During Police Week, I am pondering some of life’s great questions such as the “why’s”? Why do we do what do we do? Or at least, why did we do what we did for those of us who have moved on to different positions. We are one of the last noble professions. We serve when others dare not. We are called to a higher calling, to a vocation. We are just like our brothers and sisters working in the fire and EMS services, and those serving in the United States Armed Services.
But we are not supermen or women; we are normal people who take on extraordinary duties and challenges. We face danger when others walk or run away. Why do so many of our brothers and sisters die too early?
I am faced with the reality that there is true evil in the world. How do we as law enforcement professionals fight evil? We “stand in the gap.” We do what others will not and would not, but dare I say, you are supermen and superwomen. So this article is a tribute to all of you brave men and women working in blue, brown, green or white.
As law enforcement officers we are seekers of truth. We protect, and serve, investigate, and respond to calls of help. We stand fast, when others flee. The truth is something that we look for, when we conduct a criminal investigation, a compliance check, or a traffic stop. We sit with victims and suspects alike and treat them with respect to seek the truth.
What is justice? Is justice what is handed down by a police officer when they arrest the suspect? Is there justice when the courts hand down a punishment for the arrest by the police officers? Or does justice occur when judgment happens on your death bed? Law enforcement officers work, live and even play hard. In reality, justice is knowing that you are keeping your community safe, that you are protecting your fellow brothers and sisters in blue.
In looking at the officers that have paid the ultimate sacrifice, what is justice for them? Justice is honoring them, acknowledging them, telling their stories (good and bad). Working hard to keep the streets safe, justice is what you do on a daily basis. You do justice whether that be on a lonely highway, county road, or busy metro area. We honor those that were killed in the line by doing our best, because they did their best, every time they put on their uniform.
We all know that superman’s catch phrase ended with the “American Way” but what does that mean? In looking into law enforcement, no other country polices in the same way we do. We all run into fires, into crumbling buildings, we stand and fight the good fight. Why? That is the way it has always been done, from Wyatt Earp, to Chattanooga Police Officer Lorin Johnston who was just honored at White House for being 2012’s “Top Cop,” this is what will always happen: officers stand and fight when others want to retreat. The American Way…so we must honor those who stood their ground and gone to a better place, They now police a beat where there is no crime and no need to worry because they are home.
I must tip my hat to all of you still working in law enforcement, you are true heroes. No one understands what it is like to be a law enforcement officer, the stress, the friendships that are developed, the tears that are shed, the mud that is fought in. Stay strong, keep your chin up, and honor those who have left too early, reflect, tell their stories, but do not forget to make some new stories. Hug your kids, wife, mother, father, brother, and sister. Stay safe and watch your six.