I love uniforms.
Those pressed creases and shiny metal pins that shine in the sunlight. The mixed scent of leather and sweat. The creak of freshly polished shoes and the swish of the gunbelt as they head for duty. These senses bring comfort.
But those shiny pins represent a name, an oath, a determination. And that leather represents protection and that sweat reminds me there is a sacrifice. And those shoes carry that officer into some dark places. To protect you and me.
As May is here and departments across the nation are honoring those who’ve offered the ultimate sacrifice, I, too, want to pay tribute to not only those who have given all, but also to those who have sworn to protect, sworn to serve, and may still face the loss of their lives.
A simple thank you doesn’t seem enough…
They’re more than uniforms:
“To be a cop is to be many different occupations all at once. He/she has to be an athlete, a soldier, a scientist, a researcher, a paramedic, a NASCAR driver, a gun expert and marksman, a counselor, a chemist, a diplomat, a wrestler, a runner, a mechanic, a writer, and a lawyer. He must have a mother’s intuition, the nose of a bloodhound, the patience of a farmer, the compassion of Mother Teresa, and the tenacity of a 2-year-old. He must make peace out of chaos, comfort the anguished, discern criminal behavior from stupidity, and make split second decisions that may have life-altering consequences. He’s expected to be polite when verbally abused, keep people safe in dangerous situations, respect those who disrespect him, and understand the intentions of those who are misbehaving. He must constantly confront evil, and remain unsullied. He must be quick to respond, though sometimes the calls stack up. He must be able to speak police shorthand on radios that may be difficult to hear, especially when in heavy or fast-moving traffic. He is constantly second guessed on his actions, criticized for his demeanor, mocked for his diet and feared for his authority. He’s a threat, a target, a punisher, yet is a rescuer, a protector, and in some cases, a savior.
“Given these considerations, society’s expectations on our law enforcement are just short of impossible. But day to day, they report for duty, not knowing what the shift will offer. They put on their badges and try to do the best they can to fulfill the expectations of those they serve.” A CHiP on my Shoulder, pp. 76-77
Men and women of law enforcement, for all you are, we salute you.
For all you do, we respect you.
And for your willingness to serve and sacrifice, we thank you.