Police often get a bad rap, but today we are reminded of just how incredible those men and women in blue really are.

Perhaps I'm a little biased, as my cousin is one of Carteret, NJ's Finest, and I know more cops than most people probably do, but I think I'd feel the same way regardless.

Pete Massas, Flickr

To all police officers, past, present, and future,

I'm sorry. I once cursed you under my breath after one of you wrote me a speeding ticket. I have gotten annoyed when I see you hiding behind trees on the Parkway. I have giggled when I see your cars in the Dunkin Donuts parking lot, and I probably haven't always been as appreciative of you as I should be.

But I assure you, I respect the hell out of you. Not many people are willing to wake up in the morning knowing that their job may be the reason they don't come home at night. When a gunman is reported on the roof in the downtown area of a sleepy beach town, most people run in the opposite direction, but you all are the first to run in.

We ask you to put your own lives on the line to save ours. We expect you to protect us, our families, and our neighbors, and you do it without fail. You work 12-hour days, get yelled at, spit on, and shot at. There are songs about how you suck and how terrible and corrupt you are. Sure, there may be a few bad apples, as in any profession, but the truth is, the majority of you are the very definition of heroes and role models, and yet you brush it off as 'just doing my job.'

So thank you for everything you do, the sacrifices you make, and putting up with the grief you get for simply doing that job. You are extraordinary individuals, and P.O.'d as we all may get when we get pulled over, it's nothing personal, we just don't realize that you're trying to keep us from turning into the next gory image that haunts your brain when our speeding cars or distracted driving get us into a bad accident.

You're the first ones most of us will call when we need help, and we know that no matter what, you'll come running.

So I say quite humbly, and with the utmost respect, thank you, and stay safe (especially you, Phil!)

Leave your shoutouts and thanks to your favorite police officers in the comment section below!