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SFS Airmen commemorate Police Week

Airman 1st Class Mackenzie Gewirtz and Airman 1st Class Ayanna Winters, 50th Security Forces Squadron, show their “thin blue line” bracelets at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, Tuesday, May 16, 2017. The bracelets were authorized to wear for Police Week; symbolizing the unity between law enforcement officers, both military and civilian, and their willingness to stand as a thin blue line to protect their communities. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class William Tracy)

Airman 1st Class Mackenzie Gewirtz and Airman 1st Class Ayanna Winters, 50th Security Forces Squadron, show their “thin blue line” bracelets at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, Tuesday, May 16, 2017. The bracelets were authorized to wear for Police Week; symbolizing the unity between law enforcement officers, both military and civilian, and their willingness to stand as a thin blue line to protect their communities. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class William Tracy)

Airman 1st Class Marissa Pederson, 50th Security Forces Squadron, explains the symbolism of the flag folding during the Officer’s Memorial Day service at New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Friday, May 19, 2017. The 50 SFS and other security forces squadrons, as well as local law enforcement officers throughout the area attended the event to recognize the service and sacrifice of those who have fallen. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class William Tracy)

Airman 1st Class Marissa Pederson, 50th Security Forces Squadron, explains the symbolism of the flag folding during the Officer’s Memorial Day service at New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Friday, May 19, 2017. The 50 SFS and other security forces squadrons, as well as local law enforcement officers throughout the area attended the event to recognize the service and sacrifice of those who have fallen. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class William Tracy)

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo.-- --

For the 50th Security Forces Squadron and the thousands of uniformed police officers throughout the country who put their lives on the line every day, Police Week is a time for reflection on service and sacrifice.

Wearing “thin blue line” bracelets; which symbolize the unity of law enforcement personnel as sisters and brothers and their roles in society standing as a thin blue line protecting the community, 50 SFS Airmen spent the week engaging in shooting competitions, combative courses, a golf tournament and other competitions in recognition.

“Police week is great, as all officers need to be recognized,” said Airman 1st Class Mackenzie Gewirtz, 50 SFS. “It shows the public what we do to keep them safe.”

The week also allowed officers to show their human side.

“We want them to see what we do; we don’t just write tickets,” laughed Airman 1st Class Ayanna Winters, 50 SFS. “It’s hard to explain, but we get each other; we’re like a family and we want others to see we aren’t just there as a bad sign.”

The week was a much needed break for Security Forces Airmen to pat themselves on the back, said Senior Master Sgt. Bradley Krause, 50 SFS operations superintendent; a Security Forces defender in the reserves and a Colorado Springs police officer. Krause has seen many changes during his 20-year career in law enforcement, particularly after the events of Sept. 11, 2001.

“Before 9/11, we used to wave people on base, now we stop you,” Krause said. “People sometimes forget why we have security measures in place - what happened and what can again happen.”

Krause said while the bulk of Security Forces work on base can be classed as proactive, it is the reactive situations, especially in deployed environments, that challenge all SFS Airmen.

“Our defenders work extremely hard, in long shifts, and they usually do it with smiles on their faces,” he said. “If something came up, you’d be surprised how fast and how disciplined they will treat the situation.”

Lt. Col. Michael Speck, 50 SFS commander, said Police Week is a chance to inform the community that law enforcement personnel they are more than just a uniform. 

“It’s important to recognize the tough job that police officers do every day,” Speck said. “People forget that police officers are not just transplanted in our society, they are part of it, and are not to be shied away from. Police week is important here at Schriever as it is a way to acknowledge we are people.”

The week concluded with an Officer Memorial Day ceremony hosted at New Life Church, Colorado Springs.

The 50 SFS’s own Airman 1st Class Marissa Pederson spoke during the flag folding ceremony, explaining each fold’s symbolism in front of a wreath dedicated to fallen officers. It was there 50 SFS Airmen, SF Airmen from other bases and a collective ensemble of local uniformed police and emergency responders congregated in recognition of the service and sacrifice.

Krause stressed the importance of Security Forces’ and law enforcement officers’ roles, highlighting the vital work they put in, risking their lives for the protection of others.

“The week helps raise awareness of what we do, and our role in society,” Krause said. “Sometimes people get tunnel vision; they go to their job, card themselves through the gate and may not even realize what that Airmen on the other side are doing for you. This week was to say ‘thank you for all you do.’”

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