Police salute

4/30/2013

Law enforcement officers deserve thanks every day.

Law enforcement officers deserve thanks every day.

The Kansas law enforcement community will again pay tribute to the fallen in their ranks.

As they do during this week's annual Law Enforcement Memorial Ceremony, all Kansans should join them in reflecting on the contributions of the many men and women on the front lines who every day risk their lives in keeping us safe.

On Friday, the state's 31st Annual Law Enforcement Memorial Ceremony will begin at noon on the steps of the State Capitol.

This year's observance in Kansas will honor two Topeka Police Department officers who were lost in the line of duty in 2012, and whose names will be added to the Kansas Law Enforcement Memorial: Corporal David Gogian and Officer Jeffrey Atherly.

Gogian and Atherly were shot and killed on Dec. 16, 2012, after responding to the parking lot of a grocery store on a report of possible drug activity. One of the suspects shot and killed the officers after being asked to exit a vehicle.

The tragedy delivered more sobering proof of how dangerous police work can be every day.

Even seemingly routine tasks — serving a search warrant, for example — can spiral out of control. There are disturbed people in our midst, and some find it easy to get their hands on weapons.

Considering the inherent dangers lurking in society, it's no wonder a number of peace officers die every year in the line of duty.

Those who do deserve to be honored by generations to come. The state memorial is but one fitting way to make sure that happens.

And as we reflect on the lives of law enforcement officers who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to their communities, it's also necessary to thank those currently in uniform who routinely face dangerous situations with skill and courage.

While it's easy to complain when they give us a ticket for speeding or another violation, it's necessary to consider how law enforcement officers work to keep the peace and keep us safe, often at a risk to their own well-being.

For that, they all deserve our heartfelt gratitude and support every day.

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