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Police and Law Enforcement › Articles

Historic photos of those who have sworn to "serve and protect" - the first responders in dangerous situations.

"His job involves putting others' needs ahead of yours." - a policeman's wife. This quote sums up the life of most policemen and women and their families. Whether federal, state, or local law enforcement, the lives of the police most often revolve around their chosen profession. This has always been the case.

Often a family tradition of serving the community, generation following after generation, the life of a cop requires a lot of dedication. Long hours, dangerous conditions - domestic disputes are often the most perilous - and, often, the mistrust of the people they are serving, is a grueling experience. While previous generations of police have been good and honorable people, wanting to protect those in their communities, the current racial and political divisions have taken their toll.

Current police officers say such things as:
"I pulled over a female the other day, and it took her a block or two to stop. When she finally did, I asked why, and she said she didn’t want to stop where there wasn’t any light, because she didn’t know what I was going to do to her. I thought, Wow, we’re the bad guys now." - a police officer in Florida

"That anxiety you feel when you encounter us? We feel it too." - a police officer in Ohio

"Before, when we stopped a car, we just walked up, said “You’re speeding,” and asked for license and registration. Now the first thing we ask is if they have a weapon in the vehicle." - an Iowa state trooper.

Times have changed, the cultural environment has changed, but the life of a police officer hasn't. It has only gotten more dangerous. From the lawmen of the Old West to the community patrols of the present, these are the photos of those have chosen to serve and protect, often at their own peril.