Our community is rich in its diversity. We come from all cultures, backgrounds and walks of life. One common thread binds us all, and that is our longing to be safe. But, when things do go horribly wrong, we call first on our police officers to protect us.
The Pew Research Center recently released results from its survey of 8,000 police officers and sheriff’s deputies who responded to questions about attitudes and experiences of their work environment. The results should be of concern to us all.
In one segment of questioning, 93 percent of polled officers surveyed said they were more concerned about their safety today than in the past. A total of almost 50 percent indicated that they felt unappreciated by the people they serve.
While most Americans say they understand the risks and challenges that police officers face, the police disagree. Only 14 percent of officers say that the public understands these risks very or somewhat well, while 86 percent say the public doesn’t understand them “too well” or “at all.” This is a disturbing trend of thinking, both on the part of the public and our police.
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Imagine having to endure your workday with the thought that you are unsafe, unappreciated and misunderstood. Add to this the fact that within a moment’s notice you will be called upon to place yourself in harm’s way, intervene in the most violent of encounters or witness unimaginable carnage. Which one of us would be willing to continue with such a career commitment?
Just prior to this past holiday season neighbors, residing in the Westwood Circle and Berkshire Drive area in Park Forest swapped their clear outdoor porch light bulbs for blue colored LED lights. Illuminated day and night, these distinctive blue light bulbs demonstrate our appreciation and support for our police officers.
A number of additional blue lights are being noticed throughout our community and I ask that you join us to further expand this program.
It is time to make it clear that these guardians of our safety are valued, respected and appreciated by all of us, the very people that they have sworn to serve.
Join us. Light a blue light tonight. Blue Lights for Blue Knights!
Richard Brennan lives in State College.