As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, this week is National Police Week. In light of the recent Pierce County Peace Officers Memorial and recent other news reports of the impact of the job on officers, I wanted once again to thank our officers for the work they do and let them know they are appreciated.
As a veteran, I recognize and truly value the service of our soldiers throughout the world, and Police Week is an opportunity for all of us to similarly reflect on and honor those who go out each day and face unknown hazards to keep us safe here at home. Just like our soldiers, the impacts of the job are many and the sacrifices to them and their families are often great. It’s a job that many people try to armchair quarterback, but most will never truly understand. Our officers see people at their worst, often having to make life or death decisions in a split second, and living with the consequences for a lifetime. Like soldiers, our officers must face personal danger, worry of protecting others, witnessing unspeakably horrible things human beings can do to themselves and others, and the constant risk of paying the ultimate price. In this media-conscious world, they also know that they are expected to bring a Nordstrom-level of customer service to interactions with citizens and the diplomacy of the State Department to talk with people in conflict. It’s not an easy job for anyone.
Sometimes, I worry that in Sumner, we underestimate our officers, not because of the work they do personally but because of how we perceive our town. Most of us get to see a quiet, peaceful community. Because of our police officers’ professionalism and responsiveness, we don’t see the other side that they deal with daily: drug abuse, domestic violence, assault, suicide, neglect and even homicide. Thus, we don’t think to give them credit or appreciation for handling such difficult situations, often without us even knowing.
I know I already asked you to thank our officers if you see them this week, and that’s still great advice. In addition, please try to keep in mind the difficult job they have to do. The next time you find yourself asking “Why don’t they…” maybe start to wonder “Why DO they do this every day” and then be thankful that they do. Prayers and thoughts for the safety and well-being of all our officers and law-enforcement professionals this week and throughout the year.
Mayor Dave Enslow