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The Police Wife Life, An Urgent Cry For The Support of Law Enforcement Officers, by Melissa Littles
As I write this, it is Monday, January 24, 2011. In the past twenty-four hours, eleven police officers across the United States have been shot in the line of duty, three of whom lost their lives.
In fact, before I could finish this article, two more officers were gunned down in the line of duty bringing the total of officers shot in 24 hours to thirteen. Just days after two officers were killed in a shootout with a suspect in Miami-Dade, FL., two more officers in St. Petersburg were shot and killed. Sgt. Tom Baitinger and Offcr. Jeffrey Yaslowitz were shot and killed on the morning of January 24, 2011. Sergeant Baitinger had served with the St. Petersburg Police Department for 15 years. He is survived by his wife. Officer Yaslowitz had served with the St. Petersburg Police Department for 12 years. He is survived by his wife and three children.
Four Detroit police officers, including a commander, were shot Sunday, January 23, 2011, inside a station in the department's Northwest District. Commander Brian Davis suffered the most serious injuries. He was taken to Sinai-Grace Hospital where he is listed in critical condition. Officer David Anderson, Sgt. Ray Saati and Sgt. Carrie Shultz were the others shot. They were all taken to Sinai-Grace Hospital, treated and have been released. Police said Saati was grazed by a bullet to his face, and Shultz was shot in her vest, which stopped the bullet.
In Washington, two Kitsap County deputies were wounded in a shooting Sunday, January 23rd in the parking lot of the Port Orchard Wal-Mart store.
On January 9, 2011, Officer William Torbit was accidentally shot and killed by uniformed police officers after responding to a fight at a Baltimore, MD, nightclub. Officer Torbit, who was in plainclothes, began breaking up a fight between several females. As he broke up the fight he was attacked by a group of men. At some point during the struggle with the males, Officer Torbit drew his service weapon. Responding officers, not realizing Officer Torbit was a police officer, shot and killed him. A second officer was shot and wounded in the foot during the melee. Officer Torbit had served with the Baltimore City Police Department for eight years.
On January 20, 2011, Miami-Dade officers Roger Castillo and Amanda Haworth were killed while trying to serve a warrant on a violent fugitive. Detective Haworth had served with the Miami-Dade Police Department for 23 years. She is survived by her teenage son. Detective Castillo had served with the Miami-Dade Police Department for 21 years.
On Saturday, January 1st, Deputy Sheriff Suzanne Hopper was shot and killed after responding to a call of a window being shot out at a trailer park in Enon. A standoff ensued in which another police officer from the German Township Police Department was wounded.
Deputy Hopper is survived by her husband, two children, and two stepchildren.
Ranier, Oregon, January 5th, Police Chief Ralph Painter was shot and killed after responding to a local car stereo shop in which a man was attempting to take a car that did not belong to him. Chief Painter is survived by a wife and seven children.
Lakewood, NJ, January 14th, 27yr old Officer Christopher Matlosz was on patrol when he stopped his patrol car to speak with a man walking along the road. As they spoke, the male took one step back, drew a handgun and shot Officer Matlosz three times, killing him.
Livonia, MI, January 17th, Officer Larry Nehasil was shot and killed in Walled Lake while conducting surveillance on two suspects wanted in connection with several burglaries and home invasion robberies. As a suspect fled out of the back of the building, Officer Nehasil pursued chase and was shot and killed. He is survived by his wife and two children.
As I mentioned already, we are only TWENTY-FOUR days into 2011. Our Police Officers are being gunned downed at an increasingly alarming rate. Fourteen officers and a K-9 dead in twenty four days. Thirteen officers shot in a mere twenty four hours.
HALF of the ENTIRE police force of Camden NJ was laid off in January. HALF of an entire force. Police departments across the US are laying off our officers due to budget cuts, or forcing our already underpaid officers to choose to take a pay cut in order to save their partner's job, while at the same time repeat offenders are being released back into the population over and over again to save on expenses in our prisons. How can it be more important to save money by allowing repeat offenders out of prison to commit more crimes and murder the officers who try to stop them than it is to keep officers on our streets?
There is no disputing that the mass majority of officers in this country who are gunned downed in the line of duty DO NOT LOSE THEIR LIVES TO FIRST TIME OFFENDERS. In fact, most of our officers who are injured or killed by gunfire fall at the hands of repeat offenders and parolees.
There seems to be a lack of awareness, or perhaps it is complacency, either way, how is it that we can get to a point in America where thirteen officers, who have spent their careers serving and protecting their communities can fall in a twenty four hour period, three fatally wounded, and not every flag be at half mast across the US? How is it that a total of FOURTEEN officers are dead before the end of the first month of the year and the entire country is not reeling and rallying together for our officers? How can there be headlines and comments across the US which merely say "just another sad day for Law Enforcement"? It is beyond sad. It is a gross injustice and it IS PREVENTABLE.
