Local and national law enforcement officers across various disciplines put their lives on the line to keep others safe. Police make many sacrifices, often putting their physical and mental well-being on the line to protect and serve.
The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund says there are more than 900,000 sworn law enforcement officers now serving in the United States. Since the first recorded police death in 1786, more than 21,000 law enforcement officers have been killed in the line of duty. A Statistics Canada study released in 2010 found that, with the exception of taxi drivers, police are the most likely Canadians to die on the job.
Unfortunately, hateful and violent crimes against police continue to make the news. In recent years, a California University student painted cops as pigs for an art project, while an Atlanta gym and a Brooklyn doughnut shop refused to serve police. As recently as January of 2020, anti-cop protesters vandalized New York City subways and elsewhere to bring attention to supposed over-policing.
Communities can turn the tides and help the world focus on all the ways individuals can support and thank law enforcement. Here are some ways to give back.
• Stand outside a local police department or courthouse and say “Thank you” or “I appreciate your work” to any law enforcement agents you come across.
• Wear blue in solidarity with police.
• Campaign for local commemoration of Tuesday Blue’s Day, which encourages people to wear blue on Tuesdays in support of police officers.
• Become a citizen volunteer to help supplement and support officers in many ways, such as clerical tasks, assisting with search and rescue, writing parking citations, and providing additional patrol and visibility to neighborhoods.
• Serve on a citizen advisory board to help implement effective crime reduction strategies, advises the International Association of Chiefs of Police.
• Assemble gift baskets (with school children, if desired) and deliver them to your local police department. Items to include are gift cards to nearby coffee shops, gyms, restaurants, and more.
• Local businesses can be supportive of law enforcement by offering a daily discount with proof of ID or setting aside a day of the week for a police discount.
Police can use community support and gratitude to help them feel appreciated as they work one of the toughest jobs around.