GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - Every day, law enforcement officers hit the streets to try and protect our community. January 9 is National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day, a day dedicated to saying 'thank you' to all of the people who work to keep civilians safe around the country.
"With this job its tough, it's the unknown," said Glen Hunter, a trooper with the Colorado State Patrol. Hunter has been with CSP for over two decades, and in 2001 he moved from Glenwood Springs to the Grand Valley.
Hunter said there have been scenes that have changed him forever, and that it's difficult to reassure family members when leaving for work. "It's emotional and difficult sometimes with your younger children, to explain that to them that I'll be okay. But you know, a promise is a promise and you've got to try and keep what you can keep," said Trooper Hunter.
Even though officers are there for people on such traumatic days, their work can often go unnoticed, which is why Sara Donaldson decided to start the citizen group Back the Badge. "A thankless job and we wanted to give back with training, public safety, helping kids locally and nationally that have lost parents in the line of duty, and this is the best way that we knew how," said Donaldson, the chair of Back the Badge.
Those with Back the Badge hope the group creates a space for individuals to connect with law enforcement officials. "Too often every interaction that we have with law enforcement isn't a positive interaction, but I wanted to create more opportunities for positive interactions," said Jake Aubert, a board member for Back the Badge.
In order to acknowledge the work of law enforcement officials today, those with the Grand Junction Police Department recommend doing something small, like sending a thank you note or shaking an officer's hand. "A day like Law Enforcement Appreciation Day is a great reminder to let the community know that it's worth it, it's worth it to say thank you," said Heidi Davidson, the public information coordinator for the Grand Junction Police Department.
Even though Trooper Hunter said he's not in this job for the thanks, some recognition of the hard work all officers do could brighten his day. "I do what I do because I care," said Trooper Hunter.
Back the Badge will host an event called Boots and Badges on January 27 at Warehouse 2565. It is a benefit concert for the organization. To purchase tickets, visit the Warehouse 2565 website.
To learn more about Back the Badge, visit their website.