National Police Week is an opportunity to say you care. It’s unfortunate that police and deputies don’t always feel supported by their communities, but it’s important for law enforcement professionals to know that the vast majority of us law-abiding citizens care deeply about them.

Proximity to offenders

Police are only human. If all they see day in and day out is the dregs of society, they begin to think that’s all there is to the world. Many years ago, on patrol as a civilian ride-along in North Kansas City, mile after mile of sleepy suburbs sprawled out before us. But the police focused on just a handful of offenders in tiny pockets of the area.

Feeling isolated

It’s lonely work on the graveyard shift. The only friendly faces you’ll see are fellow officers responding as backup. When officers do that day after day, it’s bound to take its toll. According to the Statesman Journal, police often struggle with depression, substance abuse and suicide.

Sure, it’s a choice

People choose to become law enforcement professionals, but these crime fighters play a special role. There’s even a term for it: the thin blue line. Law enforcement agencies are widely dispersed yet critical service providers who separate the criminal element from the rest of us. When appropriate, I thank officers for their service, as I would a soldier or veteran.

How you can help

There are five very easy ways to help the police. These steps are simple to take part in and can be achieved whether young, old, frail or fit. Yes, you can put a blue light bulb on the front porch or a sign out front, but you can actually do your part to bring crime rates down by participating in well-researched strategies that are shown to work.

  1. In an emergency, dial 9-1-1
  2. Participate in Neighborhood Watch
  3. Install an Operation ID burglary deterrent
  4. Join a neighborhood association
  5. Participate in National Night Out