This week is National Police Week - a time to honor and remember law enforcement’s sacrifice and service. It’s also a time to recognize and offer appreciation for the dangerous work our police officers do on our behalf every single day.
The country has marked this week since 1962 - when President John F. Kennedy authorized the commemoration. Law enforcement has always been dangerous work but the last few years particularly have been tough on police with rising crime, fewer officers, declining morale, and more line-of-duty deaths.
Last year - 246 officers in the United States died in the line of duty and we’ve already lost 42 this year. Fortunately - SEPTA has not had an officer die in the line of duty for 34 years.
In 1989 - we lost SEPTA Transit Police Sergeant Thomas Sewell who was stabbed while investigating a prowler who was trespassing in a garage at 69th Street Terminal in Upper Darby. Sergeant Sewell was 31 years old and had dedicated seven years to serving and protecting SEPTA and the public.
We owe a debt of gratitude to Sergeant Sewell and his family - and to all police officers.
Each of us leaves our families to go to work - we expect to come home. But in the job of the police - no one is sure that person comes back alive and untraumatized.
Law enforcement is a service of pride and respect and the people in this position are giving their all for us.
SEPTA's Transit Police Force was first deployed on May 10, 1981. And ever since then - the Department has been dedicated to keeping customers safe and secure by patrolling and protecting SEPTA's 2,200 square-mile service area.
The next time you see a police officer - please consider letting them know you appreciate their work and their sacrifice.
If you see them helping someone - thank them for being a good role model.
Or remind them to “stay safe out there” lets them know you care.
Going out of your way to express your thanks can mean a lot more than you think.