National Police Week

Your chance say thanks!

Violence begets violence and civility fosters calm. EPD has encouraged our officers to treat all people with dignity and respect, fostering the idea that treating people well pays off in dividends. Our officers are stepping up to the plate.  One officer I spoke with extends his hand in a gesture of peace to each contact he makes; suspect, victim or casual contact. Most shake, a few spit and some are stunned.

Civility however is a two way street.  All citizens must recognize that cops are people too and being cussed at, spit on or assaulted pushes that pendulum of civility the opposite direction.  What kind of community does Eureka want?  EPD is committed to leading toward civility. We are human however.  While we expect our officers to be professional even in the midst of extreme provocation, I recognize my officers are moms and dads who bleed, hurt and even sometimes die.

This week EPD along with millions of others across the nation celebrate the many incredible and heroic acts police officers perform, often times without notice. It also honors the ultimate sacrifice many have made in the line of duty this past year.  California alone lost 15 officers in 2014, many by gunfire.  Nationally, 144 officers lost their lives serving the public.  http://www.odmp.org/search/year?year=2014  As John Morrison wrote in his poem, Walking Point, we must remember how the officers lived…more than how they died.  Each day EPD officers strap on a gun and a Kevlar vest, they know full well they will confront things most people don’t want to know about, see or even think exists. They are willing to do this for you.  Please take a few seconds and read John’s letter to SDPD after two of my colleagues were killed in the line of duty.

WA LK I N G TH E POINT

Lt. John Morrison (ret) of the San Diego Police Department

John wrote this letter to his officers who were in deep mourning after officers Harry Tiffany and Ron Ebeltoft were killed in the line of duty. His words speak to us all and are a powerful reminder of the ever – point present risk and the unquestioned honor of our nation’s/Eureka’s finest!

Here is the letter:

All of us have heard by now the many versions of what happened on Crandell Street on a Saturday afternoon, and how we came to lose Officers Harry Tiffany and Ron Ebeltoft. Some of us even know the truth. And a few of us, apart from the table pounders and chronic fault seekers, know that there are some things you just can’t do without suffering, very literally and profoundly, casualties—and our job is one of them!

You can’t race cars without crashes, you can’t dig mines without cave-ins, and you sure as hell can’t send cops out into the streets of a violent society without violent deaths! Tiffany and Ebeltoft knew that, and they did it anyway—as we all do. Those who knew them well say that they did it because they loved it, and any of us who can’t say that should envy them for it. At least they died doing what they loved to do, and that is something we can never explain to those outside our profession. You can’t be a cop because you didn’t get some other job. You can only be a cop because you want it!

There is an answer for why they died, something I learned half a world away, many years ago as a young soldier, preparing to face an enemy in combat for the first time. It was then that my sergeant explained that there are only three rules in war.

Rule 1: Young men die.

Rule 2: You can’t change Rule 1.

Rule 3: Somebody’s got to walk the point.

You see, when soldiers advance, knowing the enemy is near, there is always one man way out in front of everyone else. His duty is to look and listen, and sense that first contact. To spot the enemy, pinpoint an ambush, fire the first shot—and as a consequence, take those first shots. It offends the logical mind and denies the instinct for survival. It ages and saddens and wizens—and sometimes kills those who take their turn walking the point! But it must be done, or there would be no protection for the rest; there would be more bloodshed, and more grief.

The point man is there to save lives, even if he gives his own in the process. Well, society isn’t a company of soldiers, but it sure has somebody walking the point. Every time you go out the station-house door, every time you answer a radio call, every time you stop to check something suspicious— you can’t change Rule 1!

If I could say something to the people of this city, it would be this: I know some of you will remember our two brothers—but that’s not good enough. I want you to honor them for what they did for you—they certainly didn’t have to do it. I’m not just talking about what they did on Saturday, June 6. That was a routine call that went horribly bad. I mean, what they did for you day after day, in darkness and light, rain or shine, without ever expecting even a thank-you. Tiffany and Ebeltoft volunteered to walk the point. Honor them. Remember them. And in the quiet peace of your home, get down on your knees and thank God—that they volunteered to take your turn walking the point!

 

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