LEWISTON — How did you spend your Saturday night?
Catch a movie, go to dinner, watch the Red Sox?
Not police Lt. David St. Pierre. He worked all night as the shift commander, monitoring safety in the city, overseeing all of the police working their beats.
The same for Auburn police, Androscoggin County Sheriff's deputies and all other law-enforcement officers.
It's not a career in which you get nights and weekends off. Holidays? Forget about it. Not to mention most of the people they deal with are not happy. Couples yelling and fighting, bad guys breaking into cars and houses, drunk persons doing things they shouldn't, people threatening people, car crashes, oh my.
Enter Sept. 21.
Saturday was the second “Thank a Police Officer Day,” according to “TheBright.com” and dozens and dozens of Facebook posts.
The relatively new annual event was founded by Andrew Hale of Chicago who created the day to recognize police officers across the country so they could be honored by their communities for doing a difficult job.
When asked about the day, St. Pierre said funny you should mention that.
“One of our officers was at the gym today," he said. "Someone left a note on his car, 'I want to thank you for your service.'”
That officer, Nick Meserve, doesn't know who left the note. “It's nice,” Meserve said.
And, on Saturday, St. Pierre got a call from a man who said he had just been stopped by Officer Larry Maillet, who gave the motorist a citation for a suspended registration. The man called to praise the officer.
“He said the officer was the most professional, courteous officer he'd ever dealt with,'” St. Pierre said, and the man wanted to share that with Maillet's superior.
“Usually we don't receive a lot of good calls,” he said.
In Auburn, police were getting thanks on their Facebook page.
“You folks have a tough job,” wrote John Snyder. “If I am a 'bad guy,' you are jerks or worse.” The public's expectations of police officers is demanding, he said. “I do not envy your position. Thank you for the job you do!”
Tate Howes also thanked officers in Auburn and across the country “for keeping us safe. Without you, it would be chaos.”
St. Pierre, 43, said most police officers go into law enforcement because they want to help people.
He decided by the sixth grade that was what he wanted to do. After graduating from St. Dominic Regional High School and Saint Anselm College, he started doing police work in York. He's been with the Lewiston Police Department for 21 years.
One of the best parts of the job is helping others, plus the camaraderie with officers “and getting to know a lot of people where you live,” St. Pierre said.
Among the worst parts is the schedule. Typically, officers work a lot of nights. They get a weekend off every six and a half weeks.
The very worst “is dealing with tragedies, especially with children,” St. Pierre said. “We get to see things most people don't see — some good, some bad.”
Auburn Police Deputy Chief Jason Moen said police are happy about the new day. "We are usually dealing with someone on their worst day. So when we hear, 'thank you,' it can brighten our day."
St. Pierre agreed. “All our guys do a lot, sacrifice a lot, for the community. It's good to let them know they're appreciated.”