Much of 2020 has been dominated by newsmaking events that have made the year one few people will soon forget. Unprecedented and stressful circumstances can contribute to spirited debates and uncertainty about the future. Complicated situations can affect people in many ways, but the public may be wise to take some cues on how to navigate challenging situations from the professionals who routinely find themselves confronting adversity.
Law enforcement officers who don the uniform each and every day routinely put others first in the name of public safety. According to the National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund, there are now more than 800,000 sworn law enforcement officers serving in the United States, which is the highest figure ever. Officers often step up to serve despite the risks associated with working in law enforcement. A total of 1,627 law enforcement officers died in the line of duty over the past 10 years. There were 135 law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty in 2019 alone.
Law enforcement personnel serve many important roles in the communities they serve. Here’s a closer look at the integral roles of police and other law enforcement personnel.
- Maintain law and order: The police force is made up of many different departments with the collective goal of maintaining law and order. Traffic police are responsible for enforcing the rules of the road and minimizing the chance of accidents. Other departments canvas the streets ensuring that residents’ civil liberties are not being compromised.
- Save lives: Whether they’re preventing a life-threatening crime or administering emergency medical care at a car accident until an ambulance can arrive, law enforcement officers save lives every day.
- Assist in adverse situations and provide crisis support: Police officers often fill the role of counselor or friend to people who find themselves in difficult situations. An officer can play a part in helping people make better life choices in the future. Training in situational de-escalation also means police officers are capable of defusing difficult situations before they snowball into serious, potentially life-threatening confrontations.
- Investigate crimes: Police are the first people to respond when crimes have been committed. These individuals investigate the situation and find the perpetrator.
- Foster strong communities: Law enforcement officers share a unique solidarity with other officers, peers, community leaders, and even medical professionals, which helps to create a strong fabric for a community. Officers frequently have each other’s backs as well as the respect and support of the public for putting their lives on the line.
Law enforcement is an essential component of orderly, safe and supportive communities. Recognizing and respecting the important role law enforcement officials play is a great way to show them how much their efforts and sacrifices are appreciated.