News: 20th SFS, Sumter mark Police Week
SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. – Members of the 20th Security Forces Squadron joined Sumter Police Department and state constables at the Sumter Police Department firing range, S.C., to celebrate Police Week with a pistol tournament, May 18.
Every year in May, the country honors the sacrifices made by a brave few: police officers. To recognize their sacrifices, American flags are flown at half-staff, May 15. This tradition started in 1962 when President John F. Kennedy proclaimed that day to be Peace Officers Memorial Day. It was further declared that the week of that date was to be National Police Week to give awareness to the nation of the hard work policemen do to make communities safer.
“The purpose of Police Week is to recognize the people who are serving the public, those who have retired and the people who have given the ultimate sacrifice,” said Eric E. Kaziska, a member of 20th Security Forces Squadron police officer.
Shaw partnered with local officers and celebrated Police Week with a number of events. There was a golf tournament at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., a memorial service in downtown Sumter, S.C., and a pistol tournament.
“We have different events, but I think that the main focus is to remember those who have fallen, and celebrate their life and what they did for us,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Caitlyn A. Hocott, 20th Security Forces Squadron investigator, and native of Gilbert, Ariz.
Currently this year, 37 police officers have lost their lives in the line of duty which is 49 percent lower than the previous year, according to a website called, “Officers Down Memorial Page.”
“Every day public safety officers work tirelessly to protect our citizens, enforce our laws, and keep our neighborhoods safe,” said President Barack Obama. “They report to duty knowing full well the dangers they face and the sacrifices they may be called upon to make. This week, we pay tribute to the thousands of men and women who serve us with extraordinary bravery, and we remember the heroes who have laid down their lives in pursuit of a safer, more just society.”
Though Police Week is geared towards police officers, the hard work of other uniformed personnel was not forgotten.
“We don’t want to forget anything, ever,” Hocott said. “It’s not just about the police. It’s about anybody who is out here and serves; like the fire department, emergency medical services, and the ambulance services. It’s anyone who supports the effort of saving lives and is willing to give their own to do that.”
Lives are not the only things that are sacrificed. Every day officers make smaller sacrifices and giving up things that others might take for granted in order fulfill their mission to promote peace.
“Police officers and military miss all the important things of home,” Police Lt. Freddie L. Bradshaw, Sumter Police Department narcotics vice unit and volunteer firearms instructor. “We miss holidays, wedding anniversaries, birthdays and all the important things that other people get to have all the time because we are either deployed, working or away from home on an assignment.”
It’s hard for officers and their family, Bradshaw continued. They are constantly in harm’s way and when they leave for work they don’t know if they coming back.
“It’s a stressful job,” said Jim R. Reading, a 20-year South Carolina state constable. “These guys go to work every day knowing they may have to use what is in that holster, and they really don’t want to. The pistol tournament gives them a chance to show off a little bit. Some of them are very good.”
The contests give them a chance to de-stress, relax and enjoy themselves, he added. The pistol tournament allowed officers to demonstrate their skills with the tool of their trade in a stress free environment.
The pistol tournament had two aspects. The main event was where groups of 10 load magazines with six bullets. They then fire at target sheets at various distances and positions.
The other part of the tournament was a plate shooting contest. Small red plates were lined up in a row and the goal was to hit all the plates as fast they can.
“I think it is fun,” Hocott said. “It’s something we all have in common no matter if we come from military, different county police departments or whatever. We all carry a gun. We all serve and protect. Since it is something we all have in common we can all come together and celebrate in this manner.”
“It’s a time for police officers to come together, have a good time and show off their shooting skills,” Bradshaw said. “It’s a chance to build a little camaraderie and a little liaison between groups: the military, the police departments, the constables and the sheriff’s department. It’s just a time for us to get together and relax.”
While many ceremonies and events occurred, the theme remained the same: the police officers and their sacrifices.
“During Peace Officers Memorial Day and Police Week, we recall the selflessness of our law enforcement officers and their families, and we honor all those who devote their lives to forging a stronger, safer America,” Obama said. “Let us reflect on their invaluable contributions as we enjoy the peace they bring to our communities, and let us vow that their service will never be taken for granted.”
Date Posted:06.20.2012 08:29
Location:SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, SC, US
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