Thursday, September 7, 2017

September 7th, 2017 | Update on Thank a Police Officer Day on Delmarva

On July 19th I wrote a note which provided a brief description about a date coming up in September. Although it was a little early to put out all the details I hoped to reach some new folks this year and also make sure that everyone had time to get involved with our efforts, and despite a slow start some of the folks who have been involved for the past year or two voiced their support again for this year. I felt pretty hopeful that we’d find more interested parties along with way but July faded away and August came and went and no one seemed interested. Some of the people I had been connected to backed away from the project, leaving me to wonder if it was reluctance to participate with a public effort and perhaps they preferred to plan their own type of event. Which is great; the hope is just that our officers are recognized and it certainly doesn’t need to be with us or anything of the sort. While the thoughts of perhaps being able to visit every department across the Delmarva Peninsula was probably a bit ambitious, the goal was to at least connect again with each of the 70+ agencies from 2016. And suddenly, it was the day after Labor Day and I began to doubt we’d even make that number.

I caught sight of this post (above) last week and shared it with some thoughts, hoping that I wasn’t alone: “Maybe this is a sign. I started thinking this weekend that maybe treats and cards and things like that don't really matter.....that maybe I'm too hung up on wanting to acknowledge our officers on the 16th, because after all, many of you already do that, often and throughout the year. Thinking maybe this is just one day and it's not that significant, despite hearing constantly from people that they never heard of Thank a Police Officer Day, or they had no idea how to connect or do something for their department. Seriously. People tell me that ALL the time, just as often as they ask what a Blue Line flag means or why I have a thin blue line across the back of my car. So Thank a Police Officer Day for me, turned into sort of a platform of sorts and a chance to reach out to folks who are excited to learn of are things they can do and ideas to involve their kids, classrooms, etc. And then I think of the many times I've had someone stop me to say thank you for that blue line on your car ( have a job with too little respect and long hours and stress, and you are thanking me for the sticker on my car??), or someone who passed our house and said I'm an officer in Baltimore and we love seeing your yard sign about supporting the police, or watched an officer sort of wipe at their eyes watching a group of kids come in to sing for them.....and I feel that no matter how small or large of a gesture is offered, I think it matters that we DO SOMETHING. Maybe it's cheesy, or silly in some way, but because some people are willing to risk their lives for others each and every day, I say it matters. Thank you to those who are excited and share enthusiasm about this project. YOU are keeping me going, even if I am annoying the hell out of everyone right now and feeling like I want to quit asking and sending emails and reminding people.....because I still believe it matters that we do this.” A few friends chimed in to confirm that indeed, things did matter, and yet....all the contacts and calls and letters had still gone mostly unnoticed.

What some of you may think or have come to believe, is that a Facebook page created an “online event” built around someone else’s national observance and that’s all there is to this. But while the public Thank A Police Officer Day on Delmarva is to inform and pass on the details of this date, behind the scenes there is a private planning group working on the visits, cards, meals and ways to thank their local departments. So many wonderful people - from all walks of life and every type of employment have come forward once again to say “yes, this is important to us and we want to let our LEO’s know we care” - and that’s what it’s all about. Teachers and small business owners, civic groups and medical offices, libraries and churches have all stepped up to say sure, our group wants to adopt a local PD. It’s not about the money, because somehow, it seems that a visit from a group of kids can have a pretty significant effect and yet you can’t buy that - it’s not about how much is planned or done because sometimes we just need to stop and take the the time to look around at those who are selfless and dedicated and say THANK YOU.

A few more people dropped out last week, or without saying a word, let me know with their silence how they felt about participating. It stung, because while sending out over 100 press releases and snail mail letters, emails and messages, I wasn’t seeing much interest there either. Yesterday I had a dentist appointment and afterwards, when I got in my car, I just sat in the parking lot and cried. Frustration at the apathy I was seeing and a feeling of being alone just made me want to quit, and I told myself that if even just a few people spoke up in the next day; that if even one news publication actually posted the information; that would prove we could do this. And then, within the last 24 hours things began to change. First one of the organizations which had adopted several departments was on the news, and mentioned what they were doing. The information made it into an article and now we had one piece of material.....that could perhaps invite more, and then a local news site posted the press release on their website. Several of the group members began to share their ideas for the 16th, posted photos and explained what they were planning. Suddenly I had the few votes of support I’d hoped for......

I don’t want anyone to tell me this is nice or anything like that. I am not the one putting on a badge everyday.....your police officers are. All I’m asking is that members of our community step forward and show their appreciation and support for the men and women who serve and protect. If you prefer to do it your own way that is great; there’s no reason you need be involved with our group and if you have plans and wish do your own thing, that’s awesome too. Just please, please don’t let another week slide by without doing something. Every time a tragedy happens, the emotions and offers of kindness slide across the internet and people say, “but what can we do?” You can get involved, fly a thin blue line flag, place a blue ribbon in your yard, deliver coffee and donuts or make sure an agency has lunch served to them on the 16th. What you can do is take the time to let our officers know they are appreciated.

DSLEO was created to acknowledge local police officers and departments
across the Delmarva Peninsula(eastern shore areas of Maryland and
Virginia and the state of Delaware). We thank all who serve and protect.
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