Every 58

Each year, at the time of the National Police Memorial Day, May 15th, first designated by President Kennedy; I attempt to write a short article to encourage those who are part of the ‘thin blue line’ and to perhaps educate or challenge those who are not.

Police officers being killed in the line of duty has a history as deep as the profession itself. According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, the first law enforcement officer killed in the United States was Sheriff Cornelius Hogeboom of Hudson, New York. He was shot as he attempted to serve a writ of ejectment; becoming the first known United States law enforcement officer to be killed in the line of duty.

On May 15th 126 new names will be added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington D.C. Of those 126 officers killed in 2014, three of the fallen officers were female. The average age of a fallen officer was 41, with an average of 12 years of service. Each officer left behind two children on average.
A recent headline read that law enforcement officer  deaths “spiked” in 2014 compared to 2013. There is always a bit of difficulty when looking at facts over a short time frame without the context. The chart below gives a much clearer picture of the number of officers killed recently compared to the history dating back to when President Kennedy inaugurated Police Memorial Day. The early 1970’s were a very difficult time for police and handgun related shootings of officers was very high.Today’s headlines also seem to focus on the number of handgun or firearm related murders of police officers perhaps fueled by the anti-gun lobby. Of course, the bumper-sticker wisdom of “outlaw guns and only outlaws will have guns” can be applied to that type of reasoning.Officers KIA
There are approximately 900,000 sworn law enforcement officers in the United States. About every 58 hours, one of them dies protecting the citizens they serve. A concerning fact is that in 2014 ambush murders of police was the most deadly form of attack. In many cases the officers had no opportunity to respond or react to their attackers. Every 58 hours or so, a department loses an officer; a husband or wife loses a spouse; a parent loses a child; children lose a mommy or daddy.
Just last week came the news of two officers killed by two ‘career criminals’ in a small town in Mississippi. Killed were  Benjamin Deen, 34, a former “Officer of the Year” in Hattiesburg and Liquori Tate, 25, who grew up in Starkville, 150 miles north of Hattiesburg. Tate was a 2014 graduate of the law enforcement academy. He was known to his friends as “CoCo,” said his stepfather, B. Lonnie Ross of Jackson, adding that Tate was 12 when they met and already wanted to be an officer.’ This young rookie gave everything he had to his calling. May their memories be honored.
This years Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Day on May 15 has a special meaning to me and my family. On May 16th my son, Daniel who is 21 will graduate from the police academy and will then be sworn in as an officer for the department from which I retired as the chief several years back. I have the honor of leading the newly graduated officers in a ceremonial reading of “A Police Officers Prayer”, I will share it with you here:
“When I start my tour of duty, God, wherever crime may be; as I walk the darkened streets alone, let me be close to Thee. Please give me understanding with both the young and old. Let me listen with attention until their story’s told. Never let me make a judgment in a rash or callous way. But let me hold my patience, let each man have his say. Lord if some dark, dreary night, I must give my life; Lord with your everlasting love, protect my family and those in my life.” (Anonymous)

One is Too Many

For over forty years I have been a member of the law enforcement profession. For almost as long, I have been proudly affiliated with the U.S. Armed Forces, specifically the U.S. Air Force Reserve. From the very beginning of my careers in the mid 1970’s, law enforcement was given the badge of dishonor of having one of the highest divorce rates and even worse, one of the highest suicide rates, particularly among retirees of similar professions. Already I can hear you thinking, this is going to be a downer of a message; I don’t think I care to keep reading, or listening. I don’t blame you, suicide is a sad, painful topic. But in the midst of that pain and sadness, I come to you with two kinds of good news, first about suicide rates and second about the ultimate option that can be used to prevent the rates from spiraling out of control again.

