wetzel back of the book
572 words – MR
Fallen officers can save our lives
My friend Kevin was recently promoted to sergeant and has started a novel practice in his roll calls.
He reviews the Officer Down Memorial Page web site, chooses an officer who was killed in the line of duty and talks about them and the circumstances that led to their death. He addresses what the officer may have done wrong and uses it as a teaching moment for personnel under his direction. He then has the officers dedicate that particular shift to the officer who was killed. It really is an outstanding way to honor our fallen – but how their lives can make ours safer is of special importance.
I have always appreciated the value of veteran officers who can provide their agencies wisdom and direction. They often have a wealth of knowledge and experience that may go untapped by department leaders who don’t recognize or appreciate what they can offer. If listened to more, these veterans could present insight on how to provide better levels of service and avoid making unnecessary mistakes. Their ideas could guide their agencies on how to handle officers who develop bad habits or need direction on how to improve. Their backgrounds allow them to offer useful suggestions on tactics, policy development and how to better serve those we have sworn to protect.
These veteran officers are alive, working and available to us but what about those who have died while “protecting and serving” and can no longer speak to us? As my friend is showing, they too can offer us much to learn from if we are only willing to take the time to listen. They made the great sacrifice of their lives in service to others and are treasures whose life experiences offer examples of how to live and work. When we look deeper into their lives, beyond the specific causes of their deaths, we learn of men and women who were fine fathers and mothers, committed friends and brave individuals who believed in a cause greater than themselves.
We will be aware of their mistakes on the job and off and hopefully try to avoid the same problems. We will also find that certain habits or actions on the job can get us killed. The circumstances that cost them their lives may help us develop tactics and plans to avoid the same tragedy. It is very likely that we may be doing something on a daily basis that directly led to a family losing a father or mother in blue.
I am confident that these special men and women who lost their earthly lives would be very pleased to see that their sacrifice wasn’t in vain. They can continue to serve their fellow man through the example of their lives and offer assistance to those of us still laboring to “protect and serve” others. God may allow them to work as he inspired Isaiah when he said, “I will lead the blind on their journey; by paths unknown I will guide them” – Isaiah 42
My friend is definitely on to something with his new roll call practice and I encourage others to not only follow his lead but go even further in studying the lives of those who have made a great sacrifice for us all.
Visit the Officer Down Memorial Page at www.ODMP.org to learn about those special men and women who gave so much.