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Our view: Our thoughts and prayers are with the men and women who don a badge and vow to serve and protect, especially in light of recent events.

Why we believe that: In the past four months, we’ve witnessed at least three concerning episodes in our region:

The Long View police station was struck by a bullet while the building was occupied. Thankfully, no one was injured. The case remains unsolved despite a $4,000 reward. Police say a total of three shots were fired, and they are convinced the station was the target.

A Statesville police officer was shot in the back. The officer was on foot patrol when he was shot from behind. His protective vest took the brunt of the attack. A man has been charged in what police say was an ambush.

A Caldwell County deputy was shot in the line of duty. Deputy Jordan Sherrill spent several days in a Charlotte hospital before coming home. The man, who authorities sought and charged in connection with the shooting of Deputy Sherrill, died in a gun battle with law officers. Two more people have been arrested and charged in connection with the shooting.

Across our great nation, law officers are under increased scrutiny. Every interaction is easily documented in a society where many are armed with the latest in technology. That’s not a bad thing. There are rotten apples in law enforcement across our nation who have been investigated, charged and convicted.

But most of us never completely grasp what it is like to wear that badge. In our jobs, we are not called upon to settle a dispute between lovers or stop a car on a dark stretch of highway while we are all alone.

It is easy to overlook the self-restraint so many officers show, such as a deputy from years ago who had an inmate, at the time thought to be HIV-positive, bite into the soft flesh on the back of the arm. The officer applied no more force than necessary to free himself from the biter. Many of us would not have been so rational.

In conclusion: We are thankful for the respectful men and women who put themselves in harm’s way on our behalf. We tend to take those folks for granted until we desperately need them. We pause today to salute them.

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