How can I say we can protect our Law Enforcement Officers from the risks of the job, the risks they sign up for, the risks they head into each and every shift? By removing the repeat offenders who are murdering the mass majority of our officers. And, by making it a mandatory life sentence to anyone who shoots or murders a police officer. The justice system is failing our officers by releasing VIOLENT criminals, allowing bond to be an option after an arrest for a crime against an officer, allowing partially served sentences for those convicted of assaulting or injuring an officer, justifying early releases due to overcrowding and not amending laws to protect our officers from repeat offenders. These officers are there to protect and serve. They willingly head off into unknown danger each and every shift, and they are faced with the knowledge that there are many who will be after them, purposely on a mission to take out an officer, as in Detroit this week and in a Lakewood coffee shop last year. These officers who work for little pay and under constant scrutiny from the public are walking targets with bull's eyes on their backs. Let me remind you, those officers are husbands, they are our fathers, our sons, our daughters, our mothers, our sisters and their fellow officer's partner. They have families at home, they have babies on the way, they have lives and loves and are human beings. They are being gunned down, murdered, slain inside their own police stations, killed on the side of the road in routine traffic stops, executed while sitting in their patrol cars filling out paperwork.
And yes, there are those who hate the police, who have been done wrong by a bad cop, who have seen and experienced the bad side of the police force which does exist. That is, in comparison, a minuscule minority of all police officers. There is good and bad in all professions. There is no excuse for allowing an extremely small percent of corrupt officers to influence America's perception that the murdering of our officers at the rate of one every other day is "just another sad day in law enforcement", an expected risk, a justifiable number under any circumstance.
An awareness needs to be brought back to the citizens of the United States. An awakening as to the need to support our Law Enforcement Officers, to recognize everything they face for each and every one of us on a daily basis. We need to remember all the things they are there for, all the things they do to protect, to serve, to help, to mentor, to volunteer. Police Officers are on duty for every single American (and non-legal residents) twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. Regardless of your income, your race, your social status, your neighborhood, your occupation, if you dial 911, they will come. They will help a prostitute get away from their pimp as quickly as they will help a doctor in a Porsche change a flat tire. They will walk into a domestic call to save you from your abuser just as quickly as they will help a young child who is lost in a store. They will approach a known convicts home to serve a warrant as quickly as they will stop to help you with directions. They are not there to selectively protect and serve, they are THERE. They are our Police Officers. They are our protectors. There is no other number to call. There is NO ONE else to answer that duty. You cannot call your Mayor or Governor or Senator to help you in a crisis, but you can call a Police Officer. Each and every one of us need to call our Mayor and Governor and Senator's and DEMAND that full, stiff, long sentences be mandatory to first time offenders who assault an officer and at least a life sentence be mandatory for those who murder an officer.
It is becoming a "normal" view of Law Enforcement to hear of another officer down each day. It is becoming "just another day" in the life of an officer to lose a partner. It is becoming "just a risk" that a wife will not see her husband, a child will not see their father, a mother will never kiss their children again. It HAS become a sad fact that any officer down is considered merely a statistic.
I call on each of you who read this to take action, even if it is within yourself, to remember what our officers mean to this country, to remember why we are allowed the luxury of peace on our streets and ask yourself where you would be without them. Then try to realize that an officer's family lives each day asking ourselves where we will be if they do not come home.
I love my husband. I don't want a life without him. I certainly don't want to lose him to someone who should be behind bars to begin with. The girls need their father. My son needs his Daddy. I need everyone to know he is not just an officer, but he will always be a Police Officer to you before he is afforded the option to come home to me.
Please pray for the families who have lost their loved ones this January, and to those who are at their bedsides praying for a chance to bring them home.
Be grateful for our Officers.
And another Officer down.
January 26, 2011. Indianapolis, Indiana. 29yr. old Officer David Moore succumbed to gunshot wounds suffered on 1/24/11.As Officer Moore approached the car at approximately 9:00 am, he was shot four times by the driver who fled the scene. A 60-year-old parolee has been arrested in connection with the crime. Officer Moore had served with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department for six years. He is survived by his parents. His mother currently serves as a sergeant and his father retired as a lieutenant with the department.
Officer's down in 2011
- Honoring Officers Killed in the Year 2011
The Officer Down Memorial Page, Inc., (ODMP) is a non-profit organization dedicated to honoring America's fallen law enforcement heroes. Over 20,000 police officers, deputy sheriffs, special agents, corrections officers, and parole and probation offi
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