By William C. Killian, United States Attorney, Eastern District of Tennessee
U.S. residents enjoy a security system like no other country in the world. The system is based on being able to call the police whenever we need them. Help or protection is never too far away. We know that they will come, regardless of the circumstances or potential danger involved.
We go to sleep every night, secure in the knowledge we will be protected from harm. Unlike other countries in the world, we are confident that the police will not come into our homes and take us away without due process of law. As their badges say, they are here to “serve and protect.” They serve regardless of the risk of potential harm to themselves. They have sworn to uphold the law. Their families and friends worry more about them than the officers do themselves. They are proud to serve and never hesitate to answer a call. That is their job, duty and calling in life.
Officers, like so many others, are often called upon to react at a moment’s notice and exhibit the courage and the fortitude to respond to the situation. They do this without thought, hesitation or reservation. Many times they are heroes in everyday situations that are unknown to the public or even their own families. The lack of publicity makes these acts even more courageous.
Unfortunately, a few officers choose to violate the laws that they have sworn to uphold. In these rare occasions, the officers face the same system of justice as anyone else. However, these few officers and the publicity of their wrongful acts should never overshadow nor demean the good name and service of the majority of police officers who serve and protect us daily. We, as a country, are lucky to have almost 700,000 people willing to take risks and endure the criticism and stress of being law enforcement officers.
As the Department of Justice implements its “Community Policing Initiative,” please feel free to offer your suggestions for improvement. Most importantly, please continue to support law enforcement officers and appreciate the sacrifice and service they make every day to ensure safer communities for everyone.