What prompted me to write this was an article I read recently in the publication of the Air Force Security Forces Association, of which I am proud to be a member. It also caused me to look up some information on police related suicides as well. Here is the first bit of good news. The suicide rates for the U.S. military for all branches declined from 2012 to 2013. In 2012 there were 522 suicide deaths among all services. Of those, fifty-seven were airmen. The data for 2013, though not complete, shows that service wide the number dropped to 474. Lt. General Michael Linnington, Military Deputy at the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness (can you imagine putting that on your business card?) says that “With an 18 percent drop in 2013, something is going right.” I agree with the General with one glowing exception. The 48 deaths less from 2012 to 2013 is just over 10 percent. To get an 18 percent change, the Lt. General was only counting the fifty-eight deaths less from the 319 to 261 Active Duty suicides between 2012 and 2013. Fifty-eight is 18 percent of 319 but if we are really counting all of our members, then we should really count all of them. Still, almost 11 percent improvement is a good thing and when the Lt. General says, “something is going right” I agree. I also agree with his remark that “one suicide is too many.” He said that the services needed to focus their efforts on where they believe they are most needed.

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That comment struck me just a bit as I recalled an internet message I received just recently from the U.S. Navy Reserve unit based in Cleveland and Akron here in NE Ohio. I had written to the unit’s program manager. She had informed me that the unit only had a part time chaplain. I am completing training for trauma counseling with a focus on military personnel and I have been certified for trauma counseling through the American Association of Christian Counselors. I volunteered my services to this Reserve unit and after checking with her commander, she informed me that they had no need for trauma counseling. I trust that the commander of the U.S. Navy Reserve contingent in NE Ohio is very thankful that he has a unit free of trauma. I pray that he never has to face the family of a Reservist who has committed suicide, I really do.

Then, of course, there is the law enforcement side of the picture. Again, there is a decline in the number of suicides among police. I do not believe these numbers reflect police retirees, only active duty law enforcement. “The Badge of Life (BOL) just released their initial report on law enforcement suicides over the past year. The good news is that the police suicide rate dropped in 2012 when compared to 2009 (the last time a study was completed). The bad news is it didn’t drop enough. One hundred twenty six law enforcement officers committed suicide in 2012. Additionally, in 2012, 129 officers “died in the line of duty”

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When we consider retirees or, for the military, if we look at veterans, the numbers are not as encouraging. For example, veterans are committing suicide at more than double the U.S. civilian population. “Records from 48 states show the annual suicide rate among veterans is about 30 for every 100,000 of the population, compared to a civilian rate of about 14 per 100,000. The suicide rate among veterans increased an average 2.6 percent a year from 2005 to 2011, or more than double that of the 1.1 percent civilian rate, according to News21’s analysis of states’ mortality data.” Police retiree suicide numbers are not as traceable because so many leave law enforcement and go on to other careers, often their suicides are not considered linked to the police work and there is no central reporting mechanism for such events. It is often impossible to track the suicides of those retired through their pension systems because cause of death is not a question that is recorded.

There are several factors that make finding a specific cause or causes for these alarming rates nearly impossible. For example, in both the police community and in the military the vast diversity of types of personalities, backgrounds, faiths, family dynamics, education, and personal health all create variables that make defining the problem even more complex. Suicide rates nationally vary by regions, this affects the police numbers as well. Pre-employment screening is done in some places, not in others. Would such screening have identified certain officers as more likely to commit suicide? Intervention programs, where they exist, also vary greatly across the country. Some departments have complete mental health resources available to their personnel. Others are more like the Navy commander and don’t see a need for such intervention.

So there is ‘good news’ and ugh… not so good news. As the General said, even one is too many but we, as a society, or as subcultures of society, such as the police or military, are limited to how far we can go. Recent studies show that suicide rates for veterans are skyrocketing. Yes, while men and women are in the service or on the job, they have resources; but those resources diminish to nearly nothing once a person retires or is discharged from active duty. There are too many cracks through which someone can fall. The answer comes by way of something that, though it is an answer, it is still a double edged sword.

Just as with the vast majority of our society’s ills, the key ingredient, the most efficacious remedy, the strongest, most resilient binding for wounds that can help bring people through their horrific dark times is family. The erosion of the family unit in America is the primary event that has led to the inability to care for our own. It is at once, that simple and that complicated.

