Denver-area officers recognized on National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day

DENVER – Jan. 9 is National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day. It was founded in 2015 to thank officers across the country for the sacrifices they make every day for their communities.

In Parker, a local school went above and beyond to thank officers in their community. American Academy invited officers and deputies to have lunch with them. Some of the officers also visited the classrooms.

The school said it’s a good way to connect the kids with the people who are serving and protecting them every day.

“We also believe it’s important that our students understand how essential it is to appreciate the men and women who put their lives on the line every single day to keep everyday citizens -- particularly schools and school children and staff -- safe. They always protect us, so it’s very appropriate that we spend the day appreciating them," said Executive Director of Schools for American Academy Erin Kane.

The school sold T-shirts that said: “American Academy Backs the Blue” as a fundraiser for the Fallen Officers Fund. They presented the organization with a check for about $4,200.

In Denver, it was the perfect time to recognize six Denver Police Department officers who have shown extraordinary kindness and compassion. The non-profit group Citizens Appreciate Police gave the awards.

Captain Sylvia Sich and her husband provide snacks to the Denver Children's Advocacy Center. Over the past 20 years, they have given more than $40,000 to these children.

“For us to provide snacks and juice so they have something during their treatment there and during their interviews, it's our pleasure to do it. We hope to do it for years to come," Sich said.

Officer Cheryl Smith personally paid for a family who was being threatened to spend the night at a hotel so they would be safe.

“I had a wise-beyond-his-years training officer who said, 'treat everybody you come in contact with the same respect you'd want your family to be treated with,'" said Officer Smith.

Homicide Detectives Lou Estrada and Bruce Gibbs went out of their way to help the mother of woman who committed suicide. CAP board member Michael Song read a letter from the victim’s mother, which stated, “I cannot find the words to fully express what these gentlemen did for us. These gentlemen have the most exquisite touch with families going through what we went through. Their intense attention and genuine empathy meant the world to me and my family. We felt cradled and supported by them in a time we could barely put one foot in front of the other. There aren’t even words of praise and appreciation to convey how outstanding these two gentlemen are. They helped us during the worst days of the worst experiences life has to offer.”

“My parents raised me to treat people how you want to be treated," Detective Estrada said.

And Officers Michael Torsney and Adriel Torres helped a blind a deaf man who was stranded at DIA. They paid $300 out of their own pockets to help him get home.

“He was coming to Denver to find some help. Who knows what would've happened to the gentleman. Just glad to help," Officer Torres said.

These officers never ask for recognition, but they clearly deserve it. Citizens Appreciate Police was formed in 1978. They accept nominations for Denver police officers doing good deeds on their Facebook page or through letters to the chief of police's office.

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