Unlike many other countries, the United States does not have a national police force. Our states are left to organize and create their own police forces, a budget that is mostly fed by their state budgets. According to a report on HSBC.com, “Around the country there are around 500,000 police officers and a total of 40,000 separate police forces, over half of which are simply one or two-man sheriffs’ offices in small towns.” When you really think about it, the task of protecting a population of 300,000,000 people with such a fraction of police offers is daunting, to say the least.
And, according to this same report, that number accounts for all variations of police force members, “Police forces include city police (possibly with separate departments to deal with schools, traffic and even refuse), county police, transport police, sheriffs’ departments, state police (state troopers) and highway forces such as the California Highway Patrol. An ordinary policeman is usually called a patrolman.”
Every day you are hearing in the news about a heroic effort by a police member, who generally put his or her life on the line to protect our society. Even though, on a comparative scale, cops are not paid nearly what they deserve, and then some, they still serve their duties to the best of their abilities. And, when people are not shooting at them, or driving drunk, or committing crimes, the cops are stepping up on protecting our border, when national efforts have dwindled. The cops are still there, ensuring that we live safe and free.
A good example of this can be found from an article I uncovered at the FreeLibrary.com, “Local law enforcement officials in border states have also taken the lead in spreading the alarm over the federal failure to control national borders. El Paso County, Texas. Sheriff Leo Samaniego testified before the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security on February 7. “Federal resources have been expanded in cities to our north to combat drug use and distribution, yet most of the drugs have originated from this border. If illicit organizations can bring in tons of narcotics through this region and work a distribution network that spans the entire country, then they can bring in the resources for terrorism as well.”
In summation, our police force is crucial to our freedom. They put their lives on the line each and every day so that we can enjoy peace of mind and safety. They are there for us when no one else in their right mind would be. They are so underpaid it’s not even funny. They mostly do it because they love their jobs, cities and countries. And they are more than willing to put their lives, safety and wellbeing at risk so we can sleep easy at night.
Here are a few more interesting tidbits that truly exemplify what an amazing job that our police are doing nationwide.
An article published in the Wilmette/Kenilworth Trib Local Newspaper reads:
“Wilmette police officers honored
From left: Wilmette Police Chief Brian King, Sgt. Michael McGarry, Officer Nicholas Rizzo and Cmdr. Patrick Collins, with their families, at the Nov. 23 Village Board meeting. The latter three were honored for their involvment in saving a man’s life. (John P. Huston, Tribune reporter)
Three Wilmette police officers have been honored for saving a man’s life.
Wilmette Police Officer Nicholas Rizzo, Sgt. Michael McGarry and Cmdr. Patrick Collins responded May 12 to the 800 block of Westwood Avenue after the report of a man down. They found a 61-year-old Chicago man, who was working as a tree trimmer, on the ground and not breathing.
Rizzo and McGarry performed CPR on the man while Collins attached an automated external defibrillator. As a result of the police officers’ actions, the man started breathing again and was taken to a hospital where he was given a pacemaker device, said Wilmette Police Chief Brian King
“He walked out of the hospital 14 days later,” King said, before presenting the three men with plaques honoring their actions at a recent Village Board meeting. “The work of the officers on the scene definitely saved the man’s life.”
Wilmette police have had defibrillators in squad cars since 2000, King said, thanking board members for their support of life-saving equipment.
Village President Chris Canning invited the officers and their family and friends to the front of the council chamber to turn and face television cameras broadcasting the meeting.
“It’s an incredible thing that you were able to do, and it’s something I know you will carry through with you for the rest of your lives,” Canning told them.
PROMOTED TO SERGEANT
Also at the meeting, Roger Okrim was introduced as a police sergeant. He was promoted Nov. 9, having previously served in the department’s detective bureau.
Okrim is a 12-year veteran of the Wilmette Police Department, after starting his law enforcement career in Evanston. He scored highest of six Wilmette officers taking a four-month test to rank members for promotion.
King said Okrim has a “very strong work ethic, a very strong moral character, exceptional communication and interpersonal skills. He is an excellent representative of the Wilmette Police Department.””
Yet another article that was published in the TribLive for Northhills, Ohio reads:
“Shaler police honored with safety award
Shaler Township Police Department recently was honored for its efforts to create safe roads in the community.
For the fourth year in a row, the AAA Community Traffic Safety Awards program honored the Shaler department with the Platinum Award, the highest honor, for its programs and initiatives addressing local traffic safety issues.
In Pennsylvania, there were 102 law enforcement agencies honored, with only 33 earning the platinum award, says J.J. Miller, AAA safety advisor.
“It means a lot to the department,” says Shaler Police Chief Jeffrey Gally of the award. “It’s a culmination of the successes of a lot of people and programs.”
The majority of the service calls the police department responds to each year are traffic related, so the department and officers created and participate in a number programs to address traffic safety.
From August 2009 to August 2010 the police department issued more than 1,700 traffic citations, with 689 of them being issued through Buckle Up PA and Click It or Ticket, and PA Aggressive Driving, and the police department uses the ENRADD device to detect speeding vehicles.
The Shaler police also put an emphasis on programs that will reach teens as new drivers to instill safe driving habits.
Almost a decade ago, the Shaler Police Department created the Tickets and Stuff Teen Driver Safety Program that teaches teens about safe driving.
A day-long Traffic Camp is offered to teens who received a traffic citation. If the teens who complete the safe driving program go six months without receiving a traffic citation, their violations are withdrawn.
The program also rewards teens who police officers observe driving safely in a ceremony.
In the nine years of the program, more than 325 teen drivers have attended Traffic Camp, and 75 students have been honored for driving safely.
Last spring, the police department, along with the Shaler EMS, Cherry City Volunteer Fire Department, LifeFlight Medical Helicopter Service and the Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s Office, also put on a mock vehicle crash for the Shaler Area High School. The simulation was part of the school’s Prom Promise to promote making good decisions during prom.
For children who aren’t old enough to drive, the Shaler Police Department hosts a Bike Rodeo to promote bicycle safety. More than 80 children attended this year’s event and new bike helmets were given to all of the riders.
The police department also created the Seatbelt Information Training (SIT) Program to inform parents of child seat laws and safety belt use.
Police officers handed letters to every parent dropping their children off at the primary and upper elementary schools in Shaler Area.
Shaler Police Department also is an active member of the Western Alliance Team DUI Task Force, North Hills Task Force, and the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Truck and Trailer Task Force.
“We like to say every time they (police officers) stop a motorist or put a truck out of commission, they’re probably saving a life,” Miller says.
The extra effort from departments to develop successful programs and initiatives is something the AAA Community Traffic Safety Awards wants to honor, and Miller adds, receiving the platinum award for four consecutive years, as Shaler Police Department has, reflects a “great effort.”
But, Gally stressed that all of the programs — and the subsequent award for them — wouldn’t be possible without the commitment and effort of the officers on the police force.
“To get the platinum, we’re pretty proud of that,” Gally says. “We’ll never stop every speeder or stop every accident, but I’m confident in the effort. It makes me feel awfully proud of the effort of our people.””
And the list goes on and on. The next time I see a police officer at a coffee shop, I will offer to pick up their tab. Then I will promptly thank them for protecting me as a citizen.
You should all do the same as well and pay it forward.