These are challenging times for police officers throughout America.
As they dedicate themselves to protect and serve communities in their honorable profession, the fact is they are in the trenches as countercultural to our culture of violence.
Police officers are called to be ethical protectors, safeguarding law-abiding citizens from those who have contempt for the law. Unfortunately, there are many innocent people who are vulnerable and need law enforcement to protect them from rampant criminal activities.
Aside from crime, citizens are also often endangered by natural and man-made dangers as well. There are countless possibilities including storms, fires, explosions, floods, and accidents.
America’s police officers are modern day sentinels, dedicated to prevent, prepare, respond, and assist with recovery through countless incidents and tragedies.
Our nation must pause and understand the criticality of police officers in society. The police profession is honorable and those who polish their shields through ethical acts of bravery, character, and leadership are worthy of admiration.
Officers who have offered the ultimate through an end-of-watch fatality are particularly deserving of recognition and appreciation.
Alarming Officer Fatality Increase
According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund the number of nationwide fatalities year-to-date has increased 15 percent as of Oct. 21, 2014 versus Oct. 21, 2013.
Ninety-two police officers have already lost their lives while on duty this year, compared to 80 officers at the same time last year.
Firearm-related fatalities have increased by an alarming 56 percent this year with 39 deaths compared to 25 deaths at this time last year.
California, Texas, and New York have the highest number of officer deaths with 10, 8, and 6 respectively in 2014.
Police Officer Eddie Johnson Jr. of the Alton, Mo., Police Department: killed in a single-vehicle crash while on duty on Oct. 20. Officer Johnson is the first law enforcement fatality for Missouri in 2014.
Deputy Sheriff Michael Naylor of the Midland County Sheriff’s Office, Texas: shot and killed on Oct. 9 while serving a warrant.
Police Officer Jordan Corder of the Covina, Calif., Police Department: killed on Sept. 30 in a motorcycle crash while pursuing a subject.
Trooper David Kedra of the Pennsylvania State Police: accidentally shot and killed on Sept. 30 while participating in a training exercise.
Police Officer Michael Williams of the NYPD: killed on Sept. 21 in an automobile crash while on duty.
Senior Deputy Jessica Holles of the Travis County, Texas, Sheriff’s Office: killed on Sept. 19 when her patrol car was swept away by floodwaters.
Officer Reinaldo Arocha, Jr. of the Newark, N.J., Police Department: suffered a heart attack and died on duty on Sept. 16.
Deputy Sheriff Michael Norris of the Monroe County, Ga., Sheriff’s Office: died after being shot while responding to a suicidal man on Sept. 14.
Border Patrol Agent Tyler Robledo of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection: killed on Sept. 12 in an automobile accident.
Police Cpl. Bryon Dickson of the Pennsylvania State Police: shot and killed in an ambush while at the police barracks on Sept. 12.
Today, as in generations past, courageous police officers are making great sacrifices to serve and protect America’s communities. It is important for those who benefit from the valor of law enforcement personnel to always remember and appreciate their dedication to our nation.
The sacrifices of police officers are intimately shared by their loved ones and especially their children. It is critical to be mindful of their challenges and appreciate police officers and their families in every way possible.
The legacy of America demands honor for those who serve and protect our communities through moral leadership, persevering vigilance, and generous collaboration.
Police officers are critical to safeguarding America and their ethics, character, and leadership is the heart of reawakening the nation.
Vincent J. Bove, CPP, is a national speaker and author on issues critical to America. Bove is a recipient of the FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award for combating crime and violence and is a former confidant of the New York Yankees. His newest book is “Listen To Their Cries.” For more information, see www.vincentbove.com