Honor our ‘True Blue Warriors’

“Blessed are the Peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”

— Matthew 5:9

National Police Week (May 15-19) is a time for my fellow law enforcement officers to reflect on the loss of fellow officers nationwide. It is a time to honor the sacrifice those officers gave to their communities and to recognize the work that officers continue to do daily.

I have been a police officer 28 years, 20 of those years serving as police chief for the City of State Center. In all my years, I have never seen the climate of hatred toward law enforcement so prevalent. Police are under assault by those who wish us harm and by a caustic criminal element who does not care or understands the good work officers do daily.

Then we have to battle some in the national media determined to create a divide between the police and the public we serve.

In the last few years, in Iowa alone, we have lost some very great officers to violent encounters by people having no regard for life. I belong to a Facebook site called “True Blue Warriors.” It seems daily, if not weekly, there are posts of officers being shot and/or killed trying to do their jobs. It can be depressing at times and I guess if you allowed it to consume your life, it would destroy you.

But police work has never been for the faint of heart. It is for those who are a special breed of people, who give tirelessly and unselfishly every day. I see it in my own department. My officers, be it we are a small agency of six officers, put their lives on the line every time they put on the uniform. My officers are extremely loyal and dedicated to State Center, to protect life and property. Will they give their life in the process you ask? The answer is yes. My officers are the ones that when shots are being fired, they run toward the shots, not away. That is true of all officers nationwide.

There are long hours, an abundance of stress on the officers and their families. Without our family support, I’m not sure we could do this profession effectively. My wife is my rock daily. Her support is unwavering and allows me to put on my uniform with pride every day knowing I may make a difference in someone’s life.

Making a difference is what it is all about; impacting your community in a positive way. It is such a great feeling when you encounter a person struggling in life and you can help them. The greatest joy is when they encounter you years later, and they come up to you and thank you for doing your job.

You see, it’s not about the arrests, traffic citations or police chases. Those are all things we have to deal with. The belief is that police just love to make things difficult for people — as if we get a bonus for doing so. Every officer I have ever met or spoken with in my 28-year career has said the same thing, “I do this job to help people.”

One thing that is true about all law enforcement officers, no matter how dire the situation is, we rise up, we stay strong and we continue to care for those we don’t even know. That’s what we do. We are Children of God.

During National Police Week, when you see an officer doing his job, take time to speak with them. Get to know them if you don’t already. They are human beings with families who have your interest at heart every day. Support your local officers by placing blue lights on your porches or on your garages. Stop in your local police stations and say hello and if you need us, just call. We will come running. We need to come together, work together and understand that ALL LIVES MATTER.

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Jeff Bunn is chief of the State Center Police Department.

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