As a retired police chief and member of FEMA’s team, I want to kick off National Police Week by personally thanking the law enforcement community. Like many officers serving now, I became a police officer to serve and protect the rights, freedoms and privileges embraced by this great nation. As FEMA’s Senior Law Enforcement Advisor I have the honor of continuing that service to our nation and strive to cultivate liaisons between law enforcement agencies, organizations and the community.
National Police Week occurs each year and recognizes the service and sacrifice of law enforcement officers nationwide. This week, we pay special recognition to those law enforcement officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty for the safety and protection of others.
As a nation we rely on law enforcement officers every day to provide for the safety and security of our communities and during times of crisis or disaster. The law enforcement community is an important member of the first responder and emergency management team and FEMA is committed to supporting our law enforcement officers as they support their communities during emergencies and disasters. When disasters strike, an officer’s primary function is to make sure the community is safe to operate in and then to stabilize the community by supporting emergency operations including emergency communications, search and rescue operational support, and other lifesaving missions. This first mission is critical - it enables the rest of the emergency management team to do their jobs. Whether it’s responding to a hurricane, flood, or other disaster… police are often first on the scene and secure the areas so further help can arrive.
Responding to disasters requires a team and at FEMA we strive to provide opportunities to support first responders through things like training and grant programs:
- Training provides law enforcement officers and other responders with the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to perform key tasks required by specific capabilities. Through FEMA’s National Training and Education Division, law enforcement organizations can utilize FEMA’s training programs often at little to no cost. For example, the Emergency Management Institute and Center for Domestic Preparedness are longstanding resources for training first responders.
- One resource and tool to help emergency responders and first responders like police officers is the Responder Knowledge Base website that serves as a trusted online source of information on products, standards, certifications, grants, and other equipment-related information. Specifically, the Law Enforcement Focus Area provides emergency responders with specific information related to law enforcement in a centralized location for standards, certifications, grants, training & education, publications, and other resources related to law enforcement.
So join me in saying “thank you” to those in law enforcement. Stop by your local police station this week and share your appreciation. The trip doesn’t have to be longer than a few minutes, but it would certainly make their day to know those in the community appreciate their efforts.
For more info on National Police Week, visit policeweek.org.