Take a LEAD in Law Enforcement Appreciation Day

Take a LEAD in Law Enforcement Appreciation Day

By Stephen Owsinski

Since 2015, every January 9 is recognized as Law Enforcement Appreciation Day (LEAD). With an ocean of bias as a retired law enforcement officer, I imagine most everyone can see the unrelenting tumult America’s cops have experienced of late.

Police officers endured. Others perished, either from miscreants responding to the anti-cop dog-whistle…or at their own hands. In any case, it seems frigid and callous and mindboggling for anyone to harbor such cold-hearted notions toward anyone donning a justice badge.

According to Holidays Calendar, “National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day is a holiday that falls on January 9th every year and helps citizens come together and show appreciation to their local law enforcement. It’s a day on which citizens can take the time to show police officers that their work is appreciated and that they understand how difficult their job can be. It’s also a good day for police officers and the community to come together and make safer communities.”

At a time when we bear witness to craze of criminal coddling by “progressive” prosecutors in many jurisdictions, standing with cops is beyond apropos.

Boggles the mind that some among the described fanners of hateful individuals appear ingratiating toward criminal elements. Ridiculously rogue prosecutors unfazed by bona fide bad actors is a curious animal, even when DAs are confronted about their blind-eye stance, smarmily uttering their justifications.

Even as I cobble these words, newly-seated Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who came out of the gate and waged soft-on-crime mentality, is surely nothing to brag about. Surely, criminals smiled. Cops, however, did not.

The facing page of Mr. Bragg’s “elect me” page has three words opening up his invitation to support him: “Justice For All.” Contrarily, after winning office, he declared he is declining prosecution of certain crimes, thus already reneging on the “Justice For All” hook he placed in the mouths of voters. This directly undermines work of cops, especially when one of the DA’s exclusions to prosecutions is “resisting arrest.”

Politicians devise ways for incarcerated inmates to slip through the front gates and back into free society, often recidivating (as expected), as if every wrong they have committed can be chalked up to bygone, totally void of any notion they’d fly straight upon release.

Cops’ guts are tautly twisted when such examples occur/recur. Watching their work (or that of other LEOs) walk right out of the penal gates is nothing short of a direct hit to the psyche of a public safety official. Seems members of a certain political party have less love for cops and tons of bromance with criminals, culminating in freedom from prison or outright refusal to prosecute from the get-go.

Of DA Bragg’s soft-on-crime agenda, Paul DiGiacomo, president of the NYPD Detectives’ Endowment Association said, “He’s emboldening the criminal element to resist arrest and put New York City police officers and detectives in harm’s way.”

Similarly, Patrick Lynch, president of the NYPD Police Benevolent Association (PBA) replied to lenient DA Bragg in this way: “Police officers don’t want to be sent out to enforce laws that the district attorneys won’t prosecute. And there are already too many people who believe that they can commit crimes, resist arrest, interfere with police officers and face zero consequences.”

It is no wonder some cops in big cities, whose governance favors bad actors, are departing for other career paths altogether.

As a reporter with PJMedia wrote,  “Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and her state’s attorney, Kim Foxx, are a one-two punch of commie crime forgiveness. Lightfoot changed the rules involving the police’s ability to chase criminals on foot. Foxx dropped 29.9% of all felony cases. She also thinks people illegally possessing guns shouldn’t be arrested of they haven’t used the gun to commit a violent crime, even though Chicago’s gun violence is at a record high.”

Ingratiatingly disgusting!

No Thanks to Lying Anti-Cop Crankers

Lately, I’ve been coming across less of the same tired foment molded by mainstream media —caricatures of journalism— coming and going in cycles, eventually just as stale as their delivery in messaging. Reading official police reports side-by-side with “news” articles is a definite headscratcher. How can two (or more) entities analyzing the same data derive polar opposite interpretations? One is for good of citizens and the other for-profit.

