Paying tribute to our brave protectors for National Police Week

The past week has been a memorable one for officers everywhere, with National Police Week just concluded.  This week is set aside to pay tribute to both active and fallen officers who have risked their lives to keep the peace.  From a national event in Washington, D.C. to other tributes across the U.S., it's been a week where people have given thanks to these brave officers.

I thought I would take the time to pay respects to a certain few who have risked life and limb for the safety of others.  Whether they are with us or gearing up for their next shift, these officers have done so much for us, so I thought they would be worthy of mention.  Of course, there are thousands of others who deserve a salute as well, and I'm more than happy to give them one.

First off, I want to give mention to Aaron Salter, Jr., who served as a 30-year veteran of the Buffalo Police Department.  He recently retired and took a job as a security guard in a Buffalo supermarket — the same one, sadly, that came under fire this past Saturday, resulting in the deaths of 10 people.  Among them was Salter, who confronted the suspect and did not hesitate to open fire, giving his own life in the process.  This is a true definition of a hero, selflessly risking it all to keep others safe in a time of crisis.

There's more where that came from.  Even the smaller acts of heroism deserve mention during this week-long event.  This past Friday in Atlanta, a police officer ran into a terrifying moment during his routine patrol.  He found a vehicle blowing its horn and flickering its hazard lights.  When he got the car to safety, a female approached him, panicking since her four-month old child wasn't breathing. 

The officer, Robert Oden, began by checking the child's pulse.  He quickly notified dispatch and performed CPR on the child.  Anyone can tell you that performing CPR on a much younger child is very different from a regular adult.  Fortunately, while keeping calm and focused, Oden was able to resuscitate the child.  Shortly thereafter, he handed the child to Grady EMS services for further treatment at a local hospital.

Surprisingly enough, this was all captured on bodycam footage, which can be viewed here.  It might be a little stressful for some to watch, but it's absolutely amazing watching this everyday SWAT officer leap into action and save this child's life.  That's going above and beyond the call of duty.

But we shouldn't be limiting tributes to National Police Week to the typical officers — it covers everyone that's doing his duty.  And it's here that I want to discuss a heroic police dog by the name of Zero.

Zero performed a remarkable feat in Aberdeen, Washington this past Thursday.  Working alongside the Grays Harbor Drug Task Force, Zero was able to detect a large quantity of drugs from the trunk of a car.  We're talking three kilos of methamphetamine.

The Aberdeen Police Department expressed its gratitude to Zero and officer Brandi Slater on the bust.  "Officer Slater and K9 'Zero' assisted with searching several vehicles and locations during this operation," the post reads.  "Great work Officer Slater and K9 'Zero'!"

In the face of the changing times, not everyone will see National Police Week the same way I do.  But based on the three examples I noted above (including, again, the heartbreaking one that's made all sorts of headlines over the weekend), you can see to what extent these officers go to help others.  Whether it's assisting with a drug bust, helping save an infant's life, or even facing down the barrel of a gun to assure the safety of others, these officers deserve nothing less than the greatest of tributes.

Michael Letts is the Founder, President, and CEO of In-Vest USA, a national grassroots non-profit organization that is helping hundreds of communities provide thousands of bulletproof vests for their police forces through educational, public relations, sponsorship, and fundraising programs. Those interested in learning more about Letts can visit his official website here.

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