Sunday, October 26, 2008

Phone calls

Wednesday night we had some excitement at 2:00 in the morning when a guy running from the cops decided to leave his car in front of Brian's work and then "hide" at motel across the street. Clearly not the brightest bulb in the pack and now in some serious trouble since he caused an accident that resulted in the death of a police officer. The police officer left a wife and three children behind...all because this guy didn't want to get stopped and arrested for an outstanding warrant for not appearing at trial for shoplifting some smokes. The police wanted to review the security tapes from Brian's work and so, the phone calls began...and continued until about 3:30 a.m.

The next day I was talking with a guy from high school about the "incident" which was all over the front page, and we both expressed our fear that one day it would be another friend that we read about, who is a former member of the Army Special Forces and is now a County Sheriff.

We've all been friends since high school and the Sheriff was like a brother to me. When he was in the army, I'd call the barracks to talk to him only to discover that he wasn't there. I'd be a nervous Nellie until I heard back from him - often weeks later - that he was safe. He never said where he was (unless he was allowed or it had been on the news) and we rarely discussed it - unless it was me begging him to be safe and maybe think about a career change.

Then he got out of the army. I thought I wouldn't have to worry anymore. He'd go to college, settle down, get married, have a family, yadda, yadda, yadda, just like the rest of us.


He decided to become a cop.

Friday I got a call. "Deb? I think we jinxed him. He was the cop involved in that shooting about an hour ago."

I barely heard "He's OK"

As the phone calls flew around our group of friends, each of us looking for updates, trying to figure out what was going on, the story came out. He shot a suspect.

An hour later we learned the man he shot had died.

No matter whether you are a cop or a member of the armed forces, killing someone - regardless of the circumstances - must be traumatic. How can it not be?

He's been put on leave, pending the outcome of the investigation and as I read the papers, and the comments left by others, I am both heartened by the support and outraged at the ignorance.

How dare you second guess the decision of a trained officer to pull his weapon and shoot when being attacked. He's trained to protect and serve. And if you break the law, brandish a weapon and attack an officer, you are taking your life into your hands. And the consequences you face are the result of your own actions.

I spoke with him today and he seems.....OK, I guess. As well as can be expected. So, I did the only thing I could do. I told we were all behind him, we all supported him and that we would do whatever he needed us to do to get him through this. I can rally the "troops" pretty well. So if he needs us, we'll be there. I am very lucky to have a group of very close friends from high school and many of us remain in frequent contact. One thing about us - don't think that we won't stand behind one of our own. And fight like hell to help.

And then I told him to stay safe. Just like I've done for the past twenty years.

1 comment:

Bethann said...

Having worked closely with law enforcement for many years, I too get very upset when I hear the ignorance that is spewed by those who do not know of what they speak. Yes, as in all professions there are one or two people who cannot handle the powers and authorities that are given to them, however, in my experience, most law enforcement officers are highly trained and skilled, and most go their entire career without firing a weapon and actually causing injury or harm. It is a difficult job for these men and women and they, above all, deserve respect and should also be granted the same courtesy as we give the criminals they arrest, "innocent until proven guilty". It is infuriating to me to hear someone (particularly people with a known dislike for police) to put them down and say, there was no need to fire a weapon. I'm sorry, but if my child or myself were in harms way, I hope to God there is an officer on the scene who will be more concerned with protecting us than whether or not he/she is pleasing the masses by firing or not firing his/her weapon.