Suicide has touched almost everyone in some form or another. I know of two that are so very close to me that I can speak with some authority to this next point. Even when family is close, even when persons who care desperately attempt to intervene, sometimes it is not enough and – this next point is critical – it is NOT the fault of the family members left behind for something that they did or did not do. When an individual reaches a point of deciding to take their own life, I firmly believe that they are not capable of thinking rationally, nor clearly. Certainly, their actions may be well planned and seemingly thought through to the minutest detail, but the rational part of the mind that would allow them to see the pain that they will cause, the simple trading of one set of problems for others that may be eternally worse is not part of their thinking process. Their physical pain or mental torture has brought them to the brink of an abyss that no one can see but them and they seek, what they believe to be, a release from whatever demons are driving them. No family member, friend, or significant other should ever carry the guilt of another’s suicide but rather realize that the person who has fully acquiesced to self-inflicted death is beyond anyone’s ability to reason with them. Those who are brought back from the brink of that abyss were, I believe, not yet fully committed to the final act.

There is only one person who has the capability to fully understand that pain and have the ability to meet someone there in that pain and give that person the peace with life’s circumstances so as to help them back from the precipice. That person is Jesus Christ. That is the truly Good News that can make all of the difference in the world. I made the comment that when someone has reached that final point of despair they are beyond anyone’s ability to reason with them. When I say that I know that first, with God all things are possible but I also believe that Christ would not reason with them. His intervening in their lives would be of such an amazing of grace that it would be irresistible. However, God does permit man to choose his own path; but families and friends can pray and seek God’s intervention. God’s Word assures us that: “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”

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So here we are, several paragraphs later and to what good point has this discussion arrived? Has it illumined for you, dear reader, dear listener the plight of our veterans, our military active duty and reservists; or our law enforcement and encouraged you to pray for them and for their families? Has it stirred you to seek a deeper walk with Christ so that you might know better how to pray, that you might encourage someone to accept the grace of Christ Jesus, His forgiveness and His peace? Perhaps the next time you see a homeless person on the street, you may envision a former soldier, sailor or airmen who fought valiantly but later lost everything. ImageMaybe you will offer a word of encouragement instead of looking away, maybe even just a friendly glance. I am reminded of a story of a young man who can relate better than anyone what just such a kind gesture might mean. His name is Kevin Hines. He knows the statistics that over 1,300 people have jumped from the Golden Gate Bridge to their death and only about a dozen have jumped and survived. Mr. Hines is one of them. I will let him tell you his story as retold by Dr. Robert Simon

“Mr. John Kevin Hines, who said he was one of only two persons to survive a jump from the bridge since 2000, was a presenter at the workshop. Mr. Hines’s description of his profound mental suffering and isolation that preceded his suicide attempt was gripping and emotionally moving. The audience asked many questions.

Mr. Hines described his struggle with a severe bipolar disorder that emerged during his adolescence and worsened over time. Mr. Hines was overwhelmed by paranoid delusions and command auditory hallucinations demanding that he kill himself. Unable to function, he withdrew from college and immediately took a bus to the Golden Gate Bridge. Like many people about to commit suicide, he was ambivalent about dying. He tarried at the bridge railing for about 40 minutes, trying to decide whether to go through with his plan to jump.

A number of people walked by him, oblivious to his anguish, unaware of his life-and-death struggle. Mr. Hines told us that “If someone had smiled and said, ‘Are you okay?’ I know I would have begged them to help me. I would have told them everything and asked for help. I would not have jumped. I just was unable to ask for help myself.” In fact, a foreign tourist did stop and talk with Mr. Hines. She asked him to take her picture, which he did. As she walked away, he felt more than ever that “Nobody really cares.” He jumped. On the way down, he changed his mind. He remembered thinking, “I want to live. Why am I doing this?” It was too late. Severely injured, Mr. Hines was kept afloat by a sea lion until rescuers arrived.

I asked Mr. Hines that if someone had smiled at him when he was on the bridge, given the severity of his mental illness, would it have prevented his suicide attempt. He answered, “Yes, a smile would have most definitely helped in my case. If the smile is genuine and caring, and it looks like the person is approachable, that person could have such an impact on a suicidal person at the moment of desperation. They could well save a life.”

