Hero is a word that is bandied about without much thought to its application. Yesterday, May 15, was Peace Officers Memorial Day. On this day of national recognition, I think hero is a word we should use more often when discussing our peace officers.

Day in and day out, men and women across this country put on a uniform and head to work with the goal of protecting the safety and way of life for all of us. They work all hours and all days, often sacrificing attendance at family milestones that others take for granted – graduations, birthday parties and holidays – to do so. Some do not make it home after their shift. Fortunately, most officers continue to protect their communities – every day. It is their mission, their vocation and their passion that drives these officers. They are heroes.

The Call to Protect and Serve

Across this country, today and in every minute of every day, somewhere an officer responds to a call for help. Much has been made, and in some cases rightly so, of the poor decisions by some officers that have resulted in catastrophic outcomes. However, too little has been made of the daily actions of so many that service, support and keep our communities and their residents safe.

Each response by a police officer results in a distinct outcome. Each call is one of unknown need and consequence. Some calls are life-threatening, some are relatively minor, but each response by a police officer arises out of their personal commitment to protect, serve and keep safe. The officers who respond to these public calls for assistance are heroes.

Thank You

The honorable men and women who serve us should know they are appreciated and supported. National Peace Officers Memorial Day is a day of national remembrance signed into law by President Kennedy. If you haven’t already, thank an officer you know or encounter. Let them know how you feel and let them know they are supported.

I won’t tell the police officers I know and encounter that they are heroes – most would be too unassuming to agree. But I rest with the knowledge that my family, friends and community are safer because of the work of these heroes. For that, on this national day of honor, I say thank you to all law enforcement officers.