Police Appreciation Day

Local officers describe career, motivation

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Freedom graduate Alexandra Lizzi and her father, Detective Jeff Lizzi, attend a National Police Appreciation Day celebration on Jan 9, 2020.

Gracie Shane, Staff Writer

On Jan. 9 of every year, people and officers across America celebrate National Police Appreciation Day. The day symbolizes the importance of police officers across the country. Many people may wonder why someone would choose a job as dangerous as being a police officer. 

“In 1978 I was 10 years old. My mother’s car was parked in front of the house. Sometime overnight an unknown person(s) hit the car and pushed it up over the sidewalk into the corner of our house. The Rochester police came to our house to see the damage and make a report. I remember the officer (Bull Hogue) telling my father that he probably would not find the other car involved and to just turn the damage into the insurance company. My father and mother were very upset, and asked the officer if he was going to try to find the other car or person(s) involved. The officer said he would try to find the person(s) involved. I told my father that I would find the other car involved. I went looking around Rochester and found a damaged car with the exact same color of paint as my mother’s car. From that point forward I have always wanted to be a police officer. Policing has always been something I loved to do,” Chief Frank Mercier of Rochester Borough Police Department said.

Being a police officer can be a very scary profession that has many risks. So many things are unknown when officers are heading to a call. Officers handle domestic violence calls and respond in the most dire of circumstances. No traffic stop is “routine.” 307 officers and 20 K-9’s lost their lives in the United States while on duty in 2020. Nine of those officers were from Pennsylvania.  

“The worst possible thing I have experienced is responding to the death of a child. Knowing that you are unable to revive the child and there is nothing that you can say to the family that would make them feel better,” Officer Kevin Reese of Conway Borough police department said.

As dangerous and depressing as the job may be, there are some perks. 

“My favorite part about the job is being able to keep people safe, whether it is protecting people from themselves or someone else, being able to step in and help and making a difference within the community,” Rochester Borough Officer and Freedom graduate Kyli Hermick said. Hermick graduated from Freedom Area High School in 2015 and attended Slippery Rock University. She entered the police academy in 2019 at CCBC and graduated last year. 

Hermick’s father was also a police officer, and she says he was her inspiration. 

“My father was a police officer and throughout my childhood I respected and admired police officers and everything that they stand for,” Hermick said. 

Law enforcement is a huge part of why this country is so great. They facilitate law and order to keep our communities safe from dangerous people and disruption. The appreciation we show them keeps them going, and it helps them know the community sees their efforts.

“I believe the average individual does not understand the job of a policeman but I do think that the majority of people appreciate law enforcement to some degree,” Detective Daniel Viscuso of the Beaver County Detectives Office said. 

“The media seems to be against the police and attacks at every corner. There has been a great loss of respect for this job with the community over the years,” Detective Jeff Lizzi from the Rochester Borough police department stated. 

A few ways to show your appreciation on Jan. 9 is to wear blue, shine blue lights from your homes, make cards for local law enforcement, donate blood in the National Blue Blood Drive and give thanks to an officer.