As surely as Jonah was saved by a ‘big fish’ sent by God, it was God that sent that sea lion. What all of those people who passed by could have done, they did not; God had to use a sea lion instead. I do not profess to know much but as I consider the places that I travel to every single day here in Northeast Ohio, I know that there are no sea lions here, except in the zoo. So, I have decided that since God cannot depend on using a sea lion to help someone in desperate need; I will have to make certain that I am as ready as I can be so He can use me.

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April Is… But Every Day Should Be

April is the month we focus on preventing child abuse, but every DAY should be.

The following article was posted on one of the more widely read sites. I could not let it just go… SCI does background checks and we provide huge discounts for leagues. There is just no excuse for not checking out the coaches and volunteers. Our kids deserve to have us looking out for them.

“Why Youth Athletes May Not Tell If They’ve Been Abused”

Posted by Jodi Murphy

  

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month and we as sports parents, coaches, volunteers and administrators need to do everything in our power to ensure that every single youth athlete in our leagues is safe from both bullying and abuse. Unfortunately, stories of sexual abuse in youth sports are disturbingly easy to find. Just do a quick Google search for “coach sexually abuses players” and you’ll find far too many news reports about it, plenty of which never received the same national media attention as the Sandusky trial.

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Most parents think that if someone were abusing their child they would find out about it immediately but statistics show that 73% of children do not tell anyone about their sexual abuse for at least one year. Here are 3 reasons a youth athlete might not admit they’ve been abused:

Because of the relationship with their abuser.

Only 7% of child sexual abuse cases involve abuse by a stranger. That means that the vastmajority of the time the child knows, trusts, or even loves their abuser. It could be a family member, a friend, a neighbor, or even a sports coach. Many sexual predators use this relationship to their advantage, leveraging their position of power to keep the child quiet. We raise our children to respect adults and authority figures, which predators also use to control their victims.

They were shamed into secrecy.

Victimized children often blame themselves for sexual abuse, and that blame is encouraged by the abusers. They may tell a youth athlete it is their fault this is happening or that no one will believe them if they speak up. With enough pressure the players start to believe it’s true and the abuser gains even more control over their victims. Depending on how young the player is they might not even fully understand what is happening. Boys in particular may be ashamed to tell someone that they are being abused, especially if they feel they should be able to stop the abuse on their own.

Boundary lines were no longer clear.

Many sexual predators “groom” their victims, starting with innocuous touches like hugs and pats on the back, which are fairly typical physical interactions for most children. These interactions are not innocent; instead they make the child more comfortable with physical contact, which the abuser can then use to their advantage later.  Over time abusers will use increasingly inappropriate comments and touches to cross acceptable boundary lines without the child (or anyone else for that matter) realizing what is happening.

Although it’s true that most youth sports coaches truly care about their players and would never abuse any of their players in any way, there are still a small percentage of predators out there that will use the coaching platform as a means to gain access to your children. Youth sports organizations can’t risk accidentally hiring a sexual predator as a coach or volunteer so coach and volunteer background checks should be mandatory for everything that works in your organization!  

 

If you are part of a league and want to learn more about what we can do for you, please feel free to contact us with your questions. SCI can be found at:

www.security-consulting.us

330.956.9561

director@security-consulting.us

RESILIENCE – America at Its Core

The news release read: “The Taliban, he says, has been a clever and persistent foe, and has not been defeated. It will re-emerge…” in the statement by former Congressman Peter Hoekstra. The article went on to say that he was “very very pessimistic…” as he assesses NATO and U.S. troop withdraw from Afghanistan.1 If there is any one thing Americans, particularly politically conservative Americans should not be, it is pessimistic.

