LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 15, 2018) — The year 1962 marked a significant period in American history. It was the year Jackie Robinson broke color barrier in baseball, school-aged children received the polio vaccine on sugar cubes and John Glenn made history as the first American astronaut to orbit the earth. 1962 was also the year in which President John F. Kennedy signed into law designating May 15 as National Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week in which it falls as National Police Week.
“This week is meant to honor the men and women in law enforcement who paid the ultimate sacrifice in order to uphold the rights and freedom of others,” said University of Kentucky Police Chief Joe Monroe. “It is also important to recognize and thank those who have chosen this path of service.”
The role of a police officer is a complex one. Significant training is mandated, as well as a deep understanding of law. However, the responsibilities can also require them to care for victims, act as a mediator, and find other necessary resources for all parties involved.
“You don’t become a police officer for the money,” UKPD Officer Sean O’Bryan said. “You do it because you were born to do it. I honestly couldn’t imagine doing anything else.”
The type of calls that police officers receive varies from day to day, shift to shift and jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Not every caller needs a police officer specifically, but needs help and doesn’t know where else to turn. Requests for service vary from theft reports, welfare checks, collisions and everything in between.
“I responded to a domestic abuse call and noticed that the two young children didn’t have a single toy in the house,” said UK Police Sergeant Nathan Taylor. “Apart from taking them to a shelter and writing a report, I made sure to take care of the kids, too. My daughters went through their dolls and handed me their Barbies, and I bought Spider-Man action figures for the son. That’s just part of the job, taking care of people.”
More than 900,000 law enforcement officers serve in communities across the United States. In Lexington alone, there are over 60 sworn officers at University of Kentucky Police Department and more than 10 times that number at the Lexington Police Department. In 2017, more than 130 officers died throughout the country in the line of duty and many will be remembered during numerous ceremonies and memorials held in their honor in Washington, D.C.
One local officer who died in the line of duty will be recognized through a special 'hero’s workout' at the MoveWell UK Employee Fitness Center in partnership with UKPD and UK Human Resources Health & Wellness on Tuesday, May 15.
Officer Bryan Durman of the Lexington Police Department was killed by a hit and run driver while responding to a call for service more than eight years ago. He was 27 years old and survived by his wife and son. Personal trainer Ryan Mason designed a hero's workout to tell the story of Durman’s life and pay tribute to him as well as to help raise funding for the Kentucky Chapter of Concerns of Police Survivors. Local law enforcement officers are invited to participate in the Durman hero workout at the MoveWell Fitness Center located at 1020 Export in Lexington, Kentucky from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday, May 15.
UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: uky.edu/uk4ky. #uk4ky #seeblue