- The Washington Times - Monday, January 5, 2009

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

In response to “Line-of-duty police officer deaths down” (Nation, Dec. 29), the good news that line-of-duty police officer deaths are down for 2008 compared to last year is certainly welcomed. The fact that both gunfire and traffic-related deaths have diminished is encouraging but should not take away the vigilance all law enforcement officers and public-safety personnel need to maintain. Despite the reduction in numbers, the fact remains that when a police officer’s life is lost, it is one life too many.

These officers - male and female - daily put their lives on the line for the safety and security of our communities nationwide. They work long hours, spending a significant amount of their lives on the job. Working the street amidst increasingly dangerous conditions and spending countless hours in court, these officers frequently are apart from their families and have little time to devote to their personal lives. The sacrifices they make - in all respects - are monumental, and they make those sacrifices with unrelenting diligence, sincere dedication and committed professionalism.

The bond that exists among police officers and allied criminal justice personnel unites them as a family as well as a brotherhood. The support they provide one another is an invaluable asset that provides them strength and continued motivation in the totality of their professional pursuits.

When departments and communities across the country experience the loss of an officer, the impact is deep, heartbreaking and enduring. Despite the existent camaraderie and strength in numbers, the tragic loss of any officer brings home the fact that life is uncertain from one moment to the next, and can, by all means, be ever so short.

As 2009 begins, it is a time to reflect and remember the good deeds and heroic acts officers perform on a daily basis in the course of performing their duties. Though they will contend they are merely doing their jobs, these officers are doing much more than that. They make every effort to keep us all out of harm’s way by curtailing criminal activity that can wreak havoc in our lives and produce life-altering victimization. Police officers deserve our sincere and profound gratitude for their selfless acts and all they do.

KAREN L. BUNE

Adjunct professor

Department of Criminal Justice

George Mason University

Fairfax

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