You recently encountered Officer Friendly who made your entire day brighter, or Officer Fearless who literally saved your life, or Officer Awesomepants who went above and beyond to help you, and now you are wondering how to properly thank a police officer. Yes, even if they claim they were “just doing their job,” officers still deserve appreciation for the work they do and the extra efforts we see them make. So we’ve come up with some simple tips on how to thank a police officer for their service.
How to thank a police officer for their service
Say thank you
When thinking of how to thank a police officer for their service, the easiest thing you can do is to give a verbal thank you. A handshake along with “thank you for your service” can go a long way to make the officer feel seen and valued. Throw in a compliment to make it more personal. But how to compliment a police officer you ask?!
- “I know it can’t be easy to be a police officer. I appreciate the work you are doing here.”
- “I just saw what you did for that (boy/girl/woman/man/etc.) and it was really cool. Thanks for being a good role model.”
- “You may not remember me, but last week/month/year you helped me. I’ve never forgotten it and I’ve been paying it forward.”
Thank you cards
If you don’t get the chance to thank an officer in person, don’t worry. Get the address of the local police department and send a handwritten thank you. Police officer thank you cards can be addressed to the officer himself or directed to the police chief with a description of the officer and incident you are referring to if you didn’t catch his or her name.
Handwritten messages relay that the officer has left a lasting impression on you. But what do you put in thank you messages for police officers?
- A clear description of the incident or service you are thanking the officer for (or if it’s a general thank you, you can describe the commitment he has made)
- How the officer has made an impact in your/your family’s life or a difference in the community
- A lesson you have learned through the officer’s actions
- A encouraging or motivational quote, bible verse, or saying
- A closing acknowledgement of appreciation
While you may instinctively think of giving a gift to the officer as a token of appreciation, police officers are actually not allowed to accept gifts of monetary value (it can be considered bribery, yikes!). A gift of small value that you can prove comes with “no strings attached” may be acceptable if you get permission from the police chief first, but you will need to check with your local department’s policies. This could be anything from a gift card for a cup of coffee to a police officer pen or notebook.
But there are still ways to show appreciation through others forms of gifts, especially if you offer it as a thank you to the full police department.
- Frame a thank a police officer poem or piece of handmade artwork they can hang in the office
- Deliver a few batches of homemade cookies or other baked goods – or, if the station has a policy against homemade foods, order some pre packaged treats that can’t be tampered with
- On special occasions (like Christmas or 4th of July), bring flasks of hot chocolate or jugs of lemonade (again check on the stations food policies)
- Send a gift card for the nearest coffee shop with enough value for coffee and donuts for the entire department
- Send printed photos of your family and/or community members holding signs that say Thank You… and the names of the officers or the name of the police department.
Get more thank you gift ideas for police officers in our article on celebrating Police Appreciation Day.
Thank a police officer for their service with an even greater “gift”
One of the most impactful ways to thank a police officer is actually to write your letter of thanks to the police officer’s highest superior, like the department supervisor or chief of police. Share as many details you can of the incident, how it impacted you, and how thankful you are for the officer’s service. You can include the valued character traits of the officer that you observed in your interaction with him or her as well.
How is this a gift to the officer? It will guarantee public acknowledgement of the officer by his superior at the least, and at best it will be remembered when it comes time for promotions and awards. Letters like that can go into the officers file to be included in officer reviews. A lasting thank you 🙂
Don’t wait to say thank you to a police officer
Now that you know how to thank a police officer for their service, don’t wait any longer! Working in law enforcement can sometimes feel like a thankless job. Going out of your way to say thank you, send a card, or offer an appropriate token of appreciation can end up meaning a lot more than you think. Whether you want to thank an individual police officer or thank a police department, let it come from your heart and the message will shine through!