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This week, our nation will celebrate National Police Week. The formal National Police Officer Day is on Wednesday, and Police Week is the calendar week in which the memorial falls.

The holiday was created on Oct. 1, 1961, when Congress authorized President John F. Kennedy to designate May 15 to honor police officers. President Kennedy signed the bill into law on Oct. 1, 1962.

The purpose of Police Officer Memorial Day and Week is to pay tribute to the local, state and federal law enforcement officers who serve and protect us with courage, bravery and dedication. These observances also may be a reminder to embrace the police and be vigilant and cooperative with the police as we partner with them against all forms of crime.

This week is an opportunity for all citizens to express their sincere gratitude to our police. Our community has been impacted by the unspeakable and senseless tragedies of three fine police officers laying their very lives on the line for us in a short period of time. We as citizens owe a great debt of gratitude to these courageous officers (and their families) for making the “Ultimate Sacrifice” for our well-being and safety!

As a community, I speak for all of us when I say: their sacrifices will never be forgotten and their memories will remain in our hearts and minds forever!

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Please join me this week in honoring all of our active law enforcement officers, and all of their comrades who have died or who have been disabled in the line of duty.

Please take time this week to reflect on the sacrifices made by our devoted police officers as they endeavor to safeguard all of us and our freedoms. Our police officers will and have consistently acted on our behalf regardless of great peril and hazard to themselves. We enjoy a level of peace, safety and freedom that other nations are rightfully envious of as our police enforce our laws.

Perhaps you should consider expressing your appreciation by simply “Thanking a Cop” when you encounter one. Maybe if you see an officer at the restaurant, ask the server if you can pick up the tab (no need to let the officer(s) know who did it). You could also write a letter of appreciation in social media, let others know how you were helped by an officer. Also, consider writing a letter of thanks to the officer (with a copy to his chief) thanking that officer for his/her help by stating what specifically the officer did to help you!

Whatever you do, make sure sometime this week you make it a point to express your sincere gratitude and appreciation to our men and women who proudly wear the badge.

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Bob Duthie serves as the head chaplain for the Blue Knights Law Enforcement Group Chapter XI of Southeastern Wisconsin. Duthie is the rector of All Saints Chapel in Yorkville and is a lifetime member of the International Conference of Police Chaplains.

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