The emotion of National Police Week

Pensions Benefit Report

I had the privilege to attend National Police Week in Washington, D.C. during the second week of May. I have been fortunate to attend this celebration of law enforcement for the past few years.

This year, I was struck by the number of law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty, as well as the number of names that were etched into the wall at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. Unfortunately, too many names have been etched into the wall in the last few years.

But this year, I could not help but see the varying forms of emotions by our brothers and sisters in uniform, and the families of the fallen officers. If you are reading this article and you have not attended National Police Week, I strongly encourage you to attend. The events of Police Week — standing on the streets of Washington alongside the families and loved ones of officers from around the country, participating in the Police Unity Tour and riding for the fallen officers, walking through the Memorial and celebrating the lives of the officers who made the ultimate sacrifice — are a roller coaster of emotions that made me prouder than ever to be a law enforcement officer in the State of New Jersey.

I also had the privilege of attending the National Association of Police Organizations’ annual Top Cop awards. Sitting in the audience in the presence of true heroes was an honor. Listening to stories and watching videos chronicling their fearless actions under intense and difficult calls for service was extraordinary.

While sitting in the audience, one of the recipients of a Top Cop award said something that stood out among the speeches and accolades that these warrior officers deserve. The officer made a point to thank his union and its members. He made sure to thank them for their support and their help with assisting him and his fellow officers involved in that specific incident regarding their mental health and debriefing the situation.

It is moments like these when I am most proud to be a union member of the New Jersey State PBA. The members of the New Jersey State PBA go above and beyond for their members in need. Whether it is for a critical incident, for mental health assistance or legal protection, they are there for the members. The mental health of our members is paramount to maintaining their management of the stressors of our jobs.

After wrapping up another year attending Police Week, I have a newfound appreciation for the men and women who make up law enforcement across the country and the sacrifices they make every day.