In America, September 17th is known as Thank a Police Officer Day. While many American citizens may not be aware of the celebration, the day is reserved as a way to remember the brave men and women who take care of our communities with skill and devotion.

Many people really only think of the police when they are in emergency situations, but the force is also working tirelessly behind the scenes to support the people who they live and work with on top of reacting to 911 calls. While we will be sharing some standout points of reference, the police are laying their lives on the line every day and they deserve respect and recognition. Here are some highlights of their good work in the country over the past few years.

Community engagement during the COVID-19 pandemic

Since the onset of the pandemic that disrupted so much in America, the police have been a pillar of their communities. One of the most essential workers, the police force was called on by state and local authorities to step forward.

Despite the fact that the virus was the leading cause of death among the police, they persevered bravely to do the job that they were called to do. An amazing example of this can be seen in Oklahoma, where the governor enlisted the police to assist in schools that were in dire need of personnel assistance. The City of Moore Police Department law enforcement officers were serving as elementary school substitutes for a short period of time.

In Waterbury, Connecticut the chief of police created a task force to help children who are the victims of trauma — something that has increased as a result of the pandemic. Increased social isolation can make already bad situations worse, and the task force works with local schools and other community partners to help impacted children.

There are countless stories of local law enforcement officers making a massive difference in their communities every day and these were just a couple of amazing examples.

The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.

Changing response to the virus

The police force is instrumental in preventing the spread of COVID-19 in their communities. Here are some of the commitments that police departments across the country have made as listed by The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP):

  • Purchasing protective gear.
  • Working to supply departments with hygiene kits, towels and cell phone chargers.
  • Funding professional decontamination of police facilities and equipment.
  • Providing sanitizer stations.
  • Securing a COVID-19 testing center for exclusive use by first responders and other essential employees.
  • Installing mobile trailers equipped with cameras and license plate readers to address areas with an uptick in crime.
  • Promoting compliance with public health orders.

The first responder community came together and helped each other share the burden that comes with taking care of people who were —and are still — overwhelmed by the impact of the virus. With this came an elevated focus on the mental health of our police officers. The culture surrounding the force has changed greatly. Now, there are more resources than ever to help support these strong individuals.

This September 17th, don't forget to thank police officers for all their contributions, locally and nationally. Whether that be someone in your family, or you see someone in the blue out in the community, take the time to show your appreciation for the hard work that they do every day. From laying their life on the line to helping out where their country needs it the most, they deserve to know how valuable they are.