Chuck Canterbury, national president of the Fraternal Order of Police, knows that a little thanks can go a long way, which is why the FOP is spreading the word about National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day this year.
“I am calling on all Americans in every region of the country to support the FOP National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day on Saturday, Jan. 9,” Canterbury said. “You hear it said all the time – ours is a thankless job, but it doesn’t have to be. Everyone knows of an encounter, a brief moment or simple thank you that brightened up their day. This also true of police, so this Jan. 9, let’s make an effort to make sure these brave men and women know they are appreciated for all that they do for us.”
Fort Payne Police Chief Randy Bynum said police officers have a demanding and dangerous job.
“Officers are very, very underappreciated — until somebody needs them,” said Bynum, laughing. “They have to do it for the love of the job, because it’s definitely not for the money. The city of Fort Payne has always been very good to us, don’t get me wrong, but as a whole, law enforcement is underpaid for a job that can be demanding and dangerous.”
Local police officer David Barnes has worked for the Fort Payne Police Department for 21 years, which means his wife, Denice Barnes, has experienced firsthand the generosity and perseverance policemen exhibit.
“They take that to heart when someone comes up to them and thanks them,” she said. “I know we’ve been sitting in restaurants where someone would come up and our meal would be paid, and they would walk up to him and say ‘thank you for your service.’ He just lights up because it lets him know that people still appreciate what he does.”
Denice Barnes works at Section City Hall and said she sees officers go above and beyond to help people every day.
“I’ve seen them go out of their way for someone that is in need,” she said. “Our police officer here, I’ve seen him feed homeless people. I don’t think the job ever ends for them. I think it’s 24/7 because even with David what I’ve seen is that it never shuts off.”
Denice Barnes said she would like to thank her husband and all police officers for their time, and she encourages everyone to thank a cop this weekend.
“If you walk up to someone, at least tell them you appreciate them,” she said.
The FOP urges its members, families and friends to “back the blue” as well as visit and like the National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day’s Facebook page.
Some ways you can show your appreciation:
• Change your profile picture on social media to support law enforcement.
• See a police officer? Thank a police officer.
• Wear blue clothing in support of law enforcement.
• Send a card of support to your local police department or state agency.
• Share a positive story about a law enforcement experience on social media.
• Ask children in your community to write letters in support of law enforcement.
“Every day, police officers show up to work and put their lives on the line for us, and not all of them always get home. Two simple words: thank you,” Canterbury said. “They cost nothing and mean a great deal. Thank a cop on Jan. 9.”