According to Me: Thank you for the police mans

“Thank you for the church. And thank you for Jesus,” he said as he snuggled in close while uttering his nightly bedtime prayers. These were two of the things that my 2-year-old son prays each night. It’s a list that includes telling God “thank you” for things like friends, family, our home, and the like. Occasionally, he will mix in something that has been on his mind.

“Thank you Conner’s birthday party’s not over,” he prayed for two solid weeks as he was anticipating his best friend’s birthday party. Recently, he has become aware that his birthday party is coming, so the evening ritual has consisted often of “Thank you my birthday party’s not over.”

On this night, admittedly, I was caught more in the routine of the prayer and less in the content of what my son was saying. “And thank you for the police mans.”

I didn’t expect that one. Some two hours earlier, he had sat in a room full of Demopolis’ finest and their families as the Canal Heights church of Christ held a dinner to express gratitude to the men and women of the department for the role they play in the city. I work with DPD Chief Tommie Reese frequently and have for years. I’ve done numerous stories on various officers and Citizens Police Academy courses and the like. I’ve played basketball with officers like Marcus Williams and Cody Key. I’ve talked movies with Tim Soronen. I consider Tommie Reese to be a friend. So, for me, it becomes rather easy to take the work of these men and women for granted.

For my 2-year-old son, however, he understands that what these men and women do is important. “Keep e’erybody safe,” he says in describing their role.

Keep everybody safe. I think it’s easy to forget that. We can get caught up in isolated incidents in Missouri and New York and forget that these occurrences are the exception, not the rule.

By and large, police officers are good, loyal, dedicated people who do something few others are willing to do for an amount of money few others are willing to accept, sometimes during hours that few others are willing to be awake. And that is painfully easy to take for granted.

But, as I heard my son – whom I am determined to protect – pray to God, who watches over us, a prayer of gratitude for the men and women who uphold laws meant to safeguard us, I was reminded of just how important that job is. And of just how difficult it must be to do that job in the current societal climate.

Imagine going to work every day to do a job with the express purpose of facilitating order and keeping people safe, sometimes even from themselves, only to be feared, loathed and despised by a growing segment of the population that does not know you or care why you do the inherently selfless thing you have chosen to do.

So, yeah, thank you for the police mans. Thank you that there are people still willing to do what is needed for what is truly minimal incentive. Thank you that my town is a better place to raise my children because of them. Thank you that my son feels safer because, in his mind, the “police mans” and the Power Rangers have the same job; “getting the bad guys,” as he puts it.

And, most of all, thank you that my son is willing to be thankful for the things I so readily take for granted.

Jeremy D. Smith is managing partner of The West Alabama Watchman. He has covered news and sports in Demopolis since 2008. His column, According to Me, appears weekly on