County memorial is long overdue tribute

County MemorialMar. 1, 2013  PLYMOUTH EAGLE.



We’d like to take just a moment to remind everyone of the incredible bargain they receive with their police and fire departments

A memorial planned by Wayne County to honor public safety officers who have died in the line of duty is, we think, a fitting tribute that is long overdue.

These are the guys who run into burning buildings, run toward the toxic waste spill to try to clean it up, put themselves between you and the guy with the gun and chase the drunk driver down to get him off the street before he does you harm.

These are the same men and women who are spit on, hit, sworn at, insulted and attacked physically with knives, guns and fists, not to mention some incredibly creative obscenities. These are the people who save your life when you fall off a ladder, have a heart attack or slip and fall off the curb or walk into the local bank in the middle of an armed holdup. Yeah, these are the people who do that, day after day after day.

These are the people who come when you call 911.

These are also the people who are the first targets of any community budget cuts, the employees first asked to reduce their number and cut costs. These are the people communities usually look to for wage cuts, hiring freezes and any other reductions they can think of to cut costs when there isn’t enough money to cover all the expenses a community faces.

These are the men and women who put their lives on the line every single day. These are the people who never know, for sure, if they will come home from work that day. These are the people who have died protecting their communities.

Many local municipalities or service clubs routinely honor their police and fire personnel with Officer of the Year presentations and citations for bravery and actions above the call of duty. Those are some of the most moving, and eye- opening, events anyone can ever attend. The performance of these men and women rivals anything one might see on an episode, or a whole season, of Law and Order or Chicago Fire. The stories that are told about the actions of these men and women in the face of danger, adversity or serious tragedy makes the stuff of many action movies and murder mysteries pale by comparisons.

Most of their days, however, are not that glamorous or exciting. They spend a lot of time doing paperwork, arresting drunks and calming domestic disputes. They travel to minor medical situations that need no more than a Band-Aid, far more often than they would like. But they are always pre- pared to do whatever it takes in a major emergency or threat situation. Always. That’s what they have been trained to do and that is what they love about the careers they have chosen.

We have long been puzzled by the lack of appreciation shown these men and women outside their own departments. Often, that lack of appreciation comes from the very people who should best understand what these men and women do and how critical they are to the well being and viability of any community.

So, this is just a reminder to us all. They are easy targets of criticism, pay cuts, bullets and insults and have even been the objects of political vengeance. What they deserve is the respect and appreciation of the people they have sworn to serve and protect.

This memorial is a fitting tribute to them and a small mark of the gratitude and respect they deserve.

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