GUEST COMMENTARY: Honor police officers' sacrifices on your behalf

2014-05-13T00:00:00Z GUEST COMMENTARY: Honor police officers' sacrifices on your behalfBy Keith Hefner nwitimes.com
May 13, 2014 12:00 am  • 

National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Day is Thursday.

20,267 police officers have died in the line of duty in America since the first officer was killed in the line of duty in 1791. Of those, 387 officers have been from Indiana.

A total of 6,805 police officers have died in the line of duty since I first took an oath as a Dyer police officer in 1975. That is more people than the population of the community I now serve. I can’t help but be reminded of the saying, “There, but for the grace of God, go I."

Police officers from federal, state, county, city and town agencies, men and women of all ages from big cities and small towns alike, put their lives on the line every day when they pin their badge on to protect us. Violence and death do not care if you are a man or woman. They don’t care what day it is, whether you are young or old, whether you have a family at home or that you are there simply to help.

Over the years, law enforcement has developed better safety equipment, vastly improved training and enhanced our communications, yet unfortunately over the same period of time, society in general has become more violent and disrespectful to their fellow man.

I ask you to please honor those officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their communities by flying your flag at half staff on Thursday.

Let me remind you of a saying engraved on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington D.C that states, “It is not How These Officers Died that made them Heroes, It is How They Lived."

I also ask you to acknowledge the sacrifices made by the officers who protect you every day. Keep in mind that they are truly our modern day warriors.

Much like the sheepdogs that would die before they would allow the wolf to attack their flock, these warriors would lay down their lives for people who they don’t even know, but they are sworn to protect.

Keith A. Hefner, a former Lake County and Dyer police officer, is chief of the Garrett (Ind.) Police Department. The opinions are the writer's.

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