Law enforcement officers are routinely called upon to perform miracles and to do the impossible. At the scene of an automobile accident, they are expected to perform as doctors, paramedics, and traffic engineers. Responding to a domestic disturbance they are expected to perform as counselors and therapists, as well as keepers of the peace. Dealing with juveniles, they are expected to perform as parents, teachers, and sociologists. In the courtroom they are expected to be lawyers. If they do not perform with excellence every day, they risk complaints from the public, discipline from the department, suits from disgruntled defendants, criticism from the prosecutor and judges, investigations by the news media, and even death when a life-threatening situation is not handled properly. They risk their mental health by exposure to the worst our society has to offer. Nevertheless, they are often paid less than plumbers, auto mechanics, school teachers, or truck drivers.
You will rarely see a TV movie of the week or newspaper headline about good cops working with compassion and commitment. In fact, the vast majority of law enforcement officers are hard-working and dedicated professionals who are committed to making a difference. They deserve our respect and our thanks.