The case for filing down reputable sources of information is easy—follow up and determine fact-patterns or gross distortions of truth. We owe it to mental and physical health pertinence. We, as citizens, can easily dodge melodramatic mash. Given today’s topic, though, cops manifest necessary traits and characteristics, and go out each and every day, full knowing the slander and falsifications monetized by mainstream media networks recklessly hosing fires with fuel, not water, not truth, not gratitude for someone whose jutted hand swore that harm’s way is where they’d go. And they do, consistently.

I submit that algorithms feeding us media noise have been helpful to the cause of staving off fluff and nonsense and outright anti-police bull-dung. Simply refraining from clicking on undeniably anti-cop sites and forums effectively circumvents the detritus they serve to sustain their sad fib-prone existence and hatemongering habits.

This factor doesn’t mean I am impervious to ratty CNN threads, only that I will not necessarily receive trash, as a byproduct of willingly opting out of patronizing them. Ultimately, I am thankful to law enforcement for being out there fighting the good fight, despite the likes of CNN et al. abdicating facts and sullying cops’ professional reputations. Freedom of the press, boldly abused. Freedom of the press, branded by them, about them, for them, take it or leave it.

Speaking of abdicating facts, Big Tech is on the hitlist, especially for their censorship and overt dislike of law-and-order manifestations otherwise known as law enforcement officials. As clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson put forth, “I don’t like what is happening with Google, Facebook and YouTube. They’re building censorship bots predicated on a certain kind of ideology, the kind of ideology that we [observe] today.”

Our beautiful nation has a bevy of untrustworthy media plugs from which I largely opted to disconnect. How is it…that America’s cops keep returning to the perils of the streets, suffering casualties, sustaining unspeakable tragedies, stack burdens of loss of life, yet keep forging forward to the very same frontlines where inexplicable things occur?

(Photo courtesy of the Fraternal Order of Police Jacksonville.)

Reports of “woke” educational institutions indoctrinating students in “social justice” measures extended their feelers by incentivizing professorial tenure with $3000. to exude “wokeness”…while most police salaries require many cops to work a second job or put in for “extra duty” to have a decent tabletop of sustenance under a roof housing their families.

As one anonymous professor shared with The Washington Free Beacon, “I’m not sure how changing an accounting, nursing, or engineering course to align with social justice principles helps students. When faculty are underpaid in the first place, it’s hard to blame them for taking this money. But it creates an incentive for a nonpartisan instructor to turn their students into activists for a few dollars.”

That’s a powerful statement, a straight-up serving of what some educational institutions have morphed into. These types of academic settings are usual suspects in de-instituting campus police forces, certainly not even remotely conjuring raises for cops who must feel anything but gratitude amid patrolling and nonetheless securing their woke campus environs.

Per the University of Memphis Police Department’s official mission statement, “Over the last six years, the University continuously has one of the lowest incident rates among the ten largest universities in the state. In 2019 the University had the lowest rate among Tennessee colleges with campus populations of greater than 5,000 students.”  Odd that campus administrators’ higher-financed social justice indoctrinations don’t see the irony in their scope, contradicted by their very own police force results.

I’m confident some critical-thinking students and campus employees see the value in its police force.

(Photo courtesy of the University of Memphis PD.)

Thankfully, some state governments recognize these thinktanks aiming at knocking down constitutional promise while contradicting statements on equality, thus conducting their own incentivizing by paying cops bonuses above and beyond sign-on compensations, to do a job most wouldn’t want to fathom.

Graciously, some governments have opened their arms to law enforcement officers chided for being cops, threatened with termination for performing duties as outlined by constitutional frameworks.

Gratitude is easy. Giving without expectation (like cops do on the daily, before investing in the next call) is a virtuous thing from which all involved parties derive a sense of self, founded in a humanitarian base, especially when fragility of life is made even more crystal clear by pandemic proportions.

Latest statistics chronicled by the Officer Down Memorial Page (ODMP) reflects 327 line of-duty deaths due to Covid, out of 487 LODDs throughout 2021.

Appreciation for Law Enforcement Families

Inherently, America’s law enforcement heroes head out for duty, while their loved ones remain at home, understandably with constant consternation born of perils in public.

Thus, we remain thankful to the family members whose gladiators with badges stepped forward, toward a cause often culminating in inexplicable human destruction, while also battling personal woes.

