We have all had that sick, sinking feeling in our stomachs when we see the red and blue lights on top of a police car pull in behind us, or in some cases as we pass a sitting police car going way too fast.
It sparks anxiety for us, but law enforcement officers (LEO) are just doing their jobs. Let’s take a minute to look at that job. When you leave home, do you have to strap on a bulletproof vest in anticipation you may get shot? I don’t and it makes me appreciate the work officers do for their communities every day.
Now before we get started, let’s talk about the diverse types of law enforcement. If I leave any out, please send me an email to correct me, firstname.lastname@example.org. In most communities, you have local/municipal officers, deputies from the county sheriff’s department, and troopers from the state police or highway patrol.
Those are the basics but add to those bailiffs in the county courthouse, guards in the county jail, state, and federal prisons, and in some cases, even the police/fire/EMS dispatchers are sworn officers, usually of the sheriff or large cities. There are also numerous state and federal agencies with sworn officers and even Union Pacific Railroad has its own law enforcement officers in my hometown. I know this is a lot to unpack.
Police and other LEO get a bad rap when they write us a ticket. I hate it too, but we were breaking the law. In all seriousness, what would we do without these brave men and women who answer the call when we need help or protection? Remember the part about the bullet proof vests?
The week of May 11-17 is National Police Week. Cities, states, and counties all over the country pause to not only acknowledge the men and women currently serving, but to honor those who have given their lives in the line of duty.
Ceremonies and candlelight vigils are held, speeches are given, and tears flow to remember those who left their homes one morning to go to work and never came home to their families. They were just going to work. Makes you appreciate your comfortable desk job, huh.
I personally know an LEO who was killed on duty when he was struck head-on by a drunk driver. It can happen in a split second and without the tv and movie dramatics of car chases, explosions and shootouts. He was simply on the patrol, then he was gone forever.
Dispatchers are the lifelines of all first responders. Every police/fire/EMS emergency begins with a dispatcher answering a 911 call. They take down information usually from distraught callers, give them directions on how they can help the situation, and usually stay on the line with the callers until help arrives.
In a matter of seconds, the dispatcher determines the nature and severity of the emergency, and gets the proper agency or agencies rolling to the scene while giving them information to keep the first responders and the callers safe.
Once on scene, all the responders rely on the dispatchers to contact other agencies and resources to mitigate the emergency. It is also the duty of the dispatchers to check on the responders to give status checks for their own well-being and safety. Their role from the first seconds till the last trucks and squad cars are back in service is vital.
Now, let us talk about bailiffs and correctional officers.
Once the police do their jobs and get the criminal off the street, their safety and that of the public is in the hands of this often unseen and overlooked group. Their work each day in detention facilities and courthouses can be just as dangerous as the officers working the streets. Escorting prisoners to and from court, making sure the bad guys stay behind bars, and let’s not forget protecting state, federal, and municipal buildings and the public visiting them.
Everyone who puts on a badge and swears to protect and serve the public day in and day out deserves our respect and gratitude. All joking aside, who else are you going to call? Who answers when you call 911? Who are the people that will be first on the scene when need them?
They are in most cases total strangers willing to give their lives protecting you, your family, and your property. Wisper salutes those holding the thin blue, silver, and yellow lines. Personally, I sleep better at night knowing they are out there to keep me safe.
Wisper Internet thanks these brave men and women for their service. We would also like to thank the families of law enforcement for sharing their heroes with us and enduring the worries and uncertainty that must come with the start of every new shift.
One week a year is not enough to truly acknowledge the sacrifices made.