POLICE conduct is sometimes under the microscope for the wrong reasons but seldom does the public hear about the dangerous and confronting situations they handle on a daily basis.
Wednesday was an occasion when the courageous action of police that we take for granted was given the recognition it deserves.
Two officers in the Canobolas Local Area Command were singled out for bravery awards after one negotiated with a man armed with a rifle and the other rescued five elderly people from a unit fire.
Neither would have had much time to think about the risk they were exposing themselves to as they did what police are trained for, and what the public expects.
Most of us take it for granted that when we leave home for work in the morning we will return to our families at night.
Most of us do not face the prospect of being called to a siege situation, or having to confront desperate people whose lives have reached their lowest ebb.
And most of us do not have to worry that the people we come across each day could be armed and dangerous, drunk or high.
But police do face such fears as they deal with situations the rest of us actively avoid.
Mercifully, most do return from a day at their office physically unscathed but this sort of working environment can and does take its toll in less visible ways.
That is why yesterday’s awards ceremonies also included citations for long service. In a career where people are routinely called to the scene of shocking motor vehicle accidents or crimes of the most shocking and disturbing nature, longevity should never be taken for granted.
Yesterday a few officers were singled out for awards of one kind or another but we should never forget the risks they faced could also confront any of their colleagues tomorrow.