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 http://www.policeweek.org/schedule.html.
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 (www.varropress.com) 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.
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.
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