The risks are real and the threats are much more complex than most people want to acknowledge.
Every time cops like Ashley Guindon put on their badges and head out to work, the criminals they encounter are only one small part of their difficult, dangerous jobs.
Nearly 1 million men and women in blue put their lives in jeopardy every day because they are too often the ones fighting the war on so many social issues that the rest of the nation refuses to properly address: domestic violence, substance abuse, mental illness, post-traumatic stress disorder, poverty and gun control.
This was how Guindon - a 28-year-old Marine Corps Reserve veteran, double-degree college graduate in aeronautics and forensics, and newly sworn-in police officer - was killed Saturday on her first shift as a Prince William County, Virginia, police officer.
She was an ideal rookie - smart, tough, well-educated and with enough opportunity in other career fields that a life on the beat had to be chosen out of conviction and passion for the work.