National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day

National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day - Thursday, January 9, 2025

Cause Careers Safety

What is National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day?

If you have a police officer as a friend or family member, National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day on January 9 is the perfect time to show officers we understand how difficult their job is. So it’s important to show officers how much we understand their difficult work and appreciate their sacrifice and risk. 

History of National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day

For a while the United States’ idea of law enforcement was fairly loose. The Wild West was, well, wild. And most states and cities didn’t consider emergency services like fire fighters and police officers to be necessary until much later than most would think. In fact, the mid 1800s, most law enforcement was carried out in the form of posse comitatus, where the sheriff and a posse of volunteers and deputies (much like the stereotypical Westerns of the 1960s) would enforce laws rather than a centralized police force. 
Once the 20th century rolled around most larger cities, counties, and states had developed a centralized police or sheriff’s department. In doing so, most of the country slowly started to see a reduction in the “Wild West” and a more tame and domesticated America, despite many of the newly formed local authorities needing to pick sides in a rise of unionizing laborers going on strike. 
Whether its civil unrest, labor strikes, huge sporting events, or just helping a cat get down from a tree, law enforcement officers are a critical part of our lives, woven into the everyday fabric of living in America. They keep our neighborhoods safe and help ensure that whatever it is you need to do, you can do with peace of mind. 


National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day timeline


West Coast catches up

Berkeley, California's police force gets ahead of the curve by adopting centralized and consistent training, communications, and order throughout its police force. 


Something NYC didn't win

Pennsylvania becomes the first state to establish a state police force, as recommended by Theodore Roosevelt to help control the numerous labor riots going on in the state's hill country. 


Detecting a change

Once again, New York led the way with adopting the first detective unit across the pond. More cities followed suit and then followed suit again after New York City disbanded its detective unit due to corruption. 


Policing a very large apple

New York City was the first American city to establish a municipal police force. Soon after, Boston, New Orleans, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, Chicago and more followed suit. 

National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day FAQs

When is National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day?

National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day is every year on January 9.

How do I celebrate National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day?

There are many ways you can celebrate National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day, even just by thanking a police officer for their service. 

Why do we celebration National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day?

We celebrate National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day to show support for the brave men and women who put their lives on the line to protect and serve their communities. 

National Law Enforcement Appreciation Stats

2.5 million strong
The amount of residents across the nation who celebrated National Night Out, an annual party with citizens and local law enforcement. 
40% more
The Amtrak Police had the largest percentage in officers increase at 40 percent, that was closely followed by the National Park Service Rangers which saw a 29 percent increase. 
292 Mint officers
The number of officers in the United States Mint Police. No, not protecting gum, but one of the oldest law enforcement agencies protecting Fort Knox among other areas with $300 billion worth of government assets. 

National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day Activities

  1. Show support on social media and by wearing blue

    To promote awareness of support for law enforcement on L.E.A.D., consider showing support on your social media outlets. Perhaps change your profile photo to a badge or a thin blue line logo. And you can wear blue on National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day to show support. Not everyone knows a police officer personally, so social media is a good place to start making a difference.

  2. Organize a Neighborhood Watch program

    Although the National Crime Prevention Council oversees the Neighborhood Watch program, local law enforcement will work with you on setting up and running one of these programs in your neighborhood. Contact your local police department to receive some help in organizing a program.

  3. Volunteer or donate to your local Crime Stoppers program

    Local law enforcement agencies operate their Crime Stoppers programs, and they need donations and volunteers from the community to run them successfully. Some Crime Stoppers organizations even have oversight boards that are made up of community members. These boards often are involved in helping to determine rewards or in publicizing crimes where rewards are available. Contact your local law enforcement agency to see what kind of work is needed in this area or to attend a monthly meeting.

Why We Love National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day

  1. It’s a chance to see law enforcement personnel in another light

    For most of us, our only interaction with law enforcement occurs when the officer asks us through our driver’s side window for our license and registration. But being an officer is about far more than handing out traffic tickets. National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day is a great time to think about all of unselfish work that officers do to help people too. (And, technically, when the officer is handing you a ticket, he or she is helping others be safe from your poor driving … not that such thoughts are top of mind at the time.)

  2. It’s a chance to thank someone for doing an often thankless job

    Even though we should thank law enforcement officers more often than we do, we can at least use L.E.A.D. as a good reminder to do so. Verbal thanks are always welcome, as is picking up the tab when you see officers eating lunch at a local restaurant.

  3. It’s a good excuse to watch some of our favorite police movies

    Sure, most police movies and TV shows have little basis in reality. But a lot of them are really fun to watch. So after you’ve shown your appreciation to your local law enforcement officers, you can sit down and watch your favorite movie or TV show for a look at the working side of law enforcement, even if it’s not particularly realistic.

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