What has been rewarding for me is that when someone needs help, you are there to help them. In my career I have been involved in many of the exciting aspects of law enforcement, the foot pursuits, car chases, SWAT raids, etc. However there are two incidents that left the greatest impression on me. One was simple and the other more dramatic.
The first was on deep night patrol, and I was dispatched to the residence of an elderly couple who reported a banging noise on the side of their house. The couple were in their late 70s, and the wife's invalid mother lived with them. They awoke to this banging noise and were greatly frightened. I walked around the house and found a broken tree limb that was striking the aluminum gutter. I showed the husband the problem, and he said he would have someone cut it down the next day. The couple were so relieved. I saw then, as a young cop, that as insignificant as that was compared to other calls, it had brought peace of mind to that family.
The second was when I was a detective and we were doing surveillance at an elementary school. A suspect had made several attempts to get young girls in his car, first by just pulling up and telling them to get in and then escalating to actually getting out and grabbing a girl before she was able to break free. I was driving an unmarked car a couple blocks from the school when I observed a car cut in front of a young girl. She stiffened as he said something to her. I cut in front of him and got out. He saw me and started to pull away but I ordered him to stop. I asked what he said to her, and he replied, "I asked if she needed any help."
I said, "Did she appear in distress?
"No", he replied.
I told him he was under arrest. He was the one involved in the other attempts. That girl is now in her twenties.
Being there for others, serving others, whether it is an attempted abduction or a broken tree limb is what law enforcement is about. It's not important if anyone remembers your name, but it is important that people remember that when they needed help, a cop was there to help.