NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Nobody gets rich wearing a badge. But the job is rewarding in many other ways to the men and women who are sworn to protect and serve.

High speed chases, adrenaline-fused traffic stops, hands-on combat, manhunts through the woods. When you protect and serve for a living, you wake up each day not knowing what to expect.

Local law enforcement officers spoke with News 2 about their love for the job.

“Being a cop, you live under the microscope every day,” said Lt. Shannon Heflin of the Cheatham County Sheriff’s Office. “You have to do everything right every day. It’s tough.”

“When I go into a restaurant, I always sit with back to the wall. It is very possible you will encounter someone you had an encounter with and had a bad experience with,” Portland Police Chief Anthony Heavener. “No matter, even if after you retire, I’ll be a cop the rest of my life.”

“We all have expectation that our day could turn south,” said Det. Sgt. Christopher Gagnon with Hendersonville police.

But to these heroes, the risk is worth it.

“It’s the greatest thing I’ve ever done in my life. I wouldn’t change it if I could,” said Hendersonville Police Commander Scott Ryan.

In a special News 2 series, officers open up about the perils of their job and how they cope with danger on a daily basis.

You can check out more from Behind the Badge here.