National Thank a Police Officer Day is an important reminder

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Police are under more scrutiny than ever before, but according to the Officer Down Memorial Page, there have been 92 on duty officer fatalities in 2015 alone. To acknowledge the risk officers take every day, September 19th has been proclaimed Thank a Police Officer day.

Those who wear the badge say a little appreciation can go a long way.

"They do need to be patted on the back every now and then," says DeKalb County Sheriff Jimmy Harris. "And people do need to recognize them, you know if you see them out at a restaurant or you see them out at a store it's not a bad thing to thank them, because you might be the next one to call them."

Officials say days of appreciation are a good reminder of the importance of not making generalizations.

"Every occupation has got problems, and things happen in every occupation, but you shouldn't paint everyone with a wide brush. In general, around here most of the law enforcement are very professional, and that's what we've got to keep doing.  Be professional, take care of the public's needs, and be there when they call," says Jackson County Chief Deputy Rocky Harnen.

The national acknowledgement is a step in the right direction.  However, some officials fear the public's lack of understanding of the risks officers face may contribute to the negativity.

"Just like the military, they're overseas fighting right now -- you know, we fight a fight every single day and if you do a law enforcement career you know you have put your life on the line... every single day," adds Sheriff Harris.

While there have been controversial cases responsible for the negative attention, law enforcement in the Tennessee Valley hope to continue to prove and display that those events are the exception and not the rule.

National Thank a Police Officer Day was founded by an organization called The Whole Truth Project, a group dedicated to protecting police officers wrongfully accused of misconduct.