A Salute to Heroes: Celebrating National Police Week

National Police Week is celebrated May 14th through May 20th to honor the dedication, bravery, and unwavering commitment of the men and women who wear the badge. This annual commemoration is a reminder of the sacrifices made by our law enforcement officers, who, day in and day out, stand as our communities' first line of defense.

Every police officer begins their day with the fact that they might be called upon to face danger, to protect a life, or to keep the peace. Their uniform isn't just a piece of clothing; it's a symbol of courage, service, and public trust. These individuals are our neighbors, friends, and family members and have chosen a profession that puts others' safety above their own. For that, they deserve the highest level of respect and gratitude. 

National Police Week is an important opportunity for us to reflect on the critical role that police officers play in our society. They are the guardians of our communities committed to maintaining order, upholding justice, and ensuring the safety of each citizen. Their job is a 24/7 responsibility and they do not get to stop protecting us on holidays, weekends or in middle of the night. They are always there ready for the call.

It takes a certain kind of person to wear the badge and many have their own reasons as to why they wanted to enter the profession, despite the danger and risks.

When asked why he pursued a career in law enforcement, Assistant Minority Leader and State Representative John Cabello, a detective with a Rockford area Police Department, said: “The reason why I wanted to get into law enforcement is the opportunity to help people who normally can’t help themselves. We get to help the elderly, the children, the disabled, especially and unfortunately when they are victims of crime. When you see someone at their worst because they are either a victim of crime or having some sort of an episode, we can get in there and bring calm to the chaos.”

When asked the same question, Representative Dennis Tipsword, the Chief Deputy with the Woodford County Sheriff’s office, said “From a very young age, I had decided that a career in law enforcement was something that I would be interested in. It is the one job that you can make an immediate difference in someone’s life moment to moment. I felt like helping folks is something that I really wanted to do which made my decision, from nearly 30 years ago, to get into law enforcement a perfect career path for me.”

Please take a moment some point during this week to recognize the countless acts of heroism that often go unnoticed and under-rewarded. Do not hesitate to express gratitude to your local police officers by telling them 'thank you’, participating in a local police appreciation event, or simply sharing a positive story about a law enforcement officer on social media. These gestures, no matter how small, go a long way in showing our support and appreciation for their essential work.

Thank you to police officers across Illinois for your unlimited dedication to the profession and the communities you represent. Your service certainly doesn't go unnoticed, and every week – not just National Police Week – we stand with you.