As someone that grew up with several family members that served in different capacities of law enforcement, showing support and approval for law enforcement was just something that you did. We had DPS troopers, police officers, game wardens, sheriff's deputies, border patrol agents and military vets all within my family. The number of law enforcement officers in my life grows significantly bigger when you include friends, the ones that aren't blood relatives to me.

Today, there are lots of people that wouldn't agree with me for this opinion of respect for these women and men who have chosen this career field. In their minds, a minuscule few people that pushed their authority a bit too far meant that all law enforcement was bad. Not true.

I realize that growing up here, and living in this Deep East Texas area my whole life, is not like being in cities as big as Houston, Chicago, New York, etc. The crime rate is not near what it is in those areas. But, what I do know, is that our officers - regardless of which uniform they put on daily - are putting their lives on the line for us, just like officers in other, bigger cities. It's that dedication that deserves our respect.

And, sometimes, they give the ultimate sacrifice. We saw that this morning, when a Nacogdoches County Sheriff's Deputy was killed while on-duty. They never know if it's their time to make that sacrifice, but they're still willing to put on that uniform and go to work. To the family and friends of the fallen NCSO Deputy Brad Jimmerson, our thoughts and prayers go out to you. I don't know what it's like to lose someone in that manner. But, what I do know, from what I've seen today, especially on social media, is that you should be proud. I've seen comments and posts from people that knew him personally, and talk about what a great guy he was. I've seen comments and posts from people that didn't know him personally, but show him the respect all the same. I fall into the latter category. Even if I don't know all the officers personally, I think they deserve respect and gratitude for what they choose to do. Because this could happen to any of them.

So, whether it's an unpopular opinion or not, I "Back The Blue". Without them, we'd be in a lot worse shape. They put their lives on the line for us, so showing a little respect is the absolute least that we can do. So, do me a favor: go out of your way to thank an officer. They've earned it, even though they didn't have to. #BackTheBlue

-Mark Cunningham