National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day –  January 9th

Let’s remember……

Why did you put your name on the application? The first line, you wrote your name, why?

I remember. Phoenix Police Officer Marc Todd Atkinson, #5930. Marc’s end of watch was March 26th, 1999. I began the academy in September 1999. Thank you Marc. For your service, your sacrifice, and inspiration. You made many other’s lives matter. I am humbled to be on that list.

I remember. the grind of the hiring process. The stress, fear, anxiety, pain, exhaustion, camaraderie, and sheer thrill of the academy. I remember taking the oath and feeling every syllable of every word as it rolled off my tongue. I remember feeling honored and privileged to wear my uniform.

I could restate what we all have heard countless times. It’s a thankless job, pay is too low, hard on family life, and a hundred other negatives. I have too much appreciation to worry about those things. I have too much love and respect for the men and women serving all across this great nation.

Ironically, I almost died in the line of duty on the second anniversary of Marc Atkinson’s death. Five years after that I needed to medically retire.

Almost 20 years later I remember writing my name on that application. It has carried me through some very dark, lonely places. Again, thank you Marc.

I hope all of you who wear a badge will take just a minute today to reflect. Take five minutes. Have a drink with a friend and say it out loud. Tell a kid while on patrol. Climb a mountain and shout it. Go back and remember why you you wrote your name down. Then go back to serving and protecting and honoring those who have gone before you. Let your heart and passion shine brighter than any code 3 light in the world.

Be Safe!

Jason Schechterle

Phoenix PD #7110, Retired

 

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