Some 65 years ago, the Los Angeles Police Department adopted the motto "To Protect and Serve." Today, this is the motto for virtually all police in America because it's message so accurately portrays their motivations.
Still, we often see news coverage showing officers in the most unflattering and disparaging way possible, even as they work valiantly to protect. If ever, rarely do we hear about the selfless sacrifices officers make above and beyond in their efforts to serve.
January 9 is Law Enforcement Appreciation Day, and Lucky Shot is proud to support the men and women in all law enforcement in America. It takes an exceptional individual to make the decision to work in a field where their life is in danger every day.
When chaos ensues, law enforcement rushes in to face it and eliminate the threat, regardless of the circumstances.
Such unwavering courage in the face of danger is an inspiration and reflects their bravery and commitment. As essential as this courage is in protecting all of us, the care and empathy officers present daily in service to their community is equally important. These selfless acts of kindness are part of the job and never get the attention they deserve.
To that end, we have rounded up a number of examples from the past 12 months of insanity that exemplify law enforcement's best in service to individuals and their communities.
One of the latest examples was Christmas day 2020 in downtown Nashville. A parked RV packed with explosives was playing a recorded message warning of the bomb. Six Nashville police officers sprang into action and began knocking on doors, alerting residents to evacuate. No one knows how many lives these officers saved.
Thankfully, although some officers were injured in their efforts as the bomb went off, their injuries were not serious.
Is there any finer example of "Protect and Serve"?
Stuck in Lodi
August 12, 2020, Lodi California police Officer Erika Urrea observed a man on the railroad tracks and realized that his wheelchair was stuck on the tracks as the crossing arms began coming down. Officer Urrea wasted no time and began struggling with the chair, finally pulling the man to safety a mere 15 seconds after exiting her vehicle. The train crushed the wheelchair and struck the man's leg, sending him to the hospital and not the morgue.
The quick thinking and selfless actions of Officer Urrea are but one example among thousands in departments across the nation.
But, not all amazing police actions are full of such dangers.
Above and beyond the Classroom
In Shelby, Alabama, School Resource Officer James Sellers was concerned for the children in his charge when lockdowns kept them out of the classroom. Tuesday, March 17, while sitting in his patrol car, Officer Sellers read out loud ‘How to Catch a Leprechaun,’ showing his students each page as he read it in their virtual classroom.
Officer Sellers returned the next day for a music lesson, bringing his homemade canjo created with a soup can, piece of wood, and a guitar string, playing 'When the Saints Go Marching In.'
After each session, he gives the students a creative challenge based on the days' lesson. Today, officer Sellers posts a new video on Facebook daily.
To Give and Help
Not only is Atlanta Police Officer Veronica Campbell committed to Protect and Serve, but she also says she is constantly on the watch for different ways she can give and help other people. Each year Officer Campbell works with the Atlanta Police Foundation's 'At Promise Center,' organizing toy drives and other youth-oriented programs.
When she heard about a mother of five who had recently fled abuse, her instinct to help kicked in, and she decided to give her car to the family. She also wanted them to realize that the Atlanta Police are willing to make sacrifices for their community.
We salute Officer Campbell to take Protect and Serve to the next level and regularly make significant impacts in Atlanta.
A Heartfelt Thank You
The devastating opioid crisis in America has destroyed countless lives and families and placed a heavy burden on our police. In many areas of the country, the streets are becoming overrun with homeless addicts, and police have limited resources to help the situation.
But as always, the brave men and women of law enforcement take their job seriously and do it well. Sometimes, a committed officer and department can make all the difference in helping turn a life around.
For example, one Massachusetts woman who nearly died from an opioid overdose made this point in a letter to the Natick Police Department early last year. Calling the experience a wake-up call.
"I went to detox the next day and haven't used since," wrote the unidentified woman. "Due to you guys saving my life through CPR and Narcan, I got my life back."
Not every story like this is as hopeful. It's a shame that those that are don't get more recognition. We should celebrate these wins for the individual, the community, and the police who work diligently for these outcomes.
We wish that we could highlight all law enforcement's fantastic everyday contributions, but space does not allow for that. It is unfortunate that so much attention is paid to the negative narratives, and the many positive outcomes are neglected.
But, Lucky Shot does recognize the important and significant role that all of our police and law enforcement play in keeping us safe. We also cheer those officers, like the ones mentioned above, who not only take their oath seriously but actively look for opportunities to contribute further to their communities.
Celebrate this Law Enforcement Appreciation Day by thanking at least one officer in your area for their service and let them know you support them wholeheartedly. A simple thank you and acknowledgment of their commitment is a rare but very welcome occurrence in times like these.
Show the officers in your hometown that you care and have their back.