Karla's Kolumn: Thank an officer today
January 9, 2020
Today is National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day.
According to national calendar website, in 2015, several law enforcement organizations and support organizations came together to create National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day. The day is intended to encourage people to thank officers across the country for all the daily sacrifices they make for their communities.
As we were putting together our National L.E.A.D. sponsorship pages with many local businesses thanking our law enforcement agencies and officers for their service, I began thinking of my interactions with law enforcement.
In working as a journalist for 30 years now I have worked with many law enforcement agencies and for the most part they have been positive, as have my personal interactions (which have not been that many).
Some of the more memorable moments include:
•One of the my first contacts with law enforcement was here in Worland. My boyfriend and I, along with his sister and her boyfriend had come over to go rollerskating and then the car died. So a nice officer gave us a ride to the police station so we could call their parents to come and get us.
•My first year in college I had a nice young officer, whom my dorm mates and I thought was very nice looking, explain to me about what the appropriate response is when the light turns yellow. (Just FYI you do not accelerate but you can proceed if you have already begun driving through the intersection.)
•Then, at my first reporting job after college, in Lovell, I remember how the community rallied around one officer who was the first responder when a 2-year-old girl was mauled by a neighbor's dog. The officer ended up taking a break from law enforcement.
Officers often times have to respond to horrific events such as that incident. That incident affected the entire community and one can only imagine what that officer went through since he was first on the scene. I read the report and it seemed gruesome.
We don't always consider the things they have to go through. When they are responding to a call they never know what they will see or what they will have to do.
Officers also never know exactly what kind of situation they will be walking into when they respond to a call. They do not know what type of danger they may face but they respond because it is their job.
•One Basin officer ran into that situation about two years before I moved. He responded to a call about a man waving a firearm around the neighborhood. The man had returned to his home and when the officer approached the residence, the subject came out and threatened the officer. He was asked to drop the firearm but instead made a threatening move to raise the firearm toward the officer and the officer shot and killed the subject.
I spoke to neighbors, who would only speak to me off the record, but they were relieved when the officer responded and they realized the officer had no choice in the shooting. They also felt safer thanks to the officer's actions.
Today is a day to thank those officers for doing their job, for making sure no one is above the law whether a minor speeding ticket, or threats with a deadly weapon; for making sure we are safe in our own homes.
The Concerns for Police Survivors group states on their website, we as citizens need to "recognize the difficult and sometimes impossible career they have chosen, in public service to us all."
So if you see a law enforcement officer today, thank them for their service.