If you have not already, please read this short story in the Tacoma paper. Absolutely unreal, and quite timely given recent debate here at the Philosophical Cop. I have always wondered what separates the suspect that “runs” and wants to escape capture (which at least as a mammal, I can understand), and the “attacking” suspect on the other.
Here are four cops who are not interacting with the suspect in any way. They simply wanted a cup of joe. It is a different kind of animal that hunts and assassinates. That behavior cannot be reconciled with my moral insides.
The other thing this makes me recall is the many conversations I have had with loved ones about such attacks. Generally someone asks me, “what if some guy just decides to kill you tonight in a cold-hearted ambush.” The answer, I am afraid, is that if someone like the Tacoma killer decides tonight is my night, then I have little hope of surviving. Period.
Rest in peace.
I received an email from a detective in Evanston, Illinois. As far as I can tell he has no direct ties to Oakland PD. He pointed out to me that the tragedy there left 10 children without fathers. That is an amazing and horrible number. He asked me to spread the word on a fund raising effort he is coordinating for the fallen officers’ families out there. I jealously protect you all from the endless solicitations, etc. that I receive, however this one was quite moving.
If you are so inclined, head over to this link and help him with his project. One hundred percent of the profits go directly to the families. Thanks!
I have posted on this before. If you are a cop (or even if you aren’t), please lord wear your seatbelt. I just spent some time with the family of an officer killed in a crash. I frankly don’t know – or want to know – whether he was buckled up. It doesn’t matter now. What does matter is that no one I have been partnered with (thank goodness) has been killed by gunfire, knife wounds, or a fight. I have lost count of colleagues killed in traffic accidents.
I have heard the tactical arguments. I have thought about how long it takes to get out of the car and start shooting. I have tried various methods of taking off the belt in a hurry. In the balance, I would rather live. And you live by having your seatbelt on. Period.
Put on your seatbelt.
My couple of weeks covering the deaths of officers in the U.S. has taught me a few things. One of the most important has been that most people don’t pay much attention to these tragic losses. But then I had a thought — maybe they don’t know about them?
The good folks at www.odmp.org have helped solve that problem. And I am officially calling all of you out. If you have a web site or a blog, or participate in one on a regular basis, why don’t you head over and download one of the free tools at the odmp page.
They have an RSS feed, or will supply a small banner or button on your site that flashes the names of officers killed recently. Or maybe just place a link on your site. I don’t care if you site is a shopping center, a myspace page, or a sports car dealership. These cops protect us all. Let’s put their names out there when they make the ultimate sacrifice. I think it is the least we can do.
As the end to this rather macabre experiment is upon me, I have some final thoughts. First let me say that two law enforcement officers were lost this week, each with only one year of service behind them. And both Agent Dittman and Officer Fazette leave behind a child and a wife. They, too have made the ultimate sacrifice, and I thank them as I think about them tonight.
Also of note in this tragic story is that both officers were killed in traffic accidents. Driving is far and away the most dangerous thing cops do. It isn’t even close to getting shot, stabbed, or beat in a fight. It is our cars that kill us.
I set out to really “pay attention” for a fixed period of time to the officers killed on duty in the U.S. I am glad I did, and offer a few observations:
1. I became weirdly “anxious” to log on each night and see if another officer had died. I feared they had, and also felt increasing calm as each night without a death passed. Yet each time I learned of a new line of duty death, I seemed to experience the other recent ones all over again.
2. As if I wasn’t bad enough already, my rage at how little people care about these officers has increased tenfold. It is pathetic that a “Google” search for many of them left no real mention, save that of a local paper or obituary item. I feel the same for our armed forces members who die on duty.
Try a “Google” search on the name of a suspect that the police shoot. That will return hundreds of hits every time. It is this balance that is long overdue to be reset in the good guys’ favor.
3. Hundreds of people read about these officers at www.odmp.org or here at the Philosophical Cop. That is a start. Thanks for sharing their stories with me.
As my attempt to focus on officers killed began, it seemed I had some sort of “good luck” effect on the nation’s cops. Apparently this has run out. Officer Matthew Morelli was shot and killed as he exited his police cruiser on March 21, 2008. Compounding the loss to his family and his community, Matthew was also a U.S. Marine alumnus.
Rest in peace; and Semper Fi!!
It seems like politicians and media outlets (my two favorites) like to get face time from an officer killed while performing their duties. Sometimes it seems they are truly moved, but often they shamelessly seek the attention for their own gain.
In any case, it struck me that even I have become jaded to the number of sisters and brothers I lose every year. In 2007, the ODMP reports 186 officers killed in the line of duty. My lord, that is more than one every two days! So to try and scratch the surface, I am going to research the circumstances behind the officers killed for just two weeks and report on them here at the Philosophical Cop. I hope that means I will have nothing to report; the numbers tell me otherwise.
I expect it will, quite honestly, be difficult. I will have to post every night, even though that only takes a few minutes. I will complain that I have other things to do, and I am too busy, and I am tired from my own shift, and I don’t feel well, and on and on. But I will have to pay attention to each and every one of these officers and their families. I will report back with my reactions. I hope it helps us all understand, not just recite the numbers…
Before I could even finish this post, here is the first:
Today, on March 1, 2008, Cleveland Police Officer Derek Owens died after being shot late last night. He was chasing four suspects who were drinking in public. One of them shot and killed Officer Owens. Like me, Owens has been a cop about 10 years. He has an 8-year-old and a 6-year-old child. I think we should remember that more than a number, Officer Owens was a father and a husband — and a cop who was just trying to arrest four thugs. Rest in peace.