National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day was observed on Saturday, Jan. 9. It was a day overlooked by most Americans but it should not have been. This day does not get the national spotlight like other special days. There are no parades, no mass meetings or rallies attended by noted orators or politicians. This is a day observed privately usually by the men and women who protect us daily.

“It is essential that we all take the time to support the dedicated men and women in uniform who protect us,” said Les Neri, president of the Fraternal Order of Police, Pennsylvania State Lodge. “Law enforcement officials, along with their families, show bravery and sacrifice every day. That courage deserves national recognition.”

National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day grew out of negativity directed toward law enforcement nationally. There is a need to show law enforcement officers that people recognize the difficult career they have chosen in public service to us all.

The statistics are truly sobering.  Each day 780,000 police officers across our country put a badge on and go to work knowing they may face extremely dangerous situations. On average, between 105 and 203 officers die in the line of duty each year; 50,000 officers are assaulted in the line of duty each year; and 14,000 officers are injured in the line of duty each year.

We seldom hear about those 780,000 officers on duty every day. Instead we hear about a police shooting because these rare events are followed by demonstrations or riots. In some cities it is becoming almost impossible for the police to police the streets. The result will be higher crime and chaos.

In our immediate area we not only rely on the police to protect us from violent predators but the wave of drugs that are in our area. Those men and women are the very thin line that separates us from the jungle.

More and more of us have relatives in law enforcement. We hear their stories without truly comprehending what they face in the line of duty. Today a domestic disturbance can turn deadly in an instant. A simple traffic stop can result in a shooting incident. Simply standing on a street in uniform can make an office a target.

It seems to me that honoring police officers for one day is not enough.

The Pennsylvania Fraternal Order of Police encourages individuals to show their support in a number of ways, including:

• See a police officer? Thank a police officer.

• Wear blue clothing in support of law enforcement.

• Send a card of support to your local police department or state agency.

• Share a positive story about a positive law enforcement experience on social media.

• Ask children in your community to write letters in support of law enforcement.

• Participate in Project Blue Light. Proudly display your blue light in support of law enforcement.

Organize an event or a rally in support of your law enforcement officers.

Advertise your support through local media outlets/billboards.

 “Police officers put their lives on the line for those in need every day,” Neri said. “They face violence and danger to serve and protect. They do their job, no matter the personal risk.”

I thank God they do.

Bart

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