Does the US need Law Enforcement Appreciation Day?

January 9, 2015 marks the inaugural Law Enforcement Appreciation Day. Why do we need it now more than ever?

Carlo Allegri
The inaugural Law Enforcement Appreciation Day occurs on January 9, 2015. Police officers arrive in the rain for slain New York Police Department officer Wenjian Liu's wake in the Brooklyn borough of New York January 3, 2015, pictured. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

Every day, 780,000 police officers don their blue uniforms and badges to serve and protect the people in the United States. Do we really appreciate the significance of this action?

Dozens of groups, including the Concerns of Police Survivors (COPS), the FBI National Academy Associates, United States Air Force Security Forces, and Wives Behind the Badge have joined together to proclaim January 9, 2015 the inaugural Law Enforcement Appreciation Day (LEAD) in honor of the police officers who serve the country. With recent attacks on police, as well as public discomfort with controversial police action after the murder of two New York City officers, LEAD comes at a difficult time.

In light of recent negativity directed toward law enforcement nationally, there is a need to show law enforcement officers that our citizens recognize the difficult and sometimes impossible career they have chosen, in public service to us all,” members of COPS said in a statement.

On average, between 105 and 203 officers die in the line of duty each year. In addition, about 14,000 officers are injured, 50,000 officers are assaulted, and over 300 officers commit suicide annually due to high expectations and continuous stress. Officers sacrifice much in the line of duty, taking a toll unseen by the public.

“It’s the job of all police officers to rush into danger to help those in need, regardless of personal risk, and they fully accept that risk every day,” said Les Neri, president of the Pennsylvania FOP Lodge, in an article.

Many organizations throughout the country are supporting LEAD with events and rallies. Jennifer Allen, an officer’s wife and organizer of Shielded Hearts, expressed the difficulties faced not just by officers, but also by their families.

“We worry a little bit more . . . are they going to come home safe? It’s about us as a community getting together, supporting each other, supporting our law enforcement, and just saying thank you,” Ms. Allen said in an interview with FOX 2 News.  

Allen said there are many ways to support law enforcement officers, big and small. She said Shielded Hearts plans to deliver treats and cards, and to support officers via social media. In other areas of the country, events are being organized to celebrate LEAD. Local organizations of Abilene, Texas will surround the Law Enforcement Center with signs of support and appreciation. In New Jersey, supporters will throw a LEAD rally at a local performing arts center to publicly show recognition to their local officers. Across the nation, people are encouraged to wear blue as a sign of solidarity and respect for the country’s law enforcement.

As demonstrators conduct protests against law enforcement across the country, LEAD reminds people to appreciate the hard work and dedication exhibited by officers daily. Thousands of individuals place themselves in dangerous situations for the safety of those around them, and it is important to recognize this service.

“There is support for law enforcement too, and we’re happy to do it,” said Allen. “These are people, our community heroes, and I’d love to see people support them.”

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