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Appreciating our law enforcement every day

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We often don’t think of what it’s like to be a police or sheriff’s officer as we go about our daily lives.

Probably 99 percent of us are oblivious to the dangers that our neighbors who are employed by the police department or Sheriff's Office face.

While most of us only worry about meeting our budgets or deadlines, our public-safety neighbors worry whether someone will pull a knife on them or point a gun toward them during their workday.

The 99 percent of us will probably have another day at the job this week.

Unfortunately, public-safety personnel don’t have that luxury. They know that their life could end any time they answer a call.

According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, 514 officers throughout the country were fatally shot from 2008 to 2017. The second leading cause of death for officers was car crashes, involving 364 officers.  

Firearms-related fatalities took the lives of 52 officers in 2018, the national organization said, which is a 13-percent increase from 46 officers killed in firearms-related incidents in 2017.

In Northern California, an officer has died each month for the last six months, according to Lincoln Police Chief Doug Lee. Three of those officers were murdered, two were killed in vehicle accidents and one officer committed suicide while on duty.

Ten days into 2019 and 22-year-old Davis Police Officer Natalie Corona became the first officer fatality in California. She is one of three law enforcement officers nationally to be fatally shot in 2019. And it is just a handful of days into the new year.

Less than 40 miles from here, Officer Corona was unexpectedly gunned down by a bicyclist passing by as she responded to a multiple car crash.

Trying to help the accident victims, Officer Corna became a victim herself by a suspect who was not allowed to own guns because of his prior battery conviction.        

We forget that law-enforcement officers, charged with protecting us every minute of the day, put their lives in jeopardy the minute they put on their uniforms.

It often takes a senseless act, such as the Jan. 10 ambushing of Officer Corona, to make us remember what our law enforcement officials do for us.

The horrendous Dec. 10 shooting of Officer Corona showed us in real time possible consequences that happen when wearing an officer’s badge.

Five nights later, our Placer County officers were put in a  similarly unspeakable situation. On Tuesday night, officers were in close proximity to a suspect who had shot at a handful of victims, killing one of them. The suspect shot a Sheriff’s K-9 as officers tried to restrain the suspect from harming anyone else.

So we want to thank our public-safety officers for the sacrifices they make for us every minute they’re working. Officers never know if today will be the day that they lose their lives protecting us.

We have to be cognizant of what law enforcement endures 365 days a year, not just in times of heartbreaking shootings.