Wednesday, January 9, 2008

"Remembering All of Law Enforcement's Heroes" My Way

As I have mentioned in several previous posts, I get an email from PoliceLink.com in conjunction with The Officer Down Memorial Page, Inc. whenever there is a line of duty death anywhere within the country's Law Enforcement community. The notification looks like the following:

and arrives with the heartbreaking words "Line of Duty Death Notification" as the subject line in my email box.

Whenever I get one of these emails, I always open it very carefully always holding my breath and hoping against hope that it isn't someone that I knew from my time at the Stockton Police Department in California. I don't worry about it being someone from my time at the Police Department here in Norwich as, should there be a line of duty death here, I'd know about it long before it hit my email. That's not to say that I don't worry about the men and women here because I do - I just don't worry about hearing about something awful via email.

I noticed last year that these emails seemed to have been coming way too frequently and there was a reason for that. According to a December 27th, 2007 press release from the National Law Enforcement Officers' Memorial Fund:
"2007 has been a deadly year for law enforcement in the United States, with 186 officers killed nationwide as of December 26, according to preliminary statistics from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) and Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.). When compared with 2006, when 145 officers died, officer fatalities rose more than 28 percent this year. Outside of 2001, when 239 officers died — 72 in the September 11 terrorist attacks — 2007 is the deadliest year for American law enforcement since 1989, the NLEOMF and C.O.P.S. said in their preliminary report on 2007 officer deaths."
No wonder it seemed like they were coming way too frequently because they were. Needless to say, I got way too many emails last year notifying me of yet another brave man or woman who had given their life while serving their community, their state, or their country. Way too many.

This year I have already received two emails telling me of the deaths of two more brave men - Deputy Sheriff Jason S. Zunker of the Chippewa County Sheriff's Department in Wisconsin, 31-years old and a 4-year veteran of the force, who died of injuries sustained when he was hit by a car while directing traffic at a truck fire; and Detective James Walker of the Miami Police Department, a 30-year old 8-year veteran assigned to the Domestic Violence Unit, who was killed by gunfire from an AK-47 while attempting to take action against a suspect who had just opened fire on another vehicle. Detective Walker was off-duty at the time of the incident and fatally injured while in his unmarked vehicle.

Both of these men leave behind family and friends who are no doubt devastated by their deaths as well as departments that now mourn the loss of one of their own. Senseless deaths. Needless deaths. Deaths that came way too soon to young men in the prime of their lives.

It is my fervent hope that I do not get anywhere near the number of notifications this year that I did in 2007, that the killing of those who have sworn to protect and serve us comes to a stop. Realistically, though, I know that won't happen overnight and I will continue to get these dreaded emails because I'm not going to turn off the notifications and stick my head in the sand for fear that someday one of those notifications will hold the name of someone I knew, someone I shared a shift with, someone I still care about.

What I am going to do, though, is write a post for each man or woman who dies in the line of duty and add their name to a new feature I have installed on my sidebar to honor them. If you look to the right and down a bit, you'll find an American flag with the words "In Memoriam" dedicated to the Law Enforcement personnel who gave their lives in service. I plan on listing their date of death, their departments, and their names with a link to their own individual Memorial Page at The Officer Down Memorial Page. If you have the time, take a moment to stop by and visit their memorials and say a small thank you for their service and their ultimate sacrifice. They, and their families, deserve that much at least.

Also, if you could please join me in saying a prayer that I don't have to add too many more names to that list I would really, really appreciate it. Thank you.

13 comments:

  1. what a great tribute Linda...

    I join you in hoping the numbers go down this year.

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  2. Amen! I join you in this prayer and tribute. Please also visit this page and donate for a law enforcement officer who is sacrificing his time and money for a second year to take part in the Police Unity Tour -

    http://www.shawnsbidness.com/non-profits.php

    Thanks!
    Brain Foggles
    http://www.shawnsbidness.com/blog

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  3. You're a really fantastic person, and I mean that. There should be more people like you in the world.

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  4. ...And those folks don't get paid near enough for what they do and the risks they face!!!!

    We know, we listen to hubby's scanner every night!

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  5. I will add my prayers to yours Linda and may I say it is an admirable thing you are doing. x

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  6. You're not only a wonderful person, but a wonderful writer.

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  7. I'm joining forces with you and the prayers for law enforcement personnel across the country that their watches be safe from harm. Hearing of another police officer hurt or worse, killed in action not only saddens me but it also sickens me when I hear people make snide remarks that the person got what he/she deserved for having that job, being the "pig" you know. When those same people need help though, who do the call upon to rescue them out of ditches, rivers, lakes, accidents of all type but that cop on the beat -then that person is OK. They should be regarded as being OK, a protector of all, at all times, not just when duty calls them into action.
    God bless them, one and all - a difficult job it is they have to perform every day, even when they are off duty too.

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  8. I think it's a wonderful tribute to the brave men and women who have lost their lives providing for our safety every day. I will keep these courageous Law Enforcement personnel and their families in my thoughts and prayers.

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  9. That's an excellent way to honor the sacrifices of our law enforcement officers.

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  10. What a beautiful idea to honor the men and women in law enforcement with a space on your blog. I also will keep them in my thoughts and prayers.

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  11. Thanks for the post. When I re-created my blog I started adding links and images from ODMP.org for all of the officers killed. I did it as a tribute to the officers killed and as a way to still stay active since my retirement as a LEO in 2005.

    I dont use PoliceLink but have News filters setup for officers, agents and deputies killed and injured.

    Thank you for your wonderful post.

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  12. Linda, this is a great idea. Yesterday, I wrote about how bloggers, me in particular, look for ways to keep our blogs interesting and compelling. And then look what you've gone and done. Congratulations!

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  13. It was always a sad day for me when I had to wear a black ribbon across my badge in honor of a fallen officer..Thank you for your wonderful tribute! They did not die in vain.

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