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Columbus Police officers, from left, Mike Ward, Alan Trisler and Dave Heeb pose for a photo April 11 outside the Columbus Police Department. They recently retired from the police department.

Police officers put their lives on the line each time they suit up in their uniforms and gear. That is what Columbus Police Department veterans Lt. Dave Heeb, Lt. Alan Trisler and Lt. Mike Ward each did for more than three decades.

All three of them suited up more than 7,800 times — each time, potentially putting themselves in harm’s way.

All three recently retired — Trisler and Heeb after 36 years, and Ward after 28 with the police department and three with the local sheriff’s department. Their dedication to the job was rooted in a desire to serve others.

Such service by an officer can provide tremendous rewards, such as saving a person’s life, protecting someone from harm, solving a crime or offering advice to a person that later proved to make a positive impact in their life.

However, with an officer’s service comes difficult moments and sacrifices. Officers sometimes witness terrible tragedies that remain in their memories forever. Sometimes their personal and family needs have to become secondary — such as missing important moments in the lives of their spouses and children — because they are called away at a moment’s notice to an emergency. The June 2008 flood in Columbus and other parts of Bartholomew County was one good example, but many more could be listed.

Such courage and conviction is worth our praise. We thank each of the retiring officers for their decades of dedication, and wish them the best in their new retirement.