President Kennedy started National Police Week in 1962 as a way to honor the sacrifices that our police officers make to keep their communities safe. May 15th was set aside as National Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week in which it falls focuses on saluting all police officers.
You are called upon to meet many roles in your daily professional work. Of course, a significant part of your work involves enforcing the laws to keep communities safe from crime and pleasant places to inhabit. We know that your job is challenging and that you witness more of the negative parts of life than most of us can fathom. You experience the devastation that comes with violent crime and catastrophic accidents. You interact with people in the most emotionally challenging times, and you never complain.
We See You
However, we also know that your job is so much more than just law enforcement. We see you show kindness and compassion to the most vulnerable members of our society. So, in appreciation of National Police Week, let’s take a quick look at seven examples that demonstrate that your work profoundly impacts the individuals in the communities where you so selflessly serve.
Example Number One: Compassionate Transporter
A senior woman who has dementia arrived in a hospital emergency room after attempting to jump out of her apartment window. The doctors at the hospital decided that she needed further psychiatric evaluation and so they committed her to a mental hospital in another county. You gently spoke with the frightened woman and carefully transported her to the psychiatric hospital which was an hour car drive away.
In addition to showing kindness to the senior woman, you eased the situation by encouraging the woman’s daughter to ride along with her mom to the psychiatric facility and then you waited patiently to give the exhausted daughter a ride back home.
Example Number Two: Classroom Friend
You visited your daughter’s kindergarten class during career week to talk with the young children about your job in law enforcement. You explained what it means to be a police officer and you made sure that each child had a chance to sit in your patrol car.
While you were answering questions from the eager students, a little girl tentatively raised her hand. When you called on her, she told you that her mommy is in jail. You asked the child what her name was and said to her that you hoped that her mommy could come home soon. The quiet moment that you shared with that little girl helped to shape her view that police officers care and can be trusted.
Example Number Three: Social Media Advisor
A local high school has experienced a series of ugly social media incidents involving students at the school, and the principal asks your police department for some assistance in handling the situation. You’d volunteered for extra training in the challenges that social media use presents in high schools, and you agreed to visit the local high school.
Your involvement at the high school included multiple visits over the course of several weeks. The students split into small groups for focused discussions regarding their use of social media. You even held additional training sessions to inform teachers and school staff about social media and legal issues. Most importantly, your effort showed each student at the school that they didn’t need to tolerate online bullying and the other negative aspects of social media interaction.
Example Number Four: Host Community Safety Fairs
One of the most enjoyable places where we witness you performing an unusual part of your job is at an annual community safety fair. An excellent example of the impact that this type of outreach has on a community is the yearly Morgan Hill, CA Police Department Open House. Citizens take a tour of the police station, chat with detectives, examine specialized equipment, and meet the resident police dog. Children receive bike safety instruction and parents have the chance to have their children fingerprinted.
Example Number Five: Neighborhood Watch Organizer
We know that an established neighborhood watch program is one of the most effective ways to protect a community from crime, so you spend your valuable time training us to maintain an active watch program. You help to organize and prepare our members so that we can spot unusual activity and report it to the proper authorities. Once we’re up and running, you schedule regular community meetings so that we can let you know our concerns and share valuable information. Thank you for coming alongside us to create safe and welcoming communities.
Example Number Six: Animal Rescuer
There are countless stories of police officers who go to extreme effort to protect pets. This tale is a bit different because the animal involved was a wild pigeon rather than a pet. The story began when a homeowner noticed an unusual noise coming from the living room fireplace. Before long, the scratching noises got a little louder, and a frightened pigeon plopped down behind the fire screen. Fortunately, the barrier contained the pigeon in the fireplace while preventing the household cat from feasting on the bird.
The owner phoned the police department, and you soon arrived at the house. You calmly assessed the situation and, after retrieving a pair of heavy leather gloves from your car, you went about coaxing the pigeon into your hands. The lucky pigeon was soon free to explore the neighborhood once again.
Example Number Seven: Explorer Post Sponsor
Countless teenagers have explored law enforcement careers through their involvement in a police department sponsored Explorer Post. The program is affiliated with Scouts BSA and encourages youth, ages 14-21, to pursue their interest in law enforcement through active learning experiences at their local police department.
Your work in law enforcement does so much to enrich our communities in so many different ways. You always go above and beyond the call to service for us, and we are forever grateful Thank you!