On Saturday, Sept. 17, about 2 p.m., a family comprising a mom and dad, along with two little girls, came into the lobby of the Forest Park Police Station. The older of the two girls led the foursome through the door with a bundle of blue cards in her hand. The older girl slid the cards over to the communications officer. 

The parents explained that their girls wanted to thank our officers for the job they do every day. The officer thanked them, as the encounter was brief, and the family walked out with smiles on their faces. The officer, not really knowing what he had received from the family, took a moment to read the first card of a stack of about 30 of what appeared to be hand-cut, laminated cards, as each one looked just a little different but possessed the same print.

What was on the reproduced card was a portion of a piece written by a police officer’s wife, whose passion for humanizing the badge was first published on Jan. 25, 2015. It was inspired by an open letter to the law enforcement community, describing the constant tests of an officer’s patience and courage on a daily basis. Cops are expected to make split-second decisions, while not knowing all of the facts at the time, in tense, uncertain and rapidly-evolving circumstances. They must trust their gut to do what they think is the right thing to do. 

What an immense responsibility to place on a human being. In today’s society, people have become too quick to judge officers, before letting an investigation into the facts and circumstances of a critical police-involved incident be adequately and thoroughly examined. Facts don’t seem to be taken into account anymore.

So it is refreshing that some people recognize that those working in law enforcement are also human beings, just trying to stay sane as they are constantly stigmatized for doing their job. Cops aren’t looking for any sympathy, but a little respect would go a long way.  

We would like to thank this family. If anyone knows who this amazing family is, please let them know that the police department employees from the village of Forest Park truly appreciate their kindness, insight and support. If these two little kids, along with mom and dad, seem to know what the right thing to do is, maybe we can learn a thing or two from them.       

Attached is a picture of one of the laminated cards.

Mike Keating

 Forest Park Police Department, Deputy Chief