I think a lot of people in this country forget this.
Why do we attack our own protectors?
For many, being a police officer is not just a job, it is a badge of honour. Their goal is to protect and serve, despite the huge personal cost.
I think the badge they wear must get very heavy, when it carries all the burdens, the hatred and the sadness they witness in this country.
How often do police officers receive the praise they deserve?
For instance, I am safe, I am free and I have hope because of everything they do.
Our police officers are criticised more often than they are praised. How often do we notice all the strides they make to serve and to protect this country? How often do we thank them for saving us from a rapist, a murderer, a hijacking or a robbery?
While we acknowledge that we have corrupt elements within our midst, the majority of police officials perform their duties with distinction and fight crime with clean hands.
Let's pause to remember the wise words of Nelson Mandela when he said: "The SAPS is made up of patriotic men and women who have, over the years, to date, demonstrated an unwavering commitment even to give their lives to guarantee the safety and security of all our citizens.
"Let us not insult them or speak carelessly about them, projecting them as a cabal of corrupt and incompetent individuals."
Here is a scenario: A police officer gets a call about a carjacking, and is confronted by a suspect with a gun. The same gun he just used to kill the owner of the car. In a split second, knowing about the life the suspect has already taken, the officer must choose.
Take the suspect's life, or lose his own life, his partner's life or someone else's life. The officer's choice comes too slowly and his partner falls, a bullet to his head ends his life and his wife becomes a widow. Who of you will mourn?
Or, the officer makes his choice and the gunman falls. The TV cameras roll in and the suspect's family brands the officer a murderer or claims police brutality.
These officers wear their shield proudly upon their chest, holster their weapons, shine their boots and tightly secure their bulletproof vests. These are the brave men and women in blue who serve their country proudly.
The police officials walk and patrol the streets daily, regardless of the weather - in the rain, in the bone-penetrating harsh winter, never knowing whether today will be the last. They see unimaginable horror. Yet, they soldier on in the face of adversity.
If we were to walk a day in their shoes, we would understand.
These officers take memories to bed each night that you and I would not be able to bear for even one day.
They take criminals to jail and take on the hoodlums you would be afraid to even look at.
Sometimes, they see horrors that would make you cry - things that ordinary citizens are unaware of.
As ordinary human beings, they also cry - but they go on because they find fulfillment in helping others.
Often, they take bullets for us, so that we can see the sun shine another day.
At least 108 police officials were killed in the 2006/2007 financial year.
Next time you see a man or a woman in blue protecting and serving, give them a smile or a polite wave.
You do not know how such small signs of gratitude and respect can make those officers' day.
Such efforts will give them something to hold on to, for the next day to come and years to follow.
Constructive criticism will give the officers more perspective and help them make their next set of choices. Shattering their morale with destructive criticism will not serve any purpose.
It is saddening to know that people do not respect what officers chose to do, yet day after day, they protect you and I.
To see drugs sold to a child younger that their own cause them a heartache.
The job has no glamour, may not pay well, but they do it because they care for more than their own lives.
They care for you and me - they are out there hoping we will all see. They took a path not many would take, and chose it for our sake.
They are remarkable souls, some may call them heroes.
If you ever need them, they will be right there, not just because they are cops but because they care.
Some see them as enemies because they stand in the way of their nefarious activities, while some see them as friends who will take a bullet in order to save their lives.
They warn children about gangs, guns and drugs, and advise elders on how to avoid committing crime.
They dare to go where others fear to tread.
They have seen what you fear to see and done what you fear to do. They have done all these things for you. You lean upon them, the ones you cast your scorn upon, the ones you bring your troubles to. These police officers are here for you. Let us not forget to praise them for their sterling work.