As a member of the Sheriff’s Advisory Committee for several years, and being made an honorary deputy, I was asked to provide comments for the annual law enforcement appreciation dinner. Currently, with all the ugly and erroneous current accusations hurled against this much-needed and underappreciated profession, my thoughts turn once again to these men and women who are essential in this time of chaos and questioning concerning our law enforcement structure. A few morally objectionable officers are not an all-inclusive example of this urgently needed fraternity of society’s public safety.
Historically, there have always been those chosen to be “keepers of the peace,” or more rightly, “peace officers.” Aware of the demands placed upon them, they pledge to strive for excellence in their profession nevertheless. With the day-by-day performance of their duty, they struggle to maintain or regain rookie excitement and anticipation. They are heroes all, simply awaiting their turn to display that special and unexplainable attribute of instant courage.
They are much like you and me, save for that distinguished pledge of service to the community safety. These officers of peace become the buffer that protects us from enemies of our well-being. It is impossible to adequately and properly express our gratitude for and to them. But when the shift is long and the perpetrators foul, dangerous, and aggressive, may each officer be somehow aware of the appreciation that thousands share toward them. May they be often reminded of the special place that they hold in our respect and prayers.
Their contribution to the way of life that we cherish as Americans is without equal. Their dedication allows us to attend church, school, the election booth, and to openly express opinions without fear of harassment or imprisonment. Since their vigilance and protection never slumber, we may rest easy on our pillows of their expected proficiency. They resolutely and routinely place our welfare before their own.
A prayer that I wrote several years ago for our men and women of law enforcement is still heartfelt and appropriate. It is titled, A Law Officer’s Prayer:
“Lord, be with me as I begin my shift. I have no idea into what situation I will be placed. I am mentally and physically prepared, but my emotions can betray me if your assistance is not available. Please give me courage in the face of danger, restraint in both verbal and physical abuse, character when tempted to deviate from prescribed principle, instant wisdom when there is not time to evaluate or think, compassion in dealing with another’s trauma, and empathy in all my performance of duty.
“I must leave my family behind and alone as I perform my public service. I ask you to protect them from harm and reassure them in their moments of anxiety. Help me to leave my law enforcement face and personality at my position of employment. May I never bring my vocational stress and experiences home to my family.
Please periodically allow me to glimpse my importance to society. Remind me daily of my humanity and my dependence upon you, my family, and my friends. As each shift ends, may you cause me to realize my personal contribution to my community and to humanity. Thank you for your assistance and daily companionship. Amen.”