Archive for July, 2011

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Officer Down

July 9, 2011

They walk into the unknown, where the rest of us don’t want to go. We call them for help in the situations we cannot handle on our own. For police officers, much like firefighters and military personnel, the risks every day are great.

Patrol officers, the front line out on the street, are often at the greatest risk. They are the first responders for a diverse range of calls from a cow or gator (or insert any animal indigenous to your area) in the street to domestic disturbance to a fatality. And one such call took the life of a Bismarck, North Dakota, police officer Friday night.

Bismarck is hometown to both my husband and me, and our daughter. My husband was a Bismarck police officer for more than 10 years until he moved to law enforcement in Florida. Bismarck is generally a typical, mid-American place where the quality and pace of life feels to many like a step back in time. There is crime but for the most part you feel safe there.

Bismarck police officer and K9, photo from BismarckTribune.com

Yet it’s important that each of us remember the danger police officers insert themselves into every day, every shift. They come to work prepared for the worst and hoping for the best.

In Bismarck, like many towns across America, homicides are rare and officers killed in the line of duty rarer. It is heartbreaking that the job we needed this officer to do cost the officer’s life, and it is wrong. None of us have any right to take out our problems and frustrations on innocent bystanders. We call officers to help because they are trained to do so. They serve and protect—us.

Because they do their jobs so well, most of us stay blissfully unaware of that ‘dark’ side of our respective cities. When you live in a place like Bismarck you are hardly aware of any bad element in the city because the Bismarck Police Department contains it and keeps us safe.

Please keep this officer’s family in your prayers. When you see a police officer, thank him or her for doing their jobs. I suspect the officer will be humble and a bit embarrassed by it, and deeply appreciative.

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