There is a standing saying around our house when someone is feeling blue, we hold our arms open and say “Does someone need a hug?” It seems like the law enforcement folks in our country could use a big hug. In fact, that was what 12 year old Devonte Hart of Portland, Oregon thought when he stood in front of a police blockade holding a sign that read Free Hugs!! Devonte’s message wasn’t directed specifically towards the police as much as it was to the crowd in an attempt to ease tensions. He ended up getting more than he bargained for from his Free Hug sign. The photo went viral on social media and CNN even picked up the story. Turns out, Devonte is not alone, there seems to be a movement afoot to support our men and women in blue. After the recent bad press and hostility directed towards the police I too feel like giving them a hug.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average starting salary for police officers is $33,030. The highest wages are paid in States like New Jersey and California where some police officers make around $42 per hour or $87,000 per year with an average salary coming in at approximately $56,000. When you think about someone making $33,000 a year, you wonder why they would put their life on the line every day. Obviously, it isn’t about the money.
Clearly, it must be a calling of the highest order. The widely used oath embraced by the International Association of Chiefs of Police reads, “On my honor, I will never betray my badge, my integrity, my character or the public trust. I will always have the courage to hold myself and others accountable for our actions. I will always uphold the Constitution, my community, and the agency I serve.”
Police officers are dealing with drug overdoses, mental illness, domestic violence, street gangs and a multitude of other crimes all in a day’s work. Add to this the pressure of making a split second decision when you are uncertain what lies behind a closed door. You have to respect them for what they do and appreciate their commitment to our safety and protection. I don’t know about you but I freak out and start swatting when a spider crawls on me let alone someone in a dark alley with his/her hand in their pockets.
So to all you police officers out there, I salute you! Give an Officer a HUG today is a movement and I can get on board with it how about you? #hugacop Jodi Cross is a marketing strategist, speaker and writer and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.