The past Tuesday was L.E.A.D. day. What a great day it was. I was fortunate to meet some great people, all of whom were sharing in the experience of the day, celebrating its’ significance and taking time out of their lives to thank those men and women around them on this day of national appreciation.
What was that? You weren’t aware that January 9th was signified as National L.E.A.D. day? You ask what L.E.A.D. stands for?
National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day, of course. You didn’t miss it did you?
Well the folks at Hi-Vee Grocery Stores didn’t. As a matter of fact, I was at the Olathe Police Department on Tuesday and Hi-Vee rolled out the goodies in a show of their support and appreciation and for their local officers.
I spoke to one Hi-Vee organizer who said they were so proud to be able to show their appreciation that they brought coffee and donuts for every officer. Beyond that, Hi-Vee stores also offered free coffee and donuts to all police officers all day long.
What a great gesture, even if it was a total cliché.
I, for one, love the cliché just as much as I love donuts. I learned that while “on the job” as a young officer in Los Angeles. I love donuts so much that I was once detained and dang near arrested in a foreign country for eating a donut in public – true story, but I’ll spare you the details.
Back to the point – I could not think of a better token of appreciation for the selfish job our brave men and women in blue do on a daily basis. I salute Hi-Vee Corporation for taking the L.E.A.D. – pun intended – and showing their support for their local police officers at the Olathe Police Department.
But what is National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day, anyways? According to the Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S) organization, January 9th is a day to wear blue as a symbol of support, tie a blue ribbon on your car, change your profile picture on your social media page and, most importantly, simply thank a police officer for his or her service and sacrifice to your community.
I don’t know about any of you but I make it a habit to go out of my way to thank officers each and every chance I can. I’ll break away from my family and make a B-line for the KCK police officers patrolling the grounds at Legends and personally thank them. When I finish speaking with those heroes, I always sign off with a blessing of safety for them.
As many of you know, it is extremely dangerous to be a police officer these days.
Sorrowfully, 2016 was one of the deadliest years for police officers with a total of 135 officers having been killed in the line of duty. The statistics are not tallied for 2017 yet but, as of this past summer, the number of deadly assaults on police officers was already up 20% over the same timeframe in 2016.
Furthermore, according to the 2016 edition of the Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted (LEOKA) produced by the FBI, there were a total of 57,180 assaults on police officers in 2016. That equates to roughly one assault for every 10 officers in this country.
Disgusting statistics, if you ask me.
The most worrisome aspect of those deadly statistics is the fact that ambush style assaults on officers is on the rise. You may recall that on the last day of the year in 2017, New Year’s Eve, five Sheriff Deputies from the Douglas County Colorado Sheriff’s Office were ambushed while responding to a disturbance call at an apartment complex. The insane assault claimed the life of one Deputy and injured the other four.
Now, I’ve responded to many disturbance calls as a police officer – hundreds if not over a thousand. I have also been ambushed with automatic gunfire in the streets of South Central L.A. but I can count those occasions on one hand. Today, the likelihood of being ambushed while responding to the most routine and innocuous calls for service is on the rise and a very serious fact that officers have to pay close attention to each and every minute of their shifts.
And, we get upset when a police officer is overly cautious when he approaches our driver’s door window when we get pulled over for our actions, not his – seriously!
I would say, walk a mile – 10 feet maybe – in their shoes, to use another cliché, but that’s ridiculous because who would do that now-a-days?
Not too many, I think.
So, instead, take the L.E.A.D. on January 9th each year – frankly every day for that matter – and go out of your way to thank a law enforcement officer for the enormous sacrifices they make for all of us – regardless of who we might be. God bless them all.
Viper One Six – Out