In these strange times, we turn to unlikely sources to ensure stability in our lives — workers in grocery and convenience stores, delivery drivers, those at restaurant drive-through windows.
But more people than these keep our society stable, of course. Law enforcement officers have long been recognized as essential, which is perhaps why we haven’t heard as much about them and their sacrifices the past two months. They are out there nonetheless, on the job and keeping their communities safe.
That’s why it’s important to note National Police Week, which begins Sunday.
Some background from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund: “In 1962, President Kennedy proclaimed May 15 as National Peace Officers Memorial Day and the calendar week in which May 15 falls, as National Police Week. Established by a joint resolution of Congress in 1962, National Police Week pays special recognition to those law enforcement officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty for the safety and protection of others.”
Police officers don’t have the option of sheltering in place for weeks or months at a time. Public safety remains a concern wherever the public is, and calls for issues such as domestic violence may increase when families are confined together for extended periods.
The role of law enforcement officers has occasionally been a flash-point in our society. We have high expectations of those we trust to protect us. But they also have high expectations of themselves. Few such jobs require those doing them to put their lives on the line every day.
Officers we pay tribute to this week made the ultimate sacrifice. They did their jobs and paid a staggering price. Who else among us could accept such risks?
We are all finding new ways to appreciate one another during these times. One would hope that, along with desires for haircuts, we have developed greater empathy. We are all, to one extent or another, at risk from a new virus.
Imagine accepting an even greater risk, a more clear and present one, every single day as you go about your job. Imagine accepting the requirement of protecting and serving the public as a whole. And imagine doing it professionally and bravely throughout a long career.
This is what our law enforcement professionals have done, and what they do. This week, we honor their sacrifices, and thank those who serve us.