Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Heroes. Remembering the fallen.

It's that time of year again--Police Week, the time that the nation remembers it's police officers who have fallen in the line of duty. Specifically, it's a time for officers from all over the world and survivors of those who gave all to come to Washington DC's Law Enforcement Memorial to commemorate the men and women of law enforcement who dies while serving their communities. And the one hundred names of those who made the ultimate sacrifice in 2013 were added to the walls of the memorial, along with 186 names of officers killed in previous years for a total of 286 new names. Currently the wall has over 19,000 names on it, each one an American police officer killed in the line of duty.
All over the memorial, you can see family members and fellow officers taking rubbings of the names or just recalling those who are now gone but not forgotten.
The memorial is a solemn place, but it is also alive like few other places as so many come together to reflect and remember.

So who are these law enforcement professionals? Let's take a look at a few. Among other things, they were each someone's husband, wife, father, mother, son, daughter. or friend. They were regular people just like you or me, but they chose a career path that allowed them to serve and protect their communities, and one day, