ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - The many law enforcement officers who serve and protect the community are often doing a thankless job.
"Most police officers are public servants," said Wendi Shackelford, President of the Alaska chapter of Concerns of Police Survivors or C.O.P.S. "They do this work because they want to help people, and that takes a lot out of them, to know every day that they get in a police car and what that day holds and what it might cost [them]."
But on Monday, citizens are encouraged to take the "L.E.A.D." for National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day, a day designed to raise awareness of the sacrifices law enforcement officers make.
The mission of C.O.P.S., Shackelford said, is to strengthen the relationship between law enforcement and the community, and to help rebuild the lives of surviving families and co-workers of deceased law enforcement officers.
Laurie Huckeba, C.O.P.S. Northwest Region Trustee, knows about the responsibility and duty of working in law enforcement.
She also knows first-hand how painful a loved one's ultimate sacrifice can be: Huckeba was a police dispatcher when she received the call that her husband had died on the front lines.
"What law enforcement gives up daily," she said, "not just when it is line of duty death, but daily: the missed birthdays, the missed dinners, the missed holidays.
"Those are all sacrifices, and we don't think about those a lot of times," Huckeba said.
Huckeba said she wants to encourage community members to support and show gratitude by wearing blue, flying a blue ribbon on your car, or even sending a note to local law enforcement departments.
But most importantly, she said, simply saying "Thank You" to a law enforcement officer can go a long way.