Thirty-two years ago I embarked on a career in law enforcement. Since that day, I have worked for four different agencies in a multitude of different capacities. I have even retired once. As a young recruit officer, I never thought I would still be doing the same work 32 years later. It is a passion. For the good ones, it is a calling.
A career in law enforcement is not an easy one. Typically, there are long shifts, odd working hours and an expectation to be at work regardless of your personal situation. It has to be that way … we are expected to keep order and peace in the community.
May 11 through May 17, 2014 is National Peace Officers Appreciation Week with May 15, 2014 being designated by Congress as National Peace Officer’s Memorial Day. This week we will honor the memories of the men and women who paid the ultimate price for their respective communities. It is a time of remembrance, but it is also a time for us to thank the men and women who put themselves in harm’s way daily, so that we can feel safe in our homes and on our streets. It is a thankless job sometimes, but officers all across this country still perform their duties with courage, bravery, humility and honor on a continuing basis to provide us with a feeling of security. They do so knowing that they may be faced with a life and/or death situation at any time in their career.
Last year, we lost 105 officers nationwide in the line of duty serving their communities. In Bartow, we have been very fortunate in that we have only lost two officers in our history, but the realization exists that it could happen. I appreciate the men and women of the Bartow Police Department for the work they do, the dedication they show, and the courage they possess to accomplish our goals and objectives. If you get the chance this week, take the time to thank an officer for their service to the community; what they do is for all of us.
Joe Hall is the Police Chief of the Bartow Police Department.