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Police Officer's Memorial Day

Updated on September 7, 2014

Why We Should Remember Police Officer's Memorial Day

Why should we remember Police Officer's Memorial Day?

This special day falls every May 15th, year after year. And we need to remember. Police officer's risk their lives daily. This is a statement that we have seen or heard over and over. Many people take this statement lightly and probably don't give it much thought. There may even be those who feel this is an over-exaggerated description of their duties. Really, it is not.

How do I know? I worked as a 9-1-1 dispatcher for 8 years in a busy city. Our officers were going from call to call every day. On the weekends and at night, they would go without a break more often than not. My father was a retired officer who loved his job and did it well. Even as a child, I remember worrying about him. And I remember one time he came home and began crying when he told us about a child abuse case he had handled that day.

Some calls were dangerous. Some were not. Most calls had the element of the unknown. Officers never really know what they are going to find on the other end of a call for help. They never know when they will find themselves in a fight for their own life. Many times, I saw what should have been a routine call turn into a deadly situation in a matter of seconds. From the other end of the radio, of course.

So why this lens? Because when an officer does something great it does not make the news. When an officer makes a mistake, it does. The good officers who truly care and do this job for the right reasons deserve GREAT recognition when they die in the line of duty.

photo Thinkstock
photo Thinkstock

Just a Little Background

Officers have many perks. They are respected by the general population. They have a job that they can be proud of. The good ones command respect just by walking into a room.

But officers also have it bad. More than once when I would go on a break with an officer, he or she was stopped by a person with a question. Or a person with a non-emergency who expected him or her to drop their meal, end their break and help them. When the officers would politely explain that they were on a break and offer the phone number to call to have another officer respond, I never once saw a citizen respond in an understanding manner. Every single time the citizen got angry. Officers need a break, too. They work 10 hour shifts. Would you be OK if your boss demanded that you skip your break every day? Officers are people, too. I, personally, would rather have an officer respond to my call for help knowing he had been allowed to take a break and relax during his shift. Even for just 30 minutes. Unfortunately, because officers go on breaks in their uniforms, people expect them to be on duty.

Just by the nature of their job, officers encounter irate people time after time. This is not anyone's fault. I know from my experience taking 9-1-1 calls, people don't call the police to tell them that everything is fine. Obviously, they call when things are going bad. And a call of thanks is so rare we would talk about it for months after receiving one.

There is something special inside the good officers that makes them WANT to go to the dangerous calls for help. They would usually ask to go assist if we did not assign them to the call. They truly do want to go help. This is why this picked this profession. They want to to be there! They feel this way even though they know it could end in a tragic way. I run from danger, they run to it. This is something special.

Officers are expected to remain calm when most other people would not. They work to handle situations knowing that if they make the smallest mistake, they will be judged harshly by the public and their peers. Yes, officers expect the best of each other.

Now, I know there are bad cops. There are bad apples in every bunch. But the majority of officers are good men and women who truly want to do what is best. I don't just believe this, I know it. You will not find a better bunch of men and women as a general group.

There is much more I can say, but I hope you get the idea. Officers have family that waits for them to come home. Officers face your fears head on...for you. Officers are human beings.

God's Promises Sympathy Gourmet Food Gift Basket for the Grieving
God's Promises Sympathy Gourmet Food Gift Basket for the Grieving

A great gift to show appreciation and express sympathy at the same time.

photo Thinkstock
photo Thinkstock

What Can I Do to Remember Police Officer's Memorial Day?

Yes, there are things you can do to show that you do value your communities' officers.

Attend any local events to honor officers.

Have your child draw a thank you card and send it or bring it to the police department. Ask for the commander or the officer in charge and hand it to them. These cards, though rare, do make their way onto the break room walls or they are passed around. They are not a waste of time.

Send flowers to your local police department on that day and attach a note stating that you appreciate the officers who are still here and those that have given their lives. What a great surprise this will be

As many officers do not get a break, especially on weekend nights, send three or four pizzas over (pre-paid, including the tip) before the night shift starts. This may be an officer's only meal that night. Although not specifically for fallen officers, it honors those that are still here. You can ask the pizza company to include a note.

Remind your children about the fact that there are officers who have given their lives to help someone they did not even know. And they did so willingly.

Police Officer's Memorial Gifts

In Memory of a True Hero, Police Officer Memorial Photo Frame
In Memory of a True Hero, Police Officer Memorial Photo Frame

Were you close to a special officer who gave their life for another? This frame is perfect! Keep his or her image out, where he or she can be remembered every day.

photo Thinkstock
photo Thinkstock

When the Worst of the Worst Happens

Unfortunately, not all officers make it home to their family at the end of a shift. I also experienced this.

I am not going to go into too much detail as I don't feel it is my right to tell these officer's stories without their families' consent.

In one situation, our 9-1-1 consoles all lit up at the same time in the dispatch center. We knew something big was happening. We went from a routine day to having people begging for their lives (and being shot) on the phone with us. A man had decided to exact revenge on an agency that he felt had wronged him and decided to go in and shoot anyone and everyone. Every one of our officers responded. Every single officer. Every single detective. The man left his first destination and was on his way to a second when he shot and killed one of our officers. This was absolutely devastating. It hurt all of us as though a member of our close family had been killed. When you work many, many hours together and experience the same things, you become very close. Police departments are families. This officer had a wife and two small children.

Another officer that had a wife and very small children was killed in an incident that involved friendly fire. This tore a hole in everyone's heart. Our hearts were breaking for two members of our family. The one we had lost and the one who is a great man who was on the other end of the incident.

These are just two incidents that stand out to me. There were many other close calls, shots fired and police officers yelling for help as they were in the fight LITERALLY for their life.

Police officers who die in the line of duty deserve this day. So do their families.

Have you ever?

Most police departments and/or cities have a Police Officers' Memorial event. It will make many of the attending officers happy to see the public there to honor their fallen brothers and sisters. Everyone should attend at least once. Be sure to bring the kids!

Have You Ever Been to a Police Officers' Memorial Day Event?

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Please share. (This is not the place for bad cop comments)

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    • gold3 profile image

      gold3 3 years ago

      Thanks to all of you who have visited. I know there are a few bad apples in any bunch. But that seems to be all that the media sees. Most officers are such wonderful people who do so much for strangers even after a call. It is such a difficult and scary job.

    • Steph Tietjen profile image

      Stephanie Tietjen 5 years ago from Albuquerque, New Mexico

      It is important to appreciate and honor police officers. I am in gratitude for their help when I faced a difficult situation.

    • profile image

      SteveKaye 5 years ago

      Police have a very difficult job, and they deserve our support. Thank you for publishing this lens. It makes an important statement.

    • KateHonebrink profile image

      KateHonebrink 5 years ago

      This is a wonderful, heartfelt article which dealt with a topic meriting all the dignity and respect possible. My sincere congratulations on being featured on the May Silly (or in your case, not-silly-at-all) Celebrations.

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image

      Wednesday-Elf 5 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      My uncle was a state patrolman and my son a police officer, so I can relate to the story you told here. I am featuring it on my lens "National Police Week".

      Through my son, I have visited the 9-1-1 center locally and truly appreciate the job a dispatcher does. Thank you for your contribution.

    • designsbyharriet profile image

      Harriet 5 years ago from Indiana

      Most of the holidays are silly, but this one is very serious. Lest they not be forgotten, we celebrate their sacrifice.

    • lclchors profile image

      lclchors 5 years ago

      simply shake their hands