On Sept. 21, Hawthorne residents along with the rest of Americans will celebrate a national day of thanks to honor law enforcement officials.
The celebration goes by two names: National Thank a Police Officer Day and National Tell a Police Officer “Thank You” Day.
The day will be celebrated on Sept. 21.
“It’s a chance to thank some of our valued public servants that are sometimes never thanked,’ said Lon Bartoli, team captain for National Thank a Police Officer Day.
“That’s a hard job to do. And it’s a thankless job. And sometimes you have to put yourself in harm’s way with no recognition.”
Bartoli said in recent years his role as team captain has been ‘downsized just because of circumstances.’ In the past there have been celebrations of the day, but there wasn’t last year, and there won’t be one this year, he said, in large part because he couldn’t find sponsorship for the event.
The national day was started by Andrew M. Hale, a Chicago lawyer who specializes in defending police officers from lawsuits, and is sponsored each year by the Whole Truth Project, a pro-law enforcement organization Hale founded that seeks to change public perception that police officers are corrupt, and make it clear to the public that wrongful conviction doesn’t necessarily mean police misconduct.
“The Whole Truth Project is dedicated to protecting innocent police officers, wrongfully accused of police misconduct in wrongful conviction lawsuits and other civil rights cases,” the project’s website states.
Bartoli said each year he receives bracelets and other promotional material from the Whole Truth Project. In return, he and the other team captains are asked to donate what they can to the project.
While there won’t be any events to celebrate the day in Mineral County, Bartoli said the county still benefits from the day’s existence.
Spurred on by the spirit of the day, the Mineral County Sheriff’s Deputies Association created the National Retired Law Enforcement Officer’s Recognition Coalition, an entity dedicated to recognizing the struggles retired law enforcement officers face.
The coalition recognized retired officers on June 2.
“In this type of work, whether it be fire; [Emergency Medical Services]; law enforcement; it’s such a dedicated job that sometimes you have two families—you have your family at home and you have this one,” Bartoli said. “Sometimes, as we know, the family at home doesn’t suffer through the stress and the attrition of this job. So, often times when law enforcement retires, they have nobody, nothing. Just themselves.”