A few days ago, we lost another policeman to cancer. Tampa police Officer Matthew David McNeal battled brain cancer and succumbed on January 2, 2022. The accolades reserved/unspoken in life are often revealed in death. Condolences rendered Officer McNeal and his family were accompanied by tributes emphasizing Officer McNeal’s achievements such as two Life-Saving Awards, an Excellent Duty Award, one Unit Citation and a Community Policing Award.

“His fellow officers and supervisors remember him as a kind and humble man, who loved being a police officer,” the Tampa PD posted. McNeal was married with two children.

(Photo courtesy of the Tampa Police Department.)

On December 16, 2021, while many citizens were fastidiously doing whatever traditionally underscored their respective Christmas season, Baltimore police Officer Keona Holley, a 39-year-old mother of four children, was ambushed. Like other cops in recent years, Officer Holley was shot in the head —twice— while simply sitting in her fully marked cruiser, on duty, wearing a plain-as-day police-blue uniform, working overtime to provide for her family.

Officer Holley succumbed to the gunshot wounds fired from behind her, perishing two days before Christmas… after being taken off life support. As the following video attests, mainstream media we spoke of above offered crickets. BLM was also meek. Criminals were idolized instead of police officers, the true protectors of American freedom. Listen to this impassioned dissertation:

On January 2, 2022, the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens club graciously displayed a super-sized diamond-vision image of Officer Holley in uniform, taking a moment to pay homage and memorialize another brave soul who paid the ultimate price, just because of her devotion to duty by serving citizens.

(Photo courtesy of the Baltimore City Fraternal Order of Police Lodge).

On December 29, 2021, a law enforcement cohort of mine reached max pain, drawing ample attention to alleviate a distressing situation and salvage a dedicated deputy. Despite his own agency’s crisis response specialists and SWAT contingent responding after he barricaded himself in his home, not far from mine, Deputy Christopher Former took his own life. I write this material one seat to the left of the one he sat in when we were together, years ago, largely talking about my daughter encountering some bad actors at her high school.

In life and now in death, I am grateful to him for caring, listening, and offering his take on matters. I remain grateful that there are LEOs like these.

Kudos to the Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.) organization for not only standing in support of police family survivors but for also giving birth to our topic today: Law Enforcement Appreciation Day.

C.O.P.S. “founded this holiday in 2015 as a way for citizens to let their police officer know that their work in the community is appreciated and that they know how difficult modern policing can be. It’s a holiday that’s been celebrated ever since,” wrote the folks at Holidays Calendar.

The pressures in/from law enforcement are tremendous. That fact is exacerbated in current society and all its anti-this and anti-that factions having loud voices bizarrely catered to by that certain brand of wacky elected official. It is easily overwhelming, even for the most seasoned police veteran. Human nature is complex and resilient…it is also responsive to feeling devalued and demoralized, sometimes culminating in stark ideations.

(Photo courtesy of B.L.U.E. Help.)  

Like gymnastics stars working hard, going through the motions, constantly honing skills, maybe taking a few spills, perhaps sustaining a sprain here and there, always getting back up from the mats and astride the bars and beams and wriggling rings, law enforcement officers simulate such tenacity and perseverance and determination—their coveted trophy is citizen safety and constitutional covenants.

Cops do not do the job for recognition, but thank yous certainly help fortify the human psyche.

So, get out in front. Take the LEAD by getting out and extending gratitude to every cop you see. Illuminate porch lights in a blue hue (blue bulbs sold on common market) or tie a blue ribbon around the old oak tree or mailbox. If you’re handy like Betty Crocker, bake some goodies and deliver them to your nearest police precinct or troopers HQ or sheriff’s office. Family fun involving the kiddos could especially entail the youngsters drawing or painting police-oriented pieces of art to be consigned to local law enforcement, ultimately adorning the walls of the lobby or squad room or police gym or chief’s office.

Given the latest soar of pandemic-caused impacts, contactless gratitude can be exercised in the form of social media hashtag #NationalLawEnforcementAppreciationDay.

In any event, we remain grateful to law enforcement each and every single day…