One of the best parts of my job is traveling the country and meeting with the men and women of law enforcement. This past week took my colleague Anne Kringen, Law Enforcement Relations Associate, and me to the state of Idaho. We had been invited to speak at the Idaho Sheriffs’ Association’s Winter Conference. Knowing that we were coming to Boise, we scheduled meetings with law enforcement leaders in the area. One specific meeting reminded me just how important our work at the NLEOMF is to our nation’s law enforcement community.
The meeting was with Chief James Bensley of the Garden City Police Department a suburb just north of Boise. Chief Bensley greeted us and listened closely as we discussed the NLEOMF, upcoming National Police Week plans, our latest Research Bulletin and current trends in line of duty deaths. The chief shared memories of visiting the Memorial while attending the FBI’s National Academy and how important he felt the memorial is. We also shared the National Law Enforcement Museum campaign, “A Matter of Honor,” and how it will tell the stories behind the badge and help to educate the public about the history, the service and the sacrifice of America’s law enforcement profession. Chief Bensley listened intently, expressed his support for the project numerous times, and said he would be happy to help out.
Toward the end of the meeting Chief Bensley asked, “Can I show you something?” “Of course,” we replied, and we got up and exited the conference room and headed to the back parking lot. I started to wonder, what could he want to show us out here? They might have a memorial, but they have not lost any officers. Now, I was curious.
We approached several police cars parked there and a crime scene van. My first reaction was to the crime scene van with crime scene tape painted on the side. “Wow, that’s cool,” I thought. The chief said, “Look at the side of the patrol cars, and the upper corner of the van.” Chief Bensley said with great pride, “Every one of our cars has the Rose & Shield proudly displayed.” Now, I was really wowed! In fact, I was speechless, which is a place I rarely find myself, and remember thanking the chief over and over again. What an incredible tribute to the service and sacrifice of all of America’s law enforcement heroes.
As we left the department, still filled with pride with what we just experienced, I turned to Anne and said, “That really says a lot about what we represent.” Imagine being in a relatively small community, some 2,300 miles from the Memorial, and every car on the police department bears the NLEOMF’s Rose & Shield. That really hit home, deep in my emotions, and I was able to reflect on the honor everyone at the NLEOMF has and the respect we share for the service and sacrifice of each and every police officer, sheriff’s deputy, corrections officer, state trooper and special agent that make up America’s law enforcement profession.
As always, thank you Chief Bensley and the men and women of the Garden City Police Department for your dedicated service to your community. Be Safe.