After spending a week on E. 4th street downtown Cleveland for the Republican National Convention, I couldn’t help but notice the amount of security positioned within the area. It was like everywhere I looked, there was a new set of four to five police officers, state troopers, or highway patrolmen walking in the same single file line – ready to act if needed. All the built up anxiety I had about how secure downtown Cleveland would be slowly went away. I felt safe. Unfortunately, something else I couldn’t help but notice was the lack of appreciation toward these officers. Throughout the week, among the thousands of attendees parading up and down E. 4th, I heard three people thank the officers for being there. Three.
Admittedly, I did not think to thank them when my work week started the Friday before the convention. I can blame it on being too focused on the tasks at hand and trying to make a good impression with my bosses at NBC Universal, but that’s no excuse. I was never disrespectful, just oblivious – as was everyone else. Convention goers new there would be an impressive amount of law enforcement; it was all over the news the week before. People, like myself, were expecting the amount of police that were there and honestly didn’t think anything of it.
After a long third day of work and preparing for the convention to commence the following morning I was ready to go home. It was 6 P.M. and I had been there a little over twelve hours. I was exhausted. Just before I left I struck up a conversation with a police officer stationed outside Erie Island Coffee Shop. She told me she was preparing to go home too. Only, she had been there since the night before. She spent 18 hours in uniform, downtown Cleveland, to protect convention goers. 18 hours. Suddenly I didn’t feel so exhausted anymore.
When convention week started that following morning, nearly every time I passed a group of officers I stopped and thanked them. If I had time, I stopped for a conversation, asking where they were from, if they had a family, and how they got to Cleveland.
I think people need to better appreciate the men and women who take the jobs many of us won’t. Protecting and serving our communities, neighborhoods, cities, and states is no easy task, and these officers deserve to be thanked.