Police officers deserve fairness and respect
By the Rev. Vytas Memenas April 27, 2012 11:14PM
Updated: May 30, 2012 8:03AM
May 15 has been designated by the U.S. Congress as Police Memorial Day. During the month of May we are asked to remember those who sacrificed their life in the line of duty while serving and protecting the citizens of our communities.
On Thursday, the 21st Annual Illinois Police Officers Memorial Day will be celebrated in Springfield, at which time three officers killed in our state will be honored.
The 31st annual Peace Officers Memorial Service will be conducted in our nation’s Capitol May 15. At that time, special tribute will be paid to the 171 men and women of the police force who died in the line of duty nationwide in 2011 (17 more than the previous year).
The 31st annual Will County Law Enforcement Memorial Day will be May 10, with a 10:30 a.m. memorial Mass at St. Mary Magdalene Catholic Church on Briggs Street, followed by a candlelight service at the Will County Law Enforcement Memorial Monument at the Will County Courthouse.
The crime rate is alarming, especially in our big cities, and the public must be reminded that it is the police they call when they are in trouble, not our politicians, who promise less government. Just looking around our state, we can see the Chicago Police Department is short 1,300 officers; Illinois state troopers are down 700, and the city of Joliet is down 60. What is happening to public safety? Is public safety a priority among those who govern us? With active police numbers going down, I think protection is not as secure as it used to be.
In communities all across America, police officers stand on a fine line between freedom and chaos. They are facing a challenge greater than ever before, with their numbers reduced because of the economic crisis. What they ask in return is a fair salary and benefits for themselves and their families. They ask for support from their communities and governments to stand behind their efforts to provide the protection to the public they have sworn to protect.
The sting of death is around all of us, but especially for law enforcement officers. So, let us keep them in our prayers, asking God for special protection as they serve and protect us.
The Rev. Vytas Memenas is chaplain of the Will County Sheriff’s Department and Illinois State Police Troopers Lodge 41.