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Officers are more than a nameless face behind a badge

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I am a nurse in the Intensive Care Unit at Fairbanks Memorial Hospital, and I love my job. Granted, it has become increasingly more difficult over the past year and a half with the onslaught of Covid-19 and the pressures that puts on us and on everyone.

But throughout, I have felt supported and empowered by my leadership, the hospital and so many incredible members of our community. It is a health care war, but I know I am not battling alone.

Yet some days I feel a twinge of annoyance that it took a crisis to bring out all this support. I was dealing with blood, poop, ungrateful people and death before the onset of this pandemic, and I will continue to do so long after the thoughtful, thankful baskets of food stop coming. It makes me wonder: How many other critical workers are we not appreciating? Imagine winter without the DOT to clear the roads, or Christmas minus our faithful postal workers. I read recently in the News-Miner that there is one group in particular who seems to be under fire at the moment when what they deserve instead is our whole-hearted support. That group is our law enforcement.

Reading that article really bothered me and for good reason. I have always been thankful for our police and troopers, and I recognize my need for them. As a woman whose husband has to pull night shifts, I could call if my home was invaded. As a mother with small children, I can go to work knowing we live in a community that is kept safe. On a personal level I appreciate them, but also on a professional level. As a nurse, I have had an officer take his own personal time and dig through the wreckage of a car to return glasses to a patient who was blind without them. I also have the added experience of living more than a decade in a third world country and seeing the crime and chaos that exist in a truly corrupt system.

We need our law enforcement. These are men and women who literally take bullets for us. They deal daily with some of the ugliest and most painful parts of our community, and do so sometimes at great personal cost. None of them are perfect, as none of us nurses are, but if I was attacked and put down because of the mistakes or prejudices of some other nurse, I would be incredibly discouraged in an already difficult job.

What does this mean for us? Personally, we can thank and assist our officers. They are not some nameless force behind a badge but our neighbors and friends, our children or spouses. For those who are leaders in Fairbanks, we can speak up to make sure our law enforcement are well funded, well trained and whole-heartedly supported by our community so that they can work to the best of their ability.

As a nurse, I can fight my battles because they fight theirs, and I pray that it does not take a nation-wide crisis for us to give them our support.

Leah Admundsen lives in Fairbanks.

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