Today, I join family, friends and colleagues mourning the loss of a 24-year old young lady, who by all accounts died living her dream; pursuing her purpose by serving her community as a police officer. It is regrettable that a story of a “good cop” finds its way into the public dialogue by way of a tragedy.
Statistics state that more than 160 police officers lost their lives in the line of duty last year. That is 160 fathers, mothers, sons, and daughters too many. My hope is that it will not take much more of this type of heartache for the public to realize the dangers that our law enforcement community faces every minute of every day; and that each day we remember with unrelenting gratitude the sacrifices of their service:
· the birthdays, holiday and anniversaries that police officer’s spend away from their families in order to keep their communities safe;
· that are very few citizens who earn their living by walking deliberately into harm’s way each time they report to work;
· that a combination of bad experiences and an uninformed understanding of the law enforcement community has dimmed the public’s view of the light of humanity that shines over each police officer; and
· that most police officers attest to a deep and passionate calling into this field.
Painful transparency requires the admission that society, at times makes a police officer’s job much more difficult than it has to be. The self- inflicted inconvenience that you feel you experience whenever you are stopped, ticketed, warned, questioned or even jailed is relatively insignificant compared to the daily experiences of these public servants.
Today, I encourage you to acknowledge, honor and show your gratitude for the legacy that is your law enforcement community. Their position, calling and authority deserve the public’s respect and compliance not only for the public’s safety, but to ensure that the number of times that police officers report for duty equal the number of times return to their home.