National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day is coming up on January 9. It is a good time to honor individuals who are in law enforcement and show your gratitude to the police officers who risk their lives for our safety.
Law enforcement is a challenging and thankless career, involving a considerable amount of stress. For instance, there are internal stressors from working in a law enforcement agency, as well as physical dangers and the risk of death when officers respond to emergencies and other traumatic events.
Generally, officers often only interact with people who are having a difficult time in their lives. They have to calm upset people or deal with violent or mentally ill perpetrators.
Officers and their families also have to cope with line-of-duty deaths. According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, 123 officer line-of-duty deaths occurred in 2023. However, that figure is down from 250 deaths in 2022 and 710 in 2021.
The History Behind National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day
According to National Day Calendar, National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day began in 2015. Several organizations decided to get together and thank police officers in all 50 states for the daily sacrifices they make. According to the National Day Calendar, some organizations that support National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day include:
- Concerns of Police Survivors
- FBI National Academy Associates
- Fraternal Order of Police
- International Association of Chiefs of Police
- Officer Down Memorial Page
- Law Enforcement United
- National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund
- International Conference of Police Chaplains
- National Troopers Coalition
How to Show Support for Law Enforcement on National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day
Most citizens never interact with the police, so many people do not know how to show their appreciation toward law enforcement. One way to show support for law enforcement throughout the year is to get involved in local, police-sponsored events. For instance, you can:
- Join a citizen patrol or citizen academy
- Participate in a neighborhood watch program
- Take part in other community policing initiatives
According to the Concerns of Police Survivors, there are additional ways that you can show support for your local police officers, including:
- Wearing blue clothing to display support for law enforcement
- Sending a card of support to a local law enforcement agency
- Share a positive story about law enforcement on social media
- Thanking a police officer if you see them in public
- Participating in the Blue Blood Drive
- Encouraging children to write letters to show support for police officers and others in law enforcement
I particularly support the last suggestion of writing letters to people in law enforcement. It has always been important to me that children grow up with a positive impression of law enforcement.
Sometimes, I’ve heard parents tell their children that the police cannot be trusted, or those parents threaten to turn their children over to the police if they misbehave in front of an officer. These sentiments are disheartening to hear and create the wrong impression for children about police officers.
Ideally, children should be encouraged to view the police as a helpful resource who they can contact if they ever need help or are in danger. Teaching children to respect law enforcement officers and making it clear that police officers can them are lessons that can be carried into adulthood. Ultimately, that can improve police-community relations.
Crime Rates Become Lower When Communities and Law Enforcement Create a Good Relationship
When community members and the police create a relationship based on trust and communication, the community functions better. Crime is lower when citizens and the police partner together.
During National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day on January 9, please consider showing your support for the police officers who work hard and undergo so much to help their communities.