Commentary: Not just cops

Wichita Falls, Texas, Chief of Police Manuel Borrego, provides closing remarks during the National Police Week proclamation ceremony, May 15, 2017. National Police Week honors both current and former law enforcement officers as well as officers who’ve paid the ultimate sacrifice. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Kyle E. Gese)

Wichita Falls, Texas, Chief of Police Manuel Borrego, provides closing remarks during the National Police Week proclamation ceremony, May 15, 2017. National Police Week honors both current and former law enforcement officers as well as officers who’ve paid the ultimate sacrifice. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Kyle E. Gese)

Tech. Sgt. Jered Dauterman, 82nd Security Forces Squadron NCO in charge of training, salutes the U.S. flag as it rises to half-staff during the National Police Week proclamation ceremony, May 15, 2017. National Police Week honors both current and former law enforcement officers as well as officers who’ve paid the ultimate sacrifice. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Kyle E. Gese)

Tech. Sgt. Jered Dauterman, 82nd Security Forces Squadron NCO in charge of training, salutes the U.S. flag as it rises to half-staff during the National Police Week proclamation ceremony, May 15, 2017. National Police Week honors both current and former law enforcement officers as well as officers who’ve paid the ultimate sacrifice. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Kyle E. Gese)

Law enforcement officers from the Wichita Falls, Texas, Police Department, raise the U.S. flag to half-staff during the National Police Week proclamation ceremony, May 15, 2017. National Police Week honors both current and former law enforcement officers as well as officers who’ve paid the ultimate sacrifice. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Kyle E. Gese)

Law enforcement officers from the Wichita Falls, Texas, Police Department, raise the U.S. flag to half-staff during the National Police Week proclamation ceremony, May 15, 2017. National Police Week honors both current and former law enforcement officers as well as officers who’ve paid the ultimate sacrifice. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Kyle E. Gese)

The 82nd Security Forces Squadron held a ceremony at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, May 17, 2017, which honored defenders who have made the ultimate sacrifice serving their country. 1st Lt. Bryan Duggan, 82nd SFS operations officer, holds up a picture of Tech. Sgt. Joseph Lemm, a fellow defender who was killed on Dec. 21, 2015, by a suicide bomber. Lemm was assigned to the 105th SFS at Stewart Air National Guard Base, New York. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Robert L. McIlrath)

The 82nd Security Forces Squadron held a ceremony at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, May 17, 2017, which honored defenders who have made the ultimate sacrifice serving their country. 1st Lt. Bryan Duggan, 82nd SFS operations officer, holds up a picture of Tech. Sgt. Joseph Lemm, a fellow defender who was killed on Dec. 21, 2015, by a suicide bomber. Lemm was assigned to the 105th SFS at Stewart Air National Guard Base, New York. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Robert L. McIlrath)

The 82nd Security Forces Squadron held a ceremony at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, May 17, 2017, which honored defenders who have made the ultimate sacrifice serving their country. Senior Airman Earnest Jackson Jr., 82nd SFS combat arms instructor, salutes the battlefield cross, which holds the dog tags of fallen defenders. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Robert L. McIlrath)

The 82nd Security Forces Squadron held a ceremony at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, May 17, 2017, which honored defenders who have made the ultimate sacrifice serving their country. Senior Airman Earnest Jackson Jr., 82nd SFS combat arms instructor, salutes the battlefield cross, which holds the dog tags of fallen defenders. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Robert L. McIlrath)

SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --

Air Force Security Forces Airmen aren’t just cops; they’re heroes.

 

For a long time I took their work for granted and never fully understood the scope of what they deal with to keep us safe every day. If you stay out of trouble -- like I try to -- then you only see Security Forces when you’re driving through the gate, when they pop in for a random building check, or if you’re facing a crisis and really need them for support. Not many outsiders see what it’s like to be a cop on a daily -- or nightly -- basis.

 

Most of my early Air Force career, I never put much thought into it. In fact, most days as I get ready for work, I’m caught up in a mindless routine until I’ve arrived at work and finished my coffee.

 

Every day after I wake up, I start brewing my coffee while I give my dog her breakfast. I then clean up and swiftly throw my uniform on, grab my work bag, bid my pup farewell and start my drive to work; all completely mindless and stuck in the routine.

 

Driving to work is rather monotonous too as I mostly lose myself in my favorite songs while I choke down some still-piping-hot coffee or get caught up with today’s topics on the morning talk show.

 

Recently, it’s been different. This week I chose to stop, shut off the radio and spend some time with myself in thought.

 

As I approached the Sheppard Air Force Base gate on my way to work, I thought, “Security Forces Airmen are the first military people I see every single day.” When I really thought about it, I began to see that often times, they do the smallest things which bring so much joy and positivity to my day.

 

Perhaps it’s a simple greeting, or maybe a brief corny joke and an exchange of laughter. In either case, it’s the cops who contribute to my positive mornings and I am grateful for it.

 

Within the last two years, I’ve become well acquainted with the 82nd Security Forces Squadron and had the opportunity to see some of the challenges they face on a daily basis.

 

They train all the time, they work all the time and they are always ready. They fight two wars: one overseas and one here at home keeping us all safe.

 

This week I took a moment to reflect and think about our military police in honor of National Police Week. I’m grateful for all the little things (like greeting me as they check my ID) and all of the big things they do (like ensuring our base and Airmen are safe and secure every day).

 

Without our defenders, our Air Force would cripple. We wouldn't fly, we wouldn't fight, and we wouldn't win. So thank you Security Forces Airmen. Thank you for everything you do to ensure we can continue to be the worlds greatest Air Force. Whether it’s a Security Forces Airman greeting me at the gate, or a defender saving someone’s life from a real world threat, they are all heroes to me.

 

My heart goes out to all of the families and friends of law enforcement officers whose loved ones paid the ultimate sacrifice in order to keep our jets in the air and our Airmen and assets on the ground safe.