Early this morning near Gorst in Kitsap County, a Washington State Patrol officer lost his life during a routine traffic stop. Sometimes I wonder if we appreciate police officers as much as we should. These men and women literally put their lives on the line every time they hit the streets to protect us. The median salary for police patrol officers in the US is $49,870 per year. Do you think they are paid enough for what they do for us? I can honestly say, in my opinion, NO they are not.
The risks are real and the statistics are downright scary when you look at them. In 2010, 160 police officers were killed in the line of duty in the U.S. That was 37% higher than the previous year. In fact, in five of the last ten years, the number of officer deaths has topped 160. That made the first decade of this century almost as dangerous for police officers as the 1970s when street war violence took about 200 lives per year (Christian Science Monitor). It's truly more dangerous than ever for police officers on our streets today.
When you get pulled over for going too fast, how do you feel as you watch the officer approach your car? Terrified, right? At least I do, remembering those rare occasions when it's happened to me. But put yourself in the police officer's shoes for a moment. As he/she approaches your car, they have no idea who you are. They've checked your plate for outstanding warrants and violations, but as far as he or she knows, you could be one of the bad guys. I can imagine the things that go through their mind as they walk up to the window and ask you for your license and car registration. As the officer scans the inside of your car and YOU, he/she is sizing you up and determining if you pose a threat. Most of the time, a police officer is alone as all of this is happening. So as scared as you are of the police officer, he or she can't help feeling the adrenaline flowing until it's determined that you are not a threat. I would not want to be in the police officer's shoes for any amount of money. In an instant, a nut can pull a gun and end the officer's life. Now, think again about the question I asked earlier...are police officers paid enough for what they do? How much is enough for these guys who put their lives on the line to protect us every single day? You can't put a price on something like that. In my opinion, they'll never be paid enough for what they risk every day.
Please remember the fallen veteran of the Washington State Patrol who lost his life early Thursday morning in Kitsap county. Let's all pray for his family at this difficult time.
[photo by olycopwatchphoto]