On Law Enforcement Appreciation Day and every day, doff your cap to our cops

WNLP column by Mike Kellems

Today, Jan. 9, 2019, is National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day. This day is an opportunity for the citizens of our communities to express their appreciation and recognize the sacrifices made by our police officers. While we have a strong tradition of recognizing the fallen police officers each May, in 2015 an addition was made to recognize Jan. 9 as a day to honor the more than 900,000 men and women who protect communities across this great nation.

Mike Kellems

Most citizens would be surprised to learn that hundreds of law enforcement officers and support staff work in LaPorte County. While the larger departments such as LaPorte, Michigan City and the Sheriff’s Department are often the focal points, several smaller departments with equally dedicated police officers serve as well, including Westville, Trail Creek, Long Beach, Pottawattomie Park, Purdue Northwest, Kingsbury, and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. Yet another often overlooked partner with a spoke in the criminal justice wheel in our county are the men and women of the Indiana Department of Correction. With the Indiana State Prison, Westville Correctional Center and the Summit Farm Boot Camp, correctional officers number in the hundreds.

Police officers are regular people who have an extraordinarily unique job. They work around the clock every day of the week and every week in the year. While the phrase “neither rain nor snow nor sleet nor the dark of night will keep us from our appointed rounds” has become the motto of the U.S. Postal Service, police officers work holidays and in blizzards and in any other condition you can conjure up.

Police officers deliver babies and bad news. They respond to crashes and family disturbances and disputes, the latter including odd arguments such as where the grass clippings land when the neighbor mows the yard. Officers often miss family birthdays and the kids’ sporting events and school plays.

Simply because they wear a badge, police all too often become a target. 148 police officers died in the line of duty in the United States in 2018. Eight days into 2019, two policemen have already paid the ultimate sacrifice. Disturbingly, in 2018, 160 police officers committed suicide, marking the first time suicide has outnumbered being killed in the line of duty.  

If you’re inclined, when you see a police officer, smile, wave or pass along a heartfelt “thank you for your service.” I can guarantee you this: You’ll make their day just a little bit brighter. 


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