Police Week: Showing appreciation for their sacrifices

Monday may have been Peace Officers Memorial Day — on which law enforcement officers across the country gathered to remember those who have fallen in the line of duty; and recognize the service of all who wear the uniform — but the entire week is National Police Week. Tens of thousands of officers are gathering in Washington, D.C., while the rest of us have an opportunity to show our appreciation for all they sacrifice.

According to Parkersburg Police Sgt. B.J. Depue, 135 officers were killed on the job last year; 21 in ambush-style attacks.

But as we learned over the weekend, the dangers these men and women face are evolving and terrifying. An East Liverpool, Ohio, officer, making a traffic stop that turned into a drug arrest, took all the precautions in processing a drug-related crime scene. He had on the gloves and the mask, knowing not to come in direct contact with any substances he found in the vehicle he had stopped.

Later, however, he was at the police station when a colleague pointed out something on his shirt. Without thinking, he brushed it off with his bare hand. Had he been alone at the time, he would likely be dead, according to his chief. The officer almost immediately overdosed, was administered Narcan (and then three more doses in the hospital) and is now experiencing headaches and chest pains while still “lying on the couch. He’s still miserable,” according to his chief.

Imagine having to go to work every day with that level of risk. Most of us cannot.

We are grateful for those who not only imagine it, but accept it and are willing to face it to keep us safe.