Editorial: 24/7

There are many professions that rely on people risking their lives to help others.

But none are as relentless and all-encompassing as the police force. Sunday, May 15, was Peace Officers Memorial Day and this week is Police Week. It is an appropriate time to consider all Wilton’s town and Connecticut’s state police officers do for us.

It is easy to think police duty in a town like Wilton might be simple. But it is a safe bet people in Newtown might have thought the same the day before 20 first graders were gunned down at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Surely their officers, and the others who raced to assist them, never thought answering such a call would be part of their job. But it was.

Most of us have a pretty good idea what our day will be like. But a police officer never knows what the day will hold when he or she reports for duty. Their skills must be vast. A simple traffic stop can suddenly turn ugly. Responding to domestic violence calls can be unpredictably dangerous. Officers must be prepared to apprehend criminals, render first aid, respond to motor vehicle accidents, defuse neighbor disputes, perform search and rescue, attempt to help overdose victims, keep our students safe and notify next of kin that a loved one has died unexpectedly. They must make split-second decisions that can mean the difference between life and death.

They must be brave, impartial, compassionate, and perform their job with a sense of justice, and when possible, a sense of humor.

But this can take a terrible toll on some police officers. More police officers take their own lives than are killed by criminals or traffic accidents. The stress of their job and the shifts they work can strain marriages and family life.

Still, there are many who answer the call for a career in law enforcement, and for that we should be thankful. Wilton’s officers may be a bit reserved, but that should not stop you from saying thank you for all they do.

Community members will have a chance to share a cup of coffee and a donut with Wilton’s officers on Friday, June 3, from 8 to 10 a.m. at Dunkin’ Donuts, 35 Danbury Road. It will be a great opportunity to get to know some of them.