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Tags: civilians | kyiv | ukrainian

Perdue: Ukraine Police Strive to Serve and Protect

police officer ukraine and environs
A local resident speaks to a police officer in front of residential multi-story building damaged following Russian strike, in Kherson - Feb. 3, 2023 - amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. (Genya Savilov/AFP/via Getty Images) 

By    |   Monday, 06 February 2023 04:21 PM EST

In 2022, more than 200 United States law enforcement officers lost their lives in the line of duty. The high stakes, constant vigilance and pressure required for the job makes police work among the most stressful jobs in the United States.

One such brave officer, Tim Field, first lieutenant of Fairfax County Police in Virginia, spent five days with me in Ukraine as we visited Ukrainian soldiers and law enforcement to support their ongoing efforts to counter and combat the Russian invasion.

After witnessing the lengths that the Ukrainian police force is going, he was astonished by the amount of stress they endure — exponentially more than he was used to, even in his career.

Law enforcement officers like Field can empathize with Ukrainian officers, giving their support for their bravery and strength in these incomprehensibly difficult, terrifying times.

To be certain, the stakes are high for police officers globally.

"Three pounds of pressure on the trigger… can change my life and someone else’s life forever," said Field. "You never know when something is going to happen. You’re never totally relaxed. Your brain, even if unconsciously, is in fight or flight mode."

However, compounding this pressure, Ukrainian officers are also fighting a war.

The Russian invaders’ playbook includes:

  • Bombing police stations.
  • Destroying police communications equipment.
  • Stealing or destroying all police cars.

Their goal is to degrade the Ukrainian police’s ability to serve and protect, and in that way, further demoralize the Ukrainian people.

When occupying a town or city or village, the Russian invaders make a point of capturing databases that reveal who is in law enforcement.

The invaders then hunt down members of law enforcement and kill them and often their families as well. Professional counseling of any sort is an unaffordable luxury to Ukrainian officers — meaning after surviving on the front lines of this conflict, and witnessing all the horror and trauma that occurs there, the officer is left without any resources to help him cope with a PTSD-inducing experience.

In the United States, we are fortunate to have systems in place to support our officers’ physical and mental health.

Additionally, Ukrainian police officers are constantly dealing with competing priorities: just as they arrive at a crime scene, the Russians could attack.

As an example, a Ukrainian police officer could be in the middle of taking a report for a robbery at a small business. To the business owner, this is a crisis: they have lost their inventory, and with it, their livelihood and financial security.

While giving the business owner his attention and trying to help recover their belongings, his smartphone app suddenly alerts him that at this moment, 40 cruise missiles are bearing down on his city. While trying to fulfill his duty to the Ukrainian citizens, he is constantly pulled away to defend them from Russian attacks.

In every country, when push comes to shove, police officers step up and protect civilians.

However, at this moment in history, the stakes on the ground in and around Kyiv are higher than in most places in the United States.

We are most fotunate in that we are not facing an invasion on our own soil.

"I’ve been a police officer for nearly 40 years and have faced numerous tragedies, but I always knew I had a home to go to, a bed to sleep in and a family to support me," reflected Officer Field.

In the U.S., such luxuries are those we often take for granted.

For Ukrainian officers, certainty and the sanctuary of home and family are not guaranteed, and won't be for the foreseeable future. 

"It certainly puts life in perspective and makes me appreciate what we have here," said Field, "but even more, it pushes me to do what I can to help restore a sense of normalcy to the men and women who walk the thin blue line in Ukraine."

Harvard graduate Mitzi Perdue is a writer, speaker, and author of the award-winning biography, "Relentless, the story of Mark Victor Hansen, the Chicken Soup for the Soul co-author." All royalties for the book will go to supporting humanitarian relief for Ukraine.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

When occupying a town or city or village, the Russian invaders make a point of capturing databases that reveal who is in law enforcement.
civilians, kyiv, ukrainian
Monday, 06 February 2023 04:21 PM
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