keep order within jails or prisons
- Supervise activities of inmates
- Inspect facilities to ensure that they meet security and safety standards
- Search inmates for contraband items
- Report on inmate conduct
- Escort and transport inmates
The American Correctional Association (ACA) represents these law enforcement professionals and there are large unions that help support them. National Corrections Officer Week is the first week in May, and it celebrates the courage and dedication of these often-overlooked public servants.
Police, State Troopers and Detectives
This is the largest group of law enforcement members. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were nearly 800,000 police officers, troopers and detectives or criminal investigators in 2020. The breakdown looks like this:
- 672,000 – Police and sheriff’s patrol officers
- 112,500 – Detectives and criminal investigators
- 7,500 – Fish and game wardens
- 3,800 – Transit and railroad police
These are the most visible local law enforcement officers in our communities. As such there are plenty of opportunities to thank a police officer. As a nation, we are beginning to appreciate the complexity and breadth of their responsibilities.
They try to keep the peace and enforce our laws.They deal with conflict at every level, from violent criminals to families in crisis. The trooper that gave you a speeding ticket today could be the same one who had to knock on a family’s door yesterday to tell them that their loved one isn’t coming home again.
Take a moment to thank these incredibly courageous and resilient professionals. Their uniform has taken a public lashing over the years due to bad choices and disturbing actions taken by a few. But the rest of these incredible individuals and law enforcement departments across the country know we need them, so they suit up everyday to serve and protect us. That is the job, that is their duty, but more importantly that is the kind of person each of our law enforcement members are.
At this point, we get into the alphabet soup of law enforcement’s federal organizations because almost every federal department enforces the laws in their jurisdiction–DOJ, DOT, DOD, DOA, DOI and so on. If you are talking to a park ranger, for example, she reports to the Department of the Interior.
The federal departments with the largest population of officers are the United States Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice. Unfortunately there aren’t any weeks or days where we are encouraged, as a nation, to celebrate what federal law enforcement officers do for our communities. Police Week has one event dedicated to FBI agents, but that’s it. Consequently, we need to make an extra effort, as individuals, to thank and show appreciation to federal law officers. They work every bit as hard, day in day out, as the law enforcement professionals in our local and state agencies.
Police Discounts and Law Enforcement Deals
A great way for businesses to say “thank you police officers” and to show their law enforcement appreciation is to offer a special police discount or law enforcement deal. Police discounts are a way of saying thank you for your service and sacrifice. Many businesses offer police discounts year-round, but some businesses only offer them during specific holidays or special observances. If you’re a business owner, consider offering a police discount or special law enforcement discount. It’s a great way to show your support and give something back to those who serve us.
How Homes for Heroes Says Thank You Police Officers and All Law Enforcement
Homes for Heroes was created shortly after the events of 9/11 to give back to the heroes who serve and sacrifice for the rest of us, and to specifically say thank you law enforcement officers of every rank for your service and sacrifice.
To thank you and other members of law enforcement, our real estate and mortgage specialists can save you an average of $2,400 when you buy, sell or refinance a home or mortgage. These savings are Hero Rewards savings given back as Homes for Heroes’ way to say Thank You for Your Service. We take pride in the service our local specialists provide our police and law enforcement members.
Partnerships with Law Enforcement Organizations
Part of Homes for Heroes’ mission is to partner with hero organizations who represent law enforcement personnel, and provide Hero Rewards savings for their members. Current law enforcement partnerships include:
- Fraternal Order of Police (FOP)
- American Association of State Troopers (AAST)
- International Union of Police Association (IUPA)
$2,400 Average Savings When You Buy, Sell or Refinance
We take pride in the service our local specialists provide our police and law enforcement members. Our specialists know your local community, understand how to navigate the housing and mortgage trends happening within it, and how to maximize the savings you can receive. They joined Homes for Heroes specifically to serve heroes like you and to thank you by saving you an average of $2,400 when you close on a home or mortgage.
If you’re ready to begin the process of buying and/or selling a home. Or, if you’re in a place to refinance your mortgage, simply register online to speak with our local specialists to get your questions answered. There’s no obligation. We would be honored to assist you with your next home and/or mortgage.
Homes for Heroes Foundation Grants to Assist Law Enforcement
To expand its Circle of Giving, Homes for Heroes, Inc., donates a portion of its earnings to the Homes for Heroes Foundation. So, every time a hero like you buys or sells a home using the Homes for Heroes program, you are helping heroes in need.
Here are two nonprofit organizations focused on assisting law enforcement members and their families. The Homes for Heroes Foundation was able to award them with Hero Grants to support their missions.
- Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) Foundation’s Disaster Area Relief Team (DART) received a $10,000 grant from the Homes for Heroes Foundation. The dollars were used to assist officers who were displaced by natural, man-made, or major catastrophes.
- Running 4 Heroes received a $10,000 grant to help further their mission to honor fallen first responders across the country who have lost their lives in the line of duty and to assist their families left behind.
Grants from the Homes for Heroes Foundation are made possible by the Homes for Heroes Circle of Giving and its network of real estate professionals who are committed to providing savings on home and mortgage buy, sell and refinance transactions for firefighters, EMS, law enforcement, military (active, reserves and veterans), healthcare professionals and teachers.
Please take a moment to learn more about the Homes for Heroes Foundation and the grants it provides nonprofit organizations who help heroes in need, or simply to make a donation.
Homes for Heroes employees and local specialists appreciate you and our country’s law enforcement members for all you do to serve and assist others. Thank you for your service.