A police officer is someone who voluntarily makes sacrifices to protect others. In some cases, they make the ultimate sacrifice and lose their lives. They enforce laws to protect society and respond to calls for service. Officers make split- second decisions that citizens, the media, lawyers, judges, and politicians sometimes spend years debating. A split- second decision may be the last one an officer ever makes. If everything a police officer does is scrutinized, why would anyone want to be one? A police officer chooses to accept the risks and sacrifices.
It is important to remember that being a police officer is a career. It creates stronger bonds among its brother and sisters than many other careers. Those bonds create the Thin Blue Line. On the one side, there is chaos and, on the other, there is order. No matter one’s role in law enforcement, they bleed blue in their service to their communities.
Chaos occurs when laws and people’s rights are violated. Officers are required to respond in these situations to keep the peace. Sometimes to keep the peace, arrests are made or citations are issued. Order is the status quo, a sense of normalcy that the officer is trying to reach and maintain.
On the night of January 17, 2016 in the city of Danville, Ohio, a city of 1,000 people covering 70 square miles, only one officer was on duty. A woman called 911 stating that her ex-boyfriend was dressed in camouflage and was looking to kill a cop. Dispatchers attempted to notify Danville Police Officer Thomas Cottrell. When he did not respond to the call, other law enforcement personnel were sent to look for him. He was found shot to death just outside the police station.
Many people may ask, “Why did he have to die?” They may say, “It comes with the job.” Officer Cottrell was doing his job. He sacrificed his life in service to others. Death is a risk that comes with the profession. Everyday brave men and women shoulder this burden because they want to help and make a difference. Officer Cottrell was not killed because he robbed, murdered, or committed a violent act. He was killed because he was a police officer, a job he loved doing. No one kills the pizza delivery person because he delivers pizza.
Tommy, as he was known, was not just a Police Officer. He was a little league baseball coach, a son, a brother, a best friend and a father to three young girls. These girls have to go through birthdays, graduations, and weddings without their father. All because someone did not like police officers.
There are more than one million law enforcement personnel in the United States. If one is in trouble, they will be coming to help. They live to serve us all. Remember, behind the badge is a person who is so much more than a COP. Please take the time to thank them for what they do.