Officers deserve greater appreciation. We resent them too often because they have power over us. Kirmelewicz put it this way: “The public loves to hate the police until they become victims of crimes, and then police officers are given the appreciation and respect that they deserve.”
It’s not that we should idealize police. No one is perfect, and it’s clear that some police officers abuse their power at times. And at times, it can be hard to know exactly where to draw the line between respecting authority and standing up for yourself. But at the end of the day, the majority of police officers must endure outrageous risks with great courage for little reward. And for this, police deserve our appreciation, for they seem to possess a “Knightly Devotion” gene that most of us just don’t have.
Studies show that police work leaves men and women vulnerable to significant job stress-related illnesses: http://dld.bz/cEket. And our lack of appreciation for their willingness to risk life and limb when protecting us from the darker side of life adds to police job stress.
I’d like to close this article by remembering those killed and harmed during and after the marathon bombings. And, in addition, just one of many other police officers who died in the line of duty. After 26 years of service, and just days before his retirement in April 2012, Greenland, N.H., police Chief Michael Maloney was killed during a drug raid he didn’t have to participate in. He left a wife and children.
Every community should honor its police annually, and doing so is long overdue. Let’s give police and firefighters our gratitude. Appreciation goes a long way.
Dr. Jim Manganiello is a clinical psychologist and diplomate-level medical psychotherapist based in Groveland and West Boxford. He is also an author and teacher focusing on stress, personal growth, meditation and “inner fitness.” His book “Unshakable Certainty” is available on Amazon. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.drjimmanganiello.com.