National Police Week is an outgrowth of President John F. Kennedy’s 1962 proclamation designating May 15 as Peace Officer’s Memorial Day. Each May tens of thousands law enforcement officers gather in Washington D.C. to recognize the sacrifices and valor of those who wear the badge.
In this episode we examine National Police Week through two lenses. Nohemy Hite is a police widow and founder of the Erik Hite Foundation. Dave Bray is a former Navy Corpsman who is now a national recording artist and staunch advocate for the men & women of law enforcement.
When a fan sent Dave a recording of the “last call” for Brad Fox, a Pennsylvania officer killed in an ambush, he could hear the clear emotion in the dispatcher’s voice. Dave himself was so shaken by the recording that he picked up his guitar and wrote the song “Last Call.” He also wrote the song “Survivor” for the families of fallen officers.
Nohemy’s husband Erik had a life of service. He served in the Air Force security forces for 21 years before joining the Tucson Police Department. Erik had been an officer for four and half years when he was ambushed and killed on June 2, 2008. She formed the Erik Hite Foundation the following year as a way to cope with the pain and provide support for other law enforcement families.
Both Nohemy and Dave both describe their experiences participating in National Police Week activities. Nohemy says that even though participation is painful for her, it does help survivor families find hope. Dave participates regularly because he feels more Americans need to know about the sacrifices that law enforcement families make on our behalf.
Dave shares that the average citizen experiences 2-3 truly traumatic events in their life but the average law enforcement officer experiences over 700 traumatic events over a 20 year career. He encourages any first responder that is struggling to connect with the Resilient Minds on the Front Lines organization.
TAKEAWAY: “It’s Painful. Time doesn’t really heal. Time just helps you learn how to deal with your new normal.”