Thank a Law Enforcement Officer Today

Published 10:07 am Wednesday, January 26, 2022

In Mario Puzo’s all-time bestseller, The Godfather, lawyer and counselor to the Mafia Family, Tom Hagan, says to Sonny Corleone, “No one has ever gunned down a New York police captain and gotten away with it. The heat in this town would be unbearable…”

I understand that the book is fiction, but it is all too real for our law enforcement officers these days. From New York City to Los Angeles and all cities and towns in between, even little towns in South Georgia like Ochlocknee, the men and women who put on those blue uniforms daily are, literally, just one traffic stop away from losing their lives.

In these first few weeks of 2022, five highly publicized murders of police officers have been highlighted on our newscasts and there are probably more that have passed without notice. There are some disturbing trends that have accompanied these horrific crimes.

First of all, in too many cases of violent crimes, not just these law enforcement officers, the perpetrator has been released from jail with little or no bail. This has been done in the name of reform. In other words, there is a line of thinking that we shouldn’t be too hard on the criminal who has, unfortunately, been dealt a difficult hand in life.

There is a time for compassion and everyone deserves a second chance we sometimes rationalize. True, everybody makes mistakes, but after years of criminal activity, the pattern is clear and our responses should be just as clear. “If you are going to do the crime, be prepared to do the time.”

Another trend is the disrespect that is aimed at the police. There probably has always been a little bit of that attitude, but it has worsened greatly in these past years when the movement to defund the police has gained so much traction.

All my life I have been taught to respect the law enforcement officers who do their job. When stopped for an infraction, I listened and reacted accordingly. There have been times when I was speeding and have been ticketed. Remember, I said everyone makes mistakes!

It was “Yes sir and no sir.” It’s our responsibility, if we drive, to have a valid license and insurance. Even those may expire without our knowing. If that happened, it’s a respectful and honest, “No sir, I didn’t realize that it had expired.”

Can there be the instance of a law enforcement officer being disrespectful or unfair? Of course, but, in my opinion, there is a way to handle that situation without arguing with the officer in the public arena. Respect for the badge is the bottom line for me.

As I think about the five families who are grieving today because their loved one was killed in the line of duty, I ask the question “Why would anyone want to be in that profession?” I also ask what would become of a society that did not have a police or sheriff’s department.

I am thankful for those who want to be in the profession of law enforcement. If ever there was a “calling” to a profession, there is the calling to that one. When they do their jobs right, no one says anything. When they make a mistake, everyone knows it. When they go to work, these days, they don’t know who or what they may encounter.

I know of no other business, except the soldier, where decisions have to be made in a split second and their decision would be so consequential. It truly is a dangerous business. Thank a law enforcement officer today. There may not be a tomorrow!