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As we approach Law Enforcement Memorial Week with a time on the 15th where those who gave their lives in the line of duty in 2012 are honored at the Law Enforcement Memorial in Washington D.C. and in services across the country, the operative word is Resilience. In the wake of the Boston bombings, in an incredibly short span of time, officers were able to identify the offenders and neutralize the threat. We are at a time when our political processes, though far from perfect, are able to bring to light the inadequacies of the highest levels of government and their lack of response to egregious acts against our embassy in Benghazi and Tripoli. We, as the strongest democratic Republic in the world, are able to call our leaders before us as citizens and say, you were wrong and you deserve to pay for those lapses of judgment. The United States of America still, with ridiculous budget cuts brought on only by political ineptitude, are still able to muster the largest standing all volunteer military on the face of the globe and across all history. America has much for which she may be proud, even more for which to be thankful to God, Almighty, the One True God.
A recent article by William Kristol contained this statement: “The British have known for centuries that it’s not enough to hope for happy and glorious days in the future. It’s also necessary, with God’s help, to act in the present to scatter our enemies and make them fall. It’s necessary to confound their politics and frustrate their knavish tricks.”2 The conservative American, be he a statesman or a day laborer knows one thing within his inner most being. It is a fact that cannot be argued to too fine a point, simply that the facts of a free market, a smaller federal government and citizens who are armed both with the knowledge of history and the armament of the future is the successful way to govern. Ralph Waldo Emerson stated it as such: “There is always a certain meanness in the argument of conservatism, joined with a certain superiority in its fact.”3
Countless men and women have literally given their very lives in pursuit of the freedom that Americans enjoy every day. We, as the current holder of the torch must never allow the ill winds of pessimism, defeatism and cowardice to extinguish that flame. It is that brightly burning flame that has brightened the path for so many to follow. There will always be the ‘nay-sayers’ and the pessimists. There will always be the politicians who are in the halls of legislatures that are there for all the wrong reasons. They are the ones who when questioned about their failure to act in a time of crisis will respond, “What does it matter now?” When that exact same politician declared only months before when seeking even higher office, that they would be the ones we want to answer the phone at 3a.m. when the world was falling apart. Three a.m. came and went on their watch, they did nothing and good people died. What does it matter now? It matters a great deal more today than perhaps it ever did before.

Just a few short hours ago, a call came to the office. It was from a local radio station that had thrown its full support behind helping stem the critical lack of blood supplies for our citizens and our soldiers. That young man needed to know if this small business would stand with them. Word that our troops do not have enough blood supplies to help them while still on the battle fields rang a strong chord in this old veteran’s heart. This veteran has a soldier son, who is hurt, who must face the surgeon’s scalpel in only a few short hours. But, even if that call was not so close to home, this veteran and a hundred thousand others across this great nation would form the longest blood drive line one could ever see – just tell them where duty calls, let them hear the trumpet blast, and they will rise. They have given it all before and they will do it all again.

I am proud that I had the opportunity to serve both in this nation’s armed forces and along the thin blue line. God has been gracious to me and kept me from much of the evil that has surrounded me throughout the years. If I can do nothing more now than to add my name to a list to support such a worthy cause, then allow that to be the case. General Douglas MacArthur, upon his retirement, is quoted as saying: “Old soldiers never die, they just fade away.”4 In many ways, I am sure that is true but in so many more ways, I believe the valor, the pride, the distinction with which they served lives on in the lives, in the faces, and in the resilience of the soldiers, sailors, airmen and their combined families of the United States of America. “ I’m proud to be an American”, the country western song goes, “where at least I know I’m free; and I won’t forget the men who died who gave that right to me…”5 Resilience, it comes not from a text book, a Sunday school lesson, not even a sermon. It comes from the hard, gnarled hands that are no stranger to hard work and it is passed from those hands by the soft caress of a newborn baby’s cheek; a tear in an old man’s eye at the sight of Old Glory passing by. May God bless America and may Americans bless God.

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ENDNOTES
1 http://www.lignet.com/ArticleAnalysis/Hoekstra--Afghanistan-is-fragile-and-likely-to-reg
2 Kristol, William Resistance is Not Futile The Weekly Standard February 25, 2013
3 Ibid.
4http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Douglas_MacArthur
5Lee Greenwood - I'm Proud To Be An American (Lyrics in description) 

 

The Thin Blue Line

the ‘Thin Blue Line’ the only thing standing between civilization and total anarchy

 

MINISTRY MINUTE: When there’s only a minute for ministry  Dr. Ross L. Riggs

The following is re-printed here for all retired law enforcement officers and their families: 

Author: Unknown (attributed to Charles Crawford, Chief of Police, Retired)

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Once the badge goes on, it never comes off, whether they can see it, or not. It fuses to the soul through adversity, fear and adrenaline and no one who has ever worn it with pride, integrity and guts can ever sleep through the ‘call of the wild’ that wafts through  bedroom windows in the deep of the night.

