Today, January 9, is the fifth annual National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day (L.E.A.D.). Organizations and individuals across the U.S. are coming together to give law enforcement officers some much-deserved honor and recognition. Many businesses are getting in on the action too, offering law enforcement officers free products and services to show their support.
How It Got Started
National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day was founded in 2015 when a few supportive organizations came together to bring the national day to life:
- Concerns of Police Survivors
- FBI National Academy Associates
- Fraternal Order of Police
- International Association of Chief of Police
- Officer Down Memorial Page
- Law Enforcement United
- National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund
- International Conference of Police Chaplains
- National Troopers Coalition
- And more…
Why Law Enforcement Officers Need Our Support
Every day in the U.S., nearly 900,000 of these brave men and women put their lives on the line to protect their communities. And yet, the last few years have come with unique challenges for the profession. After the 2014 shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and a string of police-inflicted deaths in recent years, Law Enforcement’s reputation crashed, and the popularity of the profession is crashing right along with it.
According to a survey by the Police Executive Research Forum, 66% of police departments across the U.S. reported that fewer people are applying for law enforcement jobs. Aside from recruiting and hiring officers, keeping them on staff is also becoming more of a challenge. In the last year, 29% of police officers voluntarily left the force after being on the job for under a year.
Terry Sult, police chief in Hampton, Virginia, explains the heart of the issue: “There’s an increased potential for officers to be criminally liable for making a good-faith mistake. We’re seeing a lot more media coverage of officers being prosecuted, and that weighs heavily on a lot of officers’ hearts…That’s a stressor on whether I want to stay in this position or not.”
Take a moment to imagine what our communities would look like without the security these men and women provide. Now, more than ever, we need to come together as a community to honor and encourage law enforcement professionals. National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day is the perfect time to start conversations and make it happen.
How to Honor These Brave Men and Women
Every year, an average of 151 law enforcement officers lose their lives in the line of duty. They have chosen a career in public service to us all that all-too-often goes unnoticed and unappreciated. So, today, we encourage everyone to take some time to show their support and appreciation. Here are just a few ways to show yours:
- Change your profile picture on social media to the image provided at www.facebook.com/nationalcops.
- Dress in blue!
- Send an encouraging note to your local police department or state agency.
- Honor officers who made the ultimate sacrifice by lighting a blue light on your porch.
- Participate in the National Blue Blood Drive.
- Share a positive story about your experience with law enforcement on your social media.
- Fly a blue ribbon on your car or motorcycle.
- Use the official hashtag #LawEnforcementAppreciationDay on social media
Most importantly, if you see a law enforcement officer today or any other day, show your respect by saying THANK YOU. These two words can go a long way in honoring this important profession and keeping our communities safe.