Law enforcement appreciation day was today and I hope that everyone reached out to our local police officers and thanked them for the job they do in our communities each and every day. Our police and sheriff personnel deserve our respect and gratitude and certainly our appreciation. I can't think of another time in our […]

Law enforcement appreciation day was today and I hope that everyone reached out to our local police officers and thanked them for the job they do in our communities each and every day.

Our police and sheriff personnel deserve our respect and gratitude and certainly our appreciation. I can't think of another time in our nation's history when an already thankless job is even more thankless due to the environment of unrest we are witnessing today.

What's the big deal you may ask? Police officers just ride around and hassle people all day. Why do they need my respect and appreciation? Heck, I could do that job, you say confidently.

Ok, so let's play a scenario game for a minute. Slowly read the scenario below and really try to imagine that you are the police officer or sheriff deputy in this situation.

You are a police officer on a small department of about thirty officers and you are paid $35,000 per year, fairly typical and average for a majority of departments in the U.S. Now, it's just after 2AM in the morning and you are on patrol alone in your police car. You are fully uniformed, have your radio, gun, badge – everything you need to do the job. You've been on the job a couple years, married to your sweetheart and have a new baby at home. Cute little thing, just 6 months old, you love her so much.

Your partners on the shift consist of the Sergeant who is at the station doing paperwork and 4 other patrol officers. Two officers of the four patrol officers are tied up with an arrest on the north end of town, one other officer is on a radio call of a domestic dispute, and Jim, your best buddy, is patrolling the north end town.

You are patrolling on the south side of town and currently traveling west bound on Eisenhower Road approaching 20th Street. Suddenly, a dark older model 4 door Chevy fails to stop at the stop sign southbound at 20th street, makes a right turn, and quickly accelerates.

You speed up and follow behind the vehicle as you request a want and warrant check from dispatch. While waiting for a response from dispatch you are nearing Tonganoxie Road and getting further and further away from your partners who are on the north end of town. It's dark out there and not a lot of homes, businesses, or traffic. Not a lot a people as a matter a fact. There's just you, your radio, and the people in the dark Chevy.

Your patrol car headlights illuminate the interior of the suspect vehicle just enough that you can see there are two occupants in the vehicle and they're moving around a lot.

You wonder what they are doing.

Suddenly, something is thrown out the passenger window. With that, you know you need to conduct a traffic stop even though you still have not received a reply back from dispatch regarding any wants or warrants associated with the vehicle. You reach down and activate your emergency lights and unbuckle your seatbelt in anticipation of the pending traffic stop.

The car abruptly pulls to the side of the road just east of Tonganoxie Rd. You recognize that you have stopped in a fairly isolated area but still within the town limits.

You call in your location to dispatch.

Boy it's dark out here, you say to yourself because there is no one else to talk to as you are all alone. You're a cop working a single officer car which, again, is fairly common.

You open up your car door and the cold winter wind hits your face, it distracts you for a second. You turn on your flashlight as you slowly approach the driver's side of the car. Adrenaline starts to flow into your bloodstream, you feel it. Tension builds in every fiber of your being.

As you approach, there is more movement in the car which seems abnormal to you. What are they doing in there? Who are these two people? Why did they run the stop sign and accelerate so quickly? Are they drunk? Are they dopers? Do they have any weapons?

You don't know the answers to any of these questions. It is your job to find out and find out all by yourself.

You near the driver side door and the driver is approximately 35 years old, with a scruffy beard and wearing a heavy jacket. A woman, who appears to be under the influence of drugs, is moving about nervously in the front passenger seat.

What did she throw out? Probably dope, you deduce from your experience and observations but you really don't know.

'License and registration sir', you ask as you hover your hand over your sidearm and try to keep everyone's movements in sight.

'Dispatch, 351, there is an outstanding warrant….' blasts over the radio.

Something just isn't right as the driver makes a sudden move towards the center armrest.

You see your pretty little daughter's face in your mind's eye just before the flash.

Pretty easy, huh? So easy that only a few people in our society choose this thankless job as a lifelong profession.

Each and every shift and each and every day the dark unknown is dealt with by our police officers. They deal with both the good and the bad and on almost every shift they are exposed to the very dark, ugly, and unpredictable side of humanity. They do so all the while not knowing if this is their last shift and the last time they will see their loved ones.

They do it for service and sacrifice. They do it to keep total strangers – you and me – safe. They do it because law enforcement is an honorable profession.

God Bless our Peace Keepers.

Viper One Six – Out