This has been a very trying year with unchartered territory as it relates to a still growing public health threat from the Coronavirus all around the world. KPOA fully supports all state and national efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 whether that is by social-distancing, quarantine vs. self-monitoring, and newly approved vaccines. Law enforcement agencies across Kansas have seen significant changes in how they conduct business and how they go about their daily lives. Our personal and professional lives have and will forever be changed due to the pandemic. I only hope that with the coming of a new year we surpass the difficulties felt in 2020 and engage triumphantly in 2021.
I would like to reflect on the meaning of each word in “Kansas Peace Officers Association” (KPOA) and what makes this organization so meaningful to me and for our members. Kansas, our State, named after the Kansas River. Peace Officer(s), a civil officer appointed to preserve law and order, to include but not limited to a sheriff, chief, state trooper, or police officer [anyone who has statutory law enforcement powers]. Association, a group of people organized for a joint purpose. In 1916, law enforcement had the need to create an Association that serves to promote personal acquaintance and co-operation among all Peace Officers and agencies of Kansas. Law enforcement needed an association to advocate for sound legislation and laws that enhance the safety and welfare of Peace Officers and the public. Law enforcement needed an association to promote the improvement of Police Service(s) and the advancement of the Law Enforcement Profession. Law enforcement needed an association to raise the standard of Law Enforcement Institutions and Officials in the State of Kansas. I believe KPOA has the ability to change outcomes for the betterment of law enforcement in Kansas and support all of our officers in that endeavor. This is why I am proud to be a part of and President of KPOA.
On October 14, 2020, I took over as the President of KPOA from former President Paul Schliffke. Paul did a great job and I want to personally thank him for his time and commitment with KPOA. Over the last two years, KPOA has made leaps and bounds in a positive direction changing outdated policies, converting over to a digital platform, and getting more involvement from our members. An association is only as good as its members and I believe we have the right members to make a difference.
I do not know what we are looking at for a KPOA Conference / Training this year and do not yet know any time frame, but will keep everyone updated as we progress forward in 2021. Let me conclude with one last inspirational bit of prose, sometimes called “The Policeman’s Prayer.” This was authored by retired Thibodaux, La., Police Chief Scott Silverii, PhD at a fallen officer’s funeral:
The Final Inspection
The policeman stood and faced his God. Which must always come to pass.
He hoped his shoes were shining just as brightly as his brass.
“Step forward now, policeman. How shall I deal with you? Have you always turned the other cheek? To My church have you been true?”
The policeman squared his shoulders and said, “No, Lord, I guess I ain’t. Because those of us who carry badges can’t always be a saint. I’ve had to work most Sundays, and at times my talk was rough; and sometimes I’ve been violent, because the streets are awfully tough. But I never took a penny that wasn’t mine to keep…thought I’ve worked a lot of overtime when the bills got just too steep. And I never passed a cry for help, though at times I shook with fear; and sometimes, God forgive me, I’ve wept unmanly tears. I know I don’t deserve a place among the people here. They never wanted me around except to calm their fear. If you’ve a place for me here, Lord, it needn’t be so grand. I never expected or had too much, but if you don’t …I’ll understand.”
There was silence all around the throne where the saints had often trod. As the policeman waited quietly for the judgment of his God.
“Step forward now, policeman, you’ve borne you burdens well. Come walk a beat on Heaven’s streets, you’ve done your time in hell.”
KBI ASAC Joby Harrison
[“Wisdom is knowing the right path to take. Integrity is taking it.” M.H. McKee]