National Police Week: Living with the sacrifice

Be certain that you and your agency recognize and honor the injured and disabled officers in your jurisdiction and beyond during National Police Week 2011

Since the Living with the Sacrifice column debuted on PoliceOne one year ago, I have had the privilege to hear from injured officers from around the world and their loyal caregivers. I’m continually touched by their spirit and their pain. Their grief in not being able to return to work. Their mourning the loss of their life before the injury. The heartbreak of not wanting to be a burden to their spouse, family, and friends.

The ultimate anguish and sorrow for the loss of, not only their career as a law enforcement officer, but also their identity as being part of the law enforcement family.

One universal emotion runs through all their correspondence --not wanting to be forgotten.

Be certain that you and your agency recognize and honor the injured and disabled officers in your jurisdiction, and beyond, during Police Week May 15th-21st. They have made a sacrifice in the line of duty for their community, their country, and you.

“If not for the grace of God, go I.”

That statement brings fear to all who wear the badge. A fear that makes officers shy away from wanting to be reminded of the possibility of injury on the job.

Traffic accidents, gunshots, knives, bombs, heart attacks, back problems, broken bones, and broken souls. All cause injuries and disabilities to those who wear the badge.

Your brother and sister officers made the sacrifice so that you do not have to bear that cost.

Every day in this country, every day, an officer encounters a life threatening incident. Many turn deadly. Many injure the officer. Many leave the officer saying, “whew, that was close. Glad to be going home.”

You went home. Many did not.

Give honor and respect to those living with the sacrifice. Phone or send a card, email, or letter simply saying “Thank you for your service and sacrifice.”

Invite them to lunch. Visit them. Ask if they need help or assistance.

Don’t forget the caregivers and children who live daily with their officers’ sacrifice. This could be you and your family. You are always one call for service, one traffic stop, one callout, one warrant service, one witness interview away from injury.

Don’t forget the officers who are living the sacrifice.

PoliceOne wants to know how you and your agency honored those living with this sacrifice during Police Week 2011.

Don’t let a single injured or disabled officer feel like their sacrifice has been forgotten. This compounds their tragedy. Don’t let that happen.

About the author

Barbara A. Schwartz is certified as a first responder peer supporter by the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation (ICISF) and the Law Enforcement Alliance for Pear Support (LEAPS).
She is a former reserve officer serving in patrol and investigations. She has been a contributing feature writer for American Police Beat for sixteen years. Her articles and book reviews have appeared in Command, The Tactical Edge, Crisis Negotiator Journal, The Badge & Gun, The Harris County Star, The Blues, The Shield, and The Police News.

She maintains memberships in the National Tactical Officers Association (NTOA), Texas Tactical Police Officers Association (TTPOA), and the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA). 

Retired after 30 years with NASA in Houston, Schwartz worked in Mission Control and Astronaut Training. Schwartz earned a degree in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering from Purdue University with electives in Criminal Justice and Criminology. She helped fund her education by working for the campus police department.

Contact Barbara A. Schwartz

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