National Police Week banner

May 15th is National Peace Officers Memorial Day and is the start of National Police Week, which will run through May 21st.   Many will visit the National Law Enforcement Memorial Museum in Washington, DC and there will be lots of activity planned throughout the week.  For a schedule of events, go to

Back in July 2009, retired high-profile police officer/judge/national instructor, Ed Nowicki, asked for manuscripts for an anthology he was doing called AMERICAN BLUE.  I was honored to have been one of 50 (out of 170) entries that made the cut and the book was published by Varro Press ( in 2011 where it’s still available.  All authors agreed we would not be paid and 100% of the royalties would be donated to the National Law Enforcement Museum. Below is not an actual excerpt, but a rewritten and brief part of what my chapter said.

Police Memorial Badge

As a recent bonafide cop, my husband opted for and was given third detail, where much of the action usually happens.  Due to high crime, two officers were paired to a car.  He and his partner were newbies and, thus, pretty cavalier and unafraid of the danger they were in.  Actually, they considered their calls, so far, to have been pretty kick-ass fun!
The new guys were not permitted to speak to or drink coffee in the same place the elite veterans of this shift patronized until they were invited by one of them. After a few weeks, my husband had been in a lot of fights and other tense situations and soon had the reputation of being a pretty rugged and wild-spirited young man.  So, it wasn’t long before the toughest cop of the elite group, Dave, invited him to join them for coffee one morning.  He was welcomed into the fold and remained there happily.
One sultry night, Richard and his partner were dispatched to an intense domestic situation, but since they were already on a call, Dave and his partner came up second and responded instead.  However, pretty soon a shot rang out at the domestic, a neighbor called 911 and my husband and his partner responded as backup.
Upon arrival, they immediately saw that Dave lay face down in an enormous pool of blood with his body half outside on the porch and half inside the house.  There was no question that he was dead.  Richard had no choice but to step over his buddy’s body, knowing they had been laughing and slapping one another on the back only 45 minutes earlier in a squad meeting.
After the situation was under control and the arrest had been made, it thundered home to Richard that dying is the easiest thing you’ll ever do and you’d better be ready for it because it can happen in an instant.   He realized he needed to get his own religious affairs in order because there won’t be time for it when it happens.  So, he spent the next days and weeks developing his own religious philosophy, his thoughts about the hereafter and making his personal peace with God.  He knew this was imperative in order for him to continue on with a career as a cop successfully and efficiently.  Once done, he never feared death again.
Even after a 42-year career, he will tell you walking through Dave’s blood was the hardest thing he’s ever had to do and he will never forget it.  But he likes to think Dave would be proud to know he taught one young man such a priceless lesson.  He still carries the memory of Dave with him today and will tell you  Dave has been his  personal hero since that long ago day.

Out of respect for Dave’s survivors, I will not list his last name, but I’m sure his name is there on the Memorial Wall in D.C.  Someday I hope we can be there and see it for ourselves.



Thank you for stopping by.  Please leave a comment to let me know you did.


About jtzortman

Author of "WE ARE DIFFERENT NOW" - A Grandparent's Journey Through Grief, first place award winning novel "FOOTPRINTS IN THE FROST" and award-winning novel "SNOW ANGEL". Contributing author to anthologies "Felons, Flames & Ambulance Rides", "American Blue", "Recipes by the Book: Oak Tree Authors Cook" and "The Centennial Book of The National Society of Daughters of the Union 1861-1865". Numerous articles, poems and short stories published since 1990. Charter Member of the Public Safety Writers Association and member of Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. Winner of ten writing awards. I live in a quaint Colorado mountain tourist town with my husband and Siamese cat. When deeps snows blanket the terrain and spectacular views from my windows, it becomes the perfect spot in which to write.
This entry was posted in grief, Jackie Taylor Zortman, Law enforcement, Law Enforcement Memorial Week. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. dianekratz says:

    Very powerful, Jackie! Brought tears to my eyes. My thanks could NEVER be enough to all the public safety officers out there. But I humbly thank you all for keeping my family safe.
    Diane Kratz


  2. J Gary Dunn says:

    Very moving. I guess I’ll never know what the Chief went through in his career.


    • jtzortman says:

      Gary, it’s amazing at what he’s seen and done over 42 years. Nobody understands what it’s like until you are right there in the thick of it. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.


  3. jtzortman says:

    Your comment brought moisture to my own eyes, Diane. No, there’s never enough ways to thank these wonderful men and women. Thanks for stopping by.


  4. What a moving tribute, Jackie!


  5. jtzortman says:

    Thank you, Nancy. It’s always great to see you reading and commenting on my blogs. I so appreciate your support.


  6. Jackie, I’ve been to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial a number of time and was there when it was first dedicated. Police week is special. Honoring the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice is always significant. I have a number of friends on that wall and have shed many a tear for them and their families.There is a great saying etched on the wall and I lked to share it with you. It is not how these officers died that made them heroes, it is how they lived.


    • jtzortman says:

      While browsing through pictures of the Police Memorial, I saw that quote and love it. Richard also has a number of friends listed there. Dave was the first of many fallen comrades, but I imagine the first is the hardest, especially since they were such close friends. Dave was just one graduating class ahead of Richard at the academy.


  7. This is an incredible testimony to the strength of a successful career cop. Great story, Jackie and what an inspiration Richard is.


    • jtzortman says:

      Thank you, Thonie. Dave was the very first dead comrade he saw, but was far from the last, I’m sorry to say. Since the two of them were so close, it made it especially difficult.


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