Thanks to Chief Burris and All Our Members on Law Enforcement Appreciation Day!
Law enforcement professionals across the country keep our communities safe
It’s National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day, so to all law enforcement professionals across the country, thank you for your tireless commitment to keeping our communities safe! We at Fight Crime: Invest in Kids deeply appreciate all those, like you, who dedicate their lives to keeping their communities safe. As such, we’d like to highlight one of our members to share some of her experiences and insight she’s gained over her career.
In Indiana, in a little town called Nashville (also known as the “Historic Hoosier Artists Colony”), Heather Burris has been police chief since 2022. Chief Burris has had a long history in public service, serving as a volunteer firefighter with the Fountaintown Volunteer Fire Department from 2006 to 2014, then working her way through other law enforcement agencies before settling in Nashville in 2019. There she began as a patrolman, was elevated to sergeant, and finally was asked to serve as Chief.
Chief Burris knew she wanted to be in law enforcement since she was very young. Following a harrowing childhood experience, Chief Burris was drawn into court processing. It was an emotionally taxing time, but Chief Burris remembers the detective and prosecuting attorney who handled her case with great esteem. They acted as her protectors, mentors, and as a ray of hope during this very difficult period. Their excellent service to a child in need inspired Chief Burris to work in law enforcement. “I’ve always wanted to give someone that safety net and the opportunity to feel empowered,” she said. “That’s why I decided I wanted to be a police officer.”
When speaking with Chief Burris, it becomes perfectly clear what her priorities are—building positive relationships with her community and uplifting young people. “My biggest strive as Chief in this town is to build a relationship of public trust through community policing,” Chief Burris explained. “Community policing is extremely important to me and my leadership.” Two years ago, Chief Burris and her department championed the revival of National Night Out in Nashville. It’s now a highly anticipated, beloved community event, involving everyone from youngest to oldest. “The best feeling in the world is when people talk about the police department, they associate it with National Night Out!” Chief Burris said.
Chief Burris is passionate about connecting with young people and encouraging any interest they may have in joining a career in law enforcement. Her department invites high school students to spend a few hours of their day at the station, having lunch and one-on-one time with officers who share their experiences in the job. Chief Burris speaks to Girl Scouts about what it’s like to be a woman in law enforcement. And she’s had many success stories of working with kids who are getting back on track, setting them up with positive experiences and helping to shift their perspective and notions of law enforcement.
“The young people in our community are the future,” Chief Burris said. “We want to create an environment where they want to stay in the community and become leaders. We want to create as many leaders as we can.” Chief Burris’s dedication to Nashville and those who live there will do just that, and her work as Chief is clearly fulfilling her childhood wish to empower and support others.
Thank you again to all law enforcement professionals, and especially Fight Crime: Invest in Kids members—your work to advocate for young children helps lay the foundation for kids to grow up healthy, safe, and on the path to successful lives!