I just wanted to express my disappointment at Forum Communications columnist Rob Port’s article (published April 3 on the Herald’s website) that was critical of police officers Torok and Holte for receiving the Purple Heart and Medal of Honor. Your disapproval was cited as military honors given to civilians.

I agree cops are not the military; however they are mutually similar in their sworn mission to defend the Constitution, the rule of law and to the protection of citizens of our great nation. Beyond an individual's right to self-protection, it is the police who are our first line of defense. The military will not respond to your 911 call for a man with a gun, the fatal accident, sexual assaults, home invasion, etc., but the police will.

Port is blurred in his vision as to “Cops patrol our communities to promote public safety. Soldiers attack our enemies." The streets where cops work is exactly the territory where the enemy resides. Police officers actively promote community public safety 24/7/365. However, during that time, evil and horrific things will occur and the police are expected to professionally mitigate these threats under tremendous scrutiny, even at the cost of their own life, like GFPD Officer Holte did that fateful day last year.

Port wrote, "Our nation has endured no small pain and heartache thanks to the cops who see themselves as military." Rest assured, we are at war and the police officer is the soldier and a warrior who will always answer the call. I agree there are some bad police officers who should never wear the badge and they are of great discredit to those who so proudly serve. The same can be said for every profession in life, including yours.

I am a retired Grand Forks Police Department lieutenant of 21 years and have seen my ample share of human evils and demonic horrors to which Port cannot begin to imagine, all occurring within these city limits. This is the battlefield, they are the soldiers and warriors! Unless you are willing and able to badge up and head straight towards the threat in defense of others with courage and discipline, you should perhaps not be so judgmental of those who do. It's easier to be a keyboard critic than the tip of the spear!

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Would welcome any feedback you may have on this matter.

Lt. Grant Schiller (retired), Grand Forks Police Department