So few people get to follow their calling in life. Most of us work to provide for our families and many even enjoy what they do for a living, but few get to call their career a calling. But I do.

I and the roughly 800,000 other law enforcement officers in this country get to wake up everyday and have the honor of serving our fellow Americans in a way that few qualify to do. You see, of those who profess to have pursued a law enforcement career, only about two percent of those people ever actually pin on a badge.

The reality is that less than one percent of our citizens are law enforcement officers. We are a small fraternity.

Lynde Johnston

From left to right is New York State Trooper Ryan Johnston, Captain Lynde Johnston of the Rochester Police Dept, Police Officer Adam Johnston of the Rochester Police Dept, and Peace Officer Casey Johnston of the Gates Police Department.

 

And while our profession has been on the front lines the last few years, taking a beating in the media, being scrutinized by those who look for fault in every action an officer takes, we still consider ourselves fortunate.

Our jobs help us to raise our families, pay our bills and at the same time serve our neighbors, our families and our friends. When you hear people say “someone ought to do something about that”…we are the ones that get to do “something.”

Did you know that Law Enforcement Today has a private new home for those who support emergency responders and veterans?  It’s called LET Unity, and it’s where we share the untold stories of those patriotic Americans – and of wounded officers.  Every penny gets reinvested into giving these heroes a voice.  Check it out today.

LET Unity

 

The efforts of police officers make our streets safer, save lives at accident scenes, get property returned to its rightful owner, and put rapists and murderers behind bars.

While officers will be the first to tell you that they don’t enjoy cleaning up the carnage of a drunk driving accident or seeing the aftermath of a sexual assault, they do the joy of seeing a case through to completion.

They know the satisfaction of being able to help someone put the pieces back together again after a life altering trauma.

Officers see the worst society has to offer and still come back to work the next day with the knowledge that sometimes it is actually within their power to fix the world’s problems.

I will be honest, though. This line of work takes a toll on those who take it on.

watching kids become cops

 

Police officers have a life span that averages 10 years shorter than the average American. The divorce rate is higher than average. Officers often miss birthdays and holidays with family because of bizarre hours.

They know that no matter how far they excel at their profession, it will never make them wealthy. They know that any given shift could find them in the hospital or worse.

They know that when they have to use force on someone, a spectator will likely be recording the incident, and that those recordings are often manipulated or edited to further the cause of those who disrespect authority in any of its forms.

So why then do they go back, shift after shift, day after day, year after year? Why do little boys and girls put on plastic badges and cap guns, openly telling you they want to be a police officer when they grow up? Why do college-educated people, who could certainly make more money in the private sector, choose instead to become a cop?

involved

(Photo courtesy Jonathan Bransfield)

 

Because it’s their calling.

They have heeded the call to serve and it becomes a part of them. You see being a police officer is not what you do, it is who you are. If you are doing the job correctly, you are following your calling to serve society, and make a difference in the lives of those around you. And while you may see the ugly side of the job on the news tonight, I see the great work done by officers everyday.

I see the countless hours spent tracking down a lead or a suspect. I see the difference they make in peoples’ lives. I see that our society is one thin blue line away from chaos. And I will see them show up to do again tomorrow what someone blasted them for doing today.

Protecting me and my family. Serving me and my family.

I hope you see that too.

Editor Note: This submission by the chief made us think of the countless sacrifices made across the country by those who hold the Thin Blue Line and their family.  It also made us think of a video produced last year by our National Spokesman, Kyle Reyes, and Graham Allen of Rant Nation.  We leave you their words and this tribute…
 
This is a message to the families of fallen police officers… 
 
From the America they fought for.
 
We can’t begin to imagine the pain your family has experienced 
 
The loss you’ve felt 
 
Or the heartache you suffered
 
We can only imagine the feelings you get
 
When you see people protesting police
 
And you know your loved one died to protect people like that
 
But those people don’t represent the Americans your loved one lived for
 
Died for 
 
WE are their America
 
We are wives
 
Husbands 
 
Teachers
 
Students
 
Sons
 
Daughters
 
Brothers
 
Sisters
 
We are the silent majority of America.
 
The people that support you
 
Stand beside you in church
 
And mourn the loss of your loved one with you.
 
Your loved one didn’t choose between black or white
 
Gay or straight
 
Republican or democrat
 
Christian or Jew or Muslim
 
They chose between good and evil
 
They stood for the American flag 
 
For one nation, under God
 
For love
 
For law and order 
 
For faith
 
For America 
 
Your loved one made the ultimate sacrifice
 
As did your family
 
Because they were a protector 
 
They didn’t do it because they wanted to leave you
 
They did it because of such a deep love for you – 
 
for the community
 
for those they never knew the names of
 
For US
 
Some of your loved ones were killed in the line of duty
 
Some by their own hand 
 
because society didn’t support their battle against pTSD
 
Please know their legacy lives on
 
In your family 
 
In your children
 
In our children 
 
And in true Americans 
 
Their love is in our hearts now
 
Their spirit in our souls
 
And now WE will fight to honor them 
 
And to honor you
 
God bless you
 
God bless America
 
Please share this along with a prayer 
 
For the safety of all first responders 
 

Law Enforcement Today is proud to stand behind C.O.P.S. and encourages those who were touched by this video to support this incredible organization.

Each year, between 140 and 160 officers are killed in the line of duty and their families and co-workers are left to cope with the tragic loss.  C.O.P.S. provides resources to help them rebuild their shattered lives.  There is no membership fee to join C.O.P.S., for the price paid is already too high.

C.O.P.S. was organized in 1984 with 110 individual members.  Today, C.O.P.S. membership is over 48,000 survivors.  Survivors include spouses, children, parents, siblings, significant others, and co-workers of officers who have died in the line of duty according to Federal government criteria. 

C.O.P.S. is governed by a National Board of law enforcement survivors.  All programs and services are administered by the National Office in Camdenton, Missouri.  C.O.P.S. has over 50 Chapters nationwide that work with survivors at the grass-roots level.

C.O.P.S. programs for survivors include the National Police Survivors’ Conference held each May during National Police Week, scholarships, peer-support at the national, state, and local levels, “C.O.P.S. Kids” counseling reimbursement program, the “C.O.P.S. Kids” Summer Camp, “C.O.P.S. Teens” Outward Bound experience for young adults, special retreats for spouses, parents, siblings, adult children, extended family, and co-workers, trial and parole support, and other assistance programs.

C.O.P.S. knows that a survivor’s level of distress is directly affected by the agency’s response to the tragedy.  C.O.P.S., therefore, offers training and assistance to law enforcement agencies nationwide on how to respond to the tragic loss of a member of the law enforcement profession.  C.O.P.S. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.  C.O.P.S. programs and services are funded by grants and donations.