May is upon us and Police Week 2017 is right around the corner. This year officers from our department completed the trek to the State Capitol in Austin, where they participated in the Texas Peace Officer Memorial Ceremonies that are held there each year at this time. At this years event 20 names were added to The Wall of Texas officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty.
Joining us in Austin were public servants came who came from all over our state. San Antonio to Dallas. El Paso to Amarillo. Some worked for city police departments, others for sheriffs offices and others for state agencies. The common bond that they all shared however was not only their decision to honor their fellow Texas Peace Officers, but their everyday willingness to place themselves in harms way to make our society a safer place.
Law enforcement officers often hear from people near the scene of a crime the following line, I dont want to get involved and typically there is a part of us that can empathize with that sentiment. But for those who choose to pin on a badge, that option is no longer available. For those men and women, the decision to become involved is made the day they raised their right hand and took an oath.
We will always be the first to acknowledge that there are good men and women in every walk of life, but in civilized society there must always be a force which will serve as a counterweight for those that do perpetrate crimes on the defenseless. In ours, it is the men and women that will not just sit back and be a spectator to the evil that exists. For the thousands of individuals, in Texas and across the United States, who pin a badge to their chest, a mindset has been adopted, and it is rekindled at the start of every shift:
Despite the existence of throngs of people who want to see us fail. Despite the seemingly never ending supply of criminals who prey upon the weak. Despite the physical danger that may present itself Evil will not triumph. Not today. Not on our watch.
May 13th marks the beginning of Police Week 2017 and in Washington DC, the names of 135 American Peace Officers who died in the line of duty in 2016 will be added to the 21,040 names already on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. These colleagues knew the risks involved with their chosen profession, but were willing to stand between upstanding citizens and those who menace them.
It is OUR duty to remember them and not let their sacrifice be one that was made in vain. It is OUR duty to take care of those that were left behind. And it is OUR duty to mentor the next generation of police officers that will one day take our place.
If you have not been to the Law Enforcement Officer Memorial in Austin, I encourage you to visit that solemn site. Each name represents a person who one day kissed their loved ones goodbye and were willing to stand up for YOU, even at the cost of their own life.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott said this Monday morning on the steps of the Capitol:
If we expect our law enforcement officers to stand in front of us and face danger on our behalf, we must stand behind them and give them the support they deserve.
If you support your local law enforcement agency, know that we appreciate you. If you have a loved one who is currently serving and protecting, thank you for sharing him or her with the rest of the world. Or if you are amongst the 1% of Americans who have made the choice to forego ever being wealthy, miss holidays with your families, work the night shift, and often times be witness to the unthinkable iniquity that individuals can perpetrate upon on another you have my deepest gratitude.
What Edmund Burke said centuries ago still holds true today. All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.
Heres to the 135 good men (and women) who in 2016 sacrificed themselves on our behalf.
Chief Eric Kaiser
Eric Kaiser is the Chief of Police for the Jourdanton (TX) Police Department and a Master Texas Peace Officer