Commentary by Senior Master Sgt. Corey Miller
21st Security Forces Squadron
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — In 1962, President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation designating May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week in which that date falls as Police Week. Currently, tens of thousands of law enforcement officers from around the world converge on Washington, D.C., to participate in a number of planned events which honor those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.
In 1962, Kennedy honored the profession I love and have been a part of for 19 years. Within the proclamation, he wrote “Whereas, from the beginning of this Nation, law enforcement officers have played an important role in safeguarding the rights and freedoms which are guaranteed by the Constitution and in protecting the lives and property of our citizens.” In one paragraph, Kennedy was able to capture the essence of what it means to be a police officer; to serve and protect. In the Air Force, Security Forces Defenders and Air Force Office of Special Investigations agents provide this continued service and protection 24/7, without respite or mission failure.
Air Force security forces is the largest single Air Force specialty. In 2011, the authorizations stood at 27,548 enlisted and officers combined. While at home station, security forces are your constables on patrol, touring the streets in our white sedans and SUVs. What appear to be random patrol routes to most casual observers is quite the opposite. The Defenders work hand-in-hand with local police departments and federal agencies to ensure your safety beyond the protective boundaries of an Air Force base. We man the gates in all inclement weather and do our best to greet you with a friendly smile and a “Welcome to Peterson Air Force Base.” For many of us, this is a passion and for some a temporary station in their life until they reach their true calling. The public should never worry about our resolve or passion for our duty. Believe me when I say that every day, all 27,548 of us know it could very well be our last and the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty may be our fate that day. We defend the Constitution and our country both here and abroad.
When we deploy, our mission becomes more complex. We train using U.S. Army standards for ground offensive and defensive warfare. We routinely conduct missions in hostile territory without regard for our own safety but instead worry only about the safety of others and the mission. We serve with distinction in all manners of conflict; Korea, Vietnam, Desert Shield/Storm, Operations Iraqi Freedom and Operations Enduring Freedom just to name a few. When we return home, we transition back into our peace officer roles without the public ever noticing and never skipping a beat.
We go by many names: peace officers, policemen and policewomen, special agents, sheriffs, defenders, but we all answer one call across the nation, to serve and protect. During this special week of events, please take a moment to remember those fallen officers who gave their lives in the line of duty as well as celebrate those of us serving every day to protect the freedoms our country holds so dear.
The 21st Security Forces Squadron will host a series of events during the 2013 National Police Week, May 12-17:
May 14 — 12 hour changing of the guard and candlelight vigil, museum air park flag pole, 7 a.m.-7 p.m. (candlelight vigil starts at 7:15 p.m.)
May 14 — Fallen K9 memorial and retirement service, PAFB auditorium, 2:30 p.m.
May 16 — Defender Challenge, Eagle Park, 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
May 17 — K9 demonstration and weapons display, Patriot Park, 4-5 p.m.