When a good cop leaves the ‘job’ and retires to a better life, many are jealous, some are pleased and yet others, who may have already retired, wonder. We wonder if he knows what he is leaving behind, because we already know. We know, for example, that after a lifetime of camaraderie that few experience, it will remain as a longing for those past times. We know in the law enforcement life there is a fellowship which lasts long after the uniforms are hung up in the back of the closet. We know even if he throws them away, they will be on him with every step and breath that remains in his life. We also know how the very bearing of the man speaks of what he was and in his heart still is.

These are the burdens of the job. You will still look at people suspiciously, still see what others do not see or choose to ignore and always will look at the rest of the law enforcement world with a respect for what they do; only grown in a lifetime of knowing. Never think for one moment you are escaping from that life. You are only escaping the ‘job’ and merely being allowed to leave ‘active’ duty.

So what I wish for you is that whenever you ease into retirement, in your heart you never forget for one moment that ‘Blessed are the Peacemakers for they shall be called children of God,’ and you are still a member of the greatest fraternity the world has ever known.

 

There are different professions that sometimes remark as to the way in which those who serve in them continue to share in the passion for the service long after their active duty tour has ended. Most have heard that there is “no such thing as an ex-Marine” and anyone who carries proudly the name veteran understands that statement regardless of their branch of service. Firefighters are a breed of their own as well. But now, as we begin to near the annual Police Memorial Week hosted in Washington D.C. by the Law Enforcement Foundation and Concerns of Police Survivors, it is time to look toward the police service for its commitment to the safety of American citizens and their posterity.

A well-known symbol among law enforcement is a thin blue line upon a black background. The term of the thin line began in the 19th Century between the British Army – Commander William Russell 93rd Sutherland Regiment and the hussars (cavalry units) and Cossacks of the Russian Army fighting at Balaclava in the Crimea (Ukraine). Rather than using four lines of red dressed soldiers to present rolling volleys of fire, he stretched it out to only two lines to cover more area and did not form a square against the cavalry but kept the volleys of fire coming, driving the Russians into retreat. The ‘Thin Red Line’ was carried on to describe the British units stretched across the globe to defend the British Empire.

In the 20th Century the term was adapted to the ‘Thin Blue Line’ the only thing standing between civilization and total anarchy. It is a very thin blue line. There is a very interesting aspect though to the ‘thin blue line.’ That aspect is its strength and its resilience. No other line, so very thin, so continuously attacked, has developed a survivability that can only have two co-joined sources. The first is faith, a complete trust in the God of our fore-fathers and the second is in the camaraderie that comes with the badge and the service above self that it demands.

There is one thing that holds with the cop that grows deep within his soul. It is that blue line, that thin blue line that crosses the heart, wraps the soul and winds its way through the every aspect of that cop’s life. The retired cop’s family knows it all too well. Whether it is that last walk around the house in the evening to double check the locks on the doors or the unspoken rule in every restaurant in every town; Dad is always to have the seat that has his back to the wall and facing the door. There is that one last word of caution before his daughters head out for the evening or the double take at the cop with the car pulled over on the highway as he drives by, slowly, ready to stop if he sees that the cop needs help.

There will  be the day when the caring stops. There will  come a day when he stops thinking like a cop. That is the day he is laid to rest and he signals in EOS.

What if?

Sometimes the best questions come from the most innocent of minds and usually those questions have the most complex, yet obvious, answers. Such was the case earlier today after an interaction with a pseudo-homeless man who had some degree of apparent metal retardation but not severe enough to make him dangerous, at least not in his current state of mind. Rather than a request for money or even food, he reported that he had run away from a half-way house and the local MRDD center had gotten word to him that he must report there before 2pm to avoid being in trouble. An odd introduction, particularly to a retired cop.It was almost 1330 and he would need to walk at least a mile and half to get to the center; the sun was belting out a wonderful June brightness in 90 degree heat, so I acquiesced to a ride; since I was comfortably carrying under the Federal Law Enforcement Officers’ Safety Act just in case his mood changed. Our interchange during the short ride was pleasant though bordering on the odd (after nearly forty years in some kind of law enforcement related field my definition of ‘odd’ is a bit harder to reach than some.) I did learn that there were a couple of stores along our route into which he was not permitted to go and he hinted that certain authority figures might be looking for him. (Naturally after I dropped him off, within a block or two I saw a local cop and told him of our new friend’s whereabouts)

All of this to share with you a question posed to me by my grandson, age six, later the same day having learned of the adventure in which I had found myself. It became a three-part question but began:

“What if all of the policemen were gone and there were only people (like this man I described) and ‘bad people’?” He then broadened the scope, “What if there were no policemen or no army men to protect us?” And finally, “What if there were no policemen, army men or dads and moms to protect us?”

He came up with his own answer almost immediately. “The ‘bad guys’ would have all the guns and they would do whatever they want to us, especially us little kids.”

What a great segue into the article I have written that, thanks to the great editorial work of Chris Graham, will find itself gracing the cover of the next issue of The Counter Terrorist magazine.My article takes a bit of a different tack on ‘protecting’ the public by police and army personnel as I trust you will read in my article. That is where the complexity of my grandson’s question comes in. It cannot be, in a society such as ours, the responsibility of the police and military to protect us except in the large sense of keeping al Qaeda pinned down somewhere in Afghanistan so they cannot control more than they do. But from an individual standpoint, officers respond to crime after the event so their responsibility must lay in teaching citizens how to avoid crime and to defend themselves against a would-be attacker.

The simplicity of the answer, though, to my grandson’s question, and absolutely correct was he in his analysis of the results should the ‘thin blue line’ be erased. There would be anarchy. Regardless of one’s choice either of the’ big picture protection’ where the police and military keep the bad guys on their side of the street or their responsibility to provide the citizens what they need in order to protect themselves; the result is the same. “The bad guys would have all the guns and they would do whatever they want to us, especially us little kids.”

Oh How the Mighty Have Fallen

Dr. Ross L. Riggs, Chief of Police Retired, Louisville Ohio Police Department ~ Director SCI, LLC

National Police Memorial Week – May 15, 2012 –Police Memorial Day

        “O, how the mighty have fallen” – King David cries out, mourning the death of a valiant warrior and   dear friend, Jonathon of the family of Saul. (2 Samuel 1:25) Once again, Americans come together to honor the sacrifices of law enforcement across this great nation. This week around the country and particularly in Washington D.C., near the offices of the U.S. Supreme Court, at the Law Enforcement Officers’ Memorial; officers, family and friends will gather to honor the newest ‘inductees’ into this place of tribute. One-hundred and sixty-two names will be on the roll call for those killed in 2011, the third highest year since 2001 and another nearly 200 names for those from previous years whose information was just recovered.

Since 2001, 1,559 officers have been killed in the line of duty. Out of those fifteen hundred plus who have given up their lives, most were either shot or killed in a car crash. Just eight were killed by terrorist attack. Stack that number eight against the seventy-two that were killed in a matter of hours on 9-11-2001 and you see what a difference those who battle against terrorists are making. But whether it is 72, 8 or 1, to the family of that 1 it is a day that changes the lives of their families forever.

Personally, I feel a great sense of duty to those comrades who have fallen and to their families, to not allow anything to tarnish the memory of their sacrifice. I am extremely grateful for all who wage war against terrorists. I believe it is due to their efforts and divine grace that America has ‘only’ 8 terrorism related officer deaths in the decade since 9-11. (The word ‘only’ is used most preciously.)

As we honor all who have sacrificed, and particularly given the ultimate sacrifice, may we, as Americans, re-commit ourselves to do whatever it takes to keep freedom flying here at home and across the globe, wherever men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces serve. Jesus Christ said, “Greater love has no man than this, than he lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13) The Bible makes it clear that seldom will someone give their life for a good man but how blessed it is when someone gives their life, even for a stranger. That is the evidence of reward for those officers in Christ who have given up their own lives on behalf of someone they never knew and an encouragement to officers, every day as they hit their beat. May God protect you, watch over you and your family and may He bless you, as He proclaimed in Matthew 5:9, “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God.”