National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day
Today is National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day in the United States and is a tribute to the men and women across America who have made the sworn commitment to protect and serve our communities as law enforcement officers, sometimes at all costs. According to Wikipedia, there are over 900,000 officers in the United States.
Join me in honoring and appreciating those who protect and serve us, our communities, and our nation.
In my younger years, I worked as a paramedic, paramedic instructor, and as an emergency services critical incident stress management volunteer for over 20 years. While completing my Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology, I wrote a book on stress and critical incidents for emergency services workers, Stress Management for the Emergency Care Provider.
As a paramedic, I had the opportunity to work with law enforcement in the heat of action in places and situations not many get to witness. When I left active 911 work and became an educator, I led one of the first critical incident stress management teams in the the state of Texas. Part of the services we offered was responding to critical incidents to help mitigate the psychological aftermath of some of the most horrid tragedies and disasters that comes with emergency services work.
To protect and serve.
However, I've never seen anything like what happened two years ago on January 6, 2021 when law enforcement was called on to protect, defend, and serve our Congress and our great nation.
In a moving ceremony on the second anniversary of the January 6th insurrection this past Friday, President Biden awarded 14 individuals with the Presidential Citizens Medal which is among the nation’s highest civilian honors. Established by executive order on November 13, 1969 by President Richard Nixon, the Presidential Citizens Medal recognizes a US citizen "who has performed exemplary deeds or services for his or her country or fellow citizens."
The majority of the honorees receiving the medal were eight law enforcement officers, three of them posthumously:
As a citizen of this great nation, I want to express my appreciation for these eight law enforcement officers and so many others who defended the capitol two years ago. You can read more about each of them in a well-done piece by NPR's Elena Moore here: Biden honors police officers and election workers 2 years after the Capitol attack
I also want to express my deep appreciation for the Pearland Police Department where I live. My wife and I have had to call on them several times since living here, most recently for an attempted break-in the night the Astros won the World Series. Every time my family and I have needed them, they have responded quickly and acted with such high levels of professionalism and empathy. They truly embody their mission statement.
Day to day law enforcement work is not like TV shows and movies.
While it really depends on what type of law enforcement role a person is in and where they work, the day to day work and duties of most "beat cops" is not like TV or movies. In fact, according to the Pew Research Center, only about a quarter (27%) of all officers ever even fire their service weapon in the line of duty.
That doesn't mean that police work is not dangerous and demanding and can come at great cost and sacrifice. It most definitely is. So, let's honor and thank our law enforcement men and women for their service.
The Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S) website offers the following suggestions on how to celebrate Law Enforcement Appreciation Day:
Most importantly, if you see a police officer, thank a police officer.
Have an amazing journey today!
Alan Mikolaj is a coach and leadership development consultant with 15+ years of experience. He is passionate about helping leaders transform their leadership, their teams, and their organizations. Impactful, professional approach driven by a passion for meaning and purpose, a growth mindset, and a commitment to excellence and service in order to drive change and results.
Alan maintains the ethics and standards of behavior established by the International Coaching Federation (ICF), including the standards regarding confidentiality. You can learn more about them on the ICF website.
Alan Mikolaj is a a professional, experienced, positive, and passionate speaker, leadership and organizational development consultant, change agent, author, and coach. He holds his Master of Arts degree in Clinical Psychology from Sam Houston State University. He is a certified graduate coach from Coaching Out of the Box and holds his ACC and membership with the International Coaching Federation (ICF).
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