When we show gratitude for the police in our lives; we reduce our own fears while, at the same time, support and bolster the morale of the police officers in our family and in our community.
How to thank and support police officers:
- Humanize Law Enforcement by sharing positive police interactions on social media.
- Bring food or coffee to your local detachment.
- Say thank you in person, by letter or email.
- Learn about the different types of police work.
- Attend police fundraisers, memorials and other events.
You don’t have to be related to a Law Enforcement Officer (LEO) to experience anxiety on behalf of these hardworking individuals.
But for those of us who call an officer; wife, husband, mom, dad, brother or sister, the anxiety can be particularly difficult to deal with.
Why Thank a Police Officer?
It’s a small thing for a civilian to take a moment to show some gratitude, but if enough of us do it, it could make all the difference for our officers.
It’s not easy being a cop and interest in policing as a career is dropping across North America.
In this City Journal article from February 2020; Charles Fein Lehman reports police recruiting is on the decline in the United States and that one of the reasons is the difficult psychological challenges officers face.
“It’s not really attractive when what we’re saying is: ‘Hey, come and be a police officer. We don’t have enough resources, we’re in a crisis in terms of mental health and wellness, and you can make the same or more money if you go into other sectors.”Tom Stamatakis – President of the Canadian Police Association
How does practicing gratitude help with anxiety?
In the article; The Neuroscience of Gratitude and How It Affects Anxiety & Grief, by psychiatric counsellor, Madhuleena Roy Chowdhury, BA, we learn that;
“At a neurobiological level, gratitude regulates the sympathetic nervous system that activates our anxiety responses, and at the psychological level, it conditions the brain to filter the negative ruminations and focus on the positive thoughts.”
“Gratitude practices are especially effective for treating phobias like death anxiety, PTSD, social phobia, and nihilism.”
She goes on to say that;
“Gratitude is about feeling the right way, about the right things, and at the right time. It is inseparably linked with self-discipline and motivation.
“It may not give us instant relief from pain and stress, but it brings the feeling of control back to us.”
The Best Ways to Say Thank You to a Police Officer
With two close relatives currently serving as police officers, I know how much they appreciate receiving thanks and support from the people they help.
Based on my conversations with them and the research I’ve done, here are five great ways to say thank you to a police officer:
1. Share positive police experience with friends, family and on social media.
If you have a positive interaction with a police officer, record and share it! Post a photo or a video on social media or at the very least, tell someone your story.
To say Law Enforcement is not receiving fair representation in the media is to grossly understate the exclusion of good police work and the hypnotizing effect of heavy-handed editing and biased news reporting.
Help balance the scales and post your experience!
Speak up when someone is discriminating against all law enforcement.
The permeating and fallacious “no cop is a good cop” mindset is causing fear among police supporters, as more of us are hesitating to openly advocate for the officers who truly do serve and protect.
Most rational human beings do not want to live in a community without a functioning police force.
Rebecca, blogger at proudpolicewife.com has some great suggestions for thank-yous involving the whole family.
From rock painting to recipes to advice, her site is a great resource for police families and their supporters.
2. Show your gratitude, buy a cop a coffee.
Ellen Kirschman, Ph.D., a psychologist who has been counseling police officers and their families for 30 years, says that police “routinely underestimate the support and respect they have in their communities” and that people could do a much better job of showing their support.
Something as simple as buying an officer a slice of pizza or dropping off a few refreshments at your local detachment can go a long way toward showing appreciation and support.
Or, given the recent pandemic, gift cards to your local coffee shop or restaurant might be a better option.
3. Say thank you to the police in person, by letter or email.
Just simply saying “thanks” whether in person or through a letter or an email can carry a lot of meaning for an officer.
I asked one of my relatives how she’s been thanked for her service. This is what she said;
“I’ve personally been thanked by letter and in person – either regarding a specific case I’ve worked on or just for being a police officer in general. I’ve been given a wave or a beep when in uniform.”
“When I get feedback like this, I am grateful and completely appreciate it! The best is when I’ve assisted someone directly and I can see how much it meant for me to help them, how much it meant for them to be treated with respect and kindness.”
Involve your children in practicing gratitude for the police and other front line workers. Not only will this provide a great lesson for the kids, receiving thanks from a child is a very special thing and will mean a lot to the officers.
My son and I recently visited our local police stations to show our appreciation.
We painted rocks for the detachment gardens and gave thank you notes stuffed with gift cards for coffee.
The officers were so surprised and very thankful. It was emotional seeing just how surprised they were.
Clearly visits like ours do not happen often.
4. Learn about the different types of police work and what the job actually entails.
For several reasons, an officer may be limited when it comes to sharing details of their jobs with the public. The onus lies on civilians to educate themselves.
“They see abused kids, they see dead bodies, they see horrible traffic accidents. And what that means is that the traumatic events and stressful events kind of build on one another… If you have to put a bulletproof vest on before you go to work, that’s an indication you’re already under the possibility of being shot or killed. So all of these things weigh heavily on the psyche and over time, they hurt the officers.”John Violanti, 23 Year Police Veteran and Professor at University of Buffalo
I know first-hand that LEOs appreciate any effort geared toward understanding what it is they truly do.
Visit your local detachment or if that isn’t possible, check out their website.
Our local police post individual incidents on their media page for the public to see, along with a subscribe option so people can remain up to date on policing in their communities.
Educate others and encourage them to take advantage of police transparency. That information is there for a reason!
It only takes a few minutes of reading to gain perspective and gather facts on what being a LEO is really about.
Don’t fall victim to the singular “bad cop” narrative that flashes endlessly on our social media and mainstream news loop.
Visit other online resources and publications. Here is a list to get you started:
If you are interested in gaining more information on a case that has been in the media, inquire with your local detachment or even just check their website to learn how to access more information.
Unknown to most people, many closed cases are of public record and can (and should) be accessed.
5. Attend police fundraisers, memorials and other events.
Large, formal police events such as galas or memorial services offer high-profile support and recognition for LEOs, however, attending may not be a feasible option for many people.
Consider showing up for smaller, more casual events like Coffee With a Cop. If one doesn’t exist in your area, create one yourself. The website gives clear, easy instructions on how to do so.
These meet-ups are such a great way to show your thanks and get to know your local officers face to face.
Gratitude is the Key.
Just for a moment, imagine yourself in their shoes. Going to work every day or night, not knowing what dangers are in store for you and in exchange you receive hate or at best indifference from the people you are protecting.
We need to share our love for those that protect, so that others can see all sides to every story.
These people risk their lives for us and are taken for granted every single day.
In this time of anxiety, hate, hidden truths, half truths and downright lies, the easiest way to cooperation and understanding is through gratitude.
“Gratitude drives happiness. Happiness boosts productivity. Productivity reveals mastery. And mastery inspires the world”.Robin Sharma
We want our officers to have mastery. For everyone’s sake.
There are many ways to say thank you to the police in your life. They need our support, don’t wait, show your gratitude today.