Thank a law enforcement officer during National Police Week
| May 7, 2020 1:00 AM
Every day, sworn law enforcement officers, deputies, agents and troopers across Montana put their lives at risk, often while the rest of us are sleeping. They don’t do it for recognition or money, they do it to protect us and our way of life. Along the way, some sacrifice their bodies . . . and some give up their lives.
Last year, 128 federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement officers died in the line of duty across America. In Montana, we lost Gallatin County Deputy Jake Allmendinger in a tragic accident while trying to save a stranded motorist near Fairy Lake. Our prayers go out to his family, his colleagues and the community for their loss.
In addition to those officers who make the ultimate sacrifice, every year about 60,000 officers are assaulted nationwide and 18,000 officers are injured. That’s a rate of more than one assault for every 10 officers.
And officers aren’t just exposed to risk from assaults and vehicle-related injuries while keeping us safe.
They are also on the front line (along with jail and prison guards), exposed to deadly diseases like coronavirus.
While most of us stayed in our homes as the pandemic moved into Montana, our law enforcement officers were out on the streets. Unfortunately, criminals don’t “social distance” and the risky behaviors they engage in put our officers in danger.
For example, on March 18, when uncertainty about the spread and lethality of coronavirus was at its peak, officers from federal, state and local law enforcement agencies caught a suspected drug dealer carrying two pounds of meth. In spite of the personal risk to themselves, these officers made the arrest and kept an estimated 7,250 doses of meth away from our communities.
In the last eight weeks there have been many, many more examples of our law enforcement officers exposing themselves to coronavirus to keep us safe.
Nationwide, at least 21 officers have already died from coronavirus.
Ronald Reagan said, “The future does not belong to the fainthearted, it belongs to the brave.” Our law enforcement officers bravely put themselves in harms way every day, some of them and their families paying the ultimate sacrifice.
Please go out of your way this week to thank them.
—Kurt Alme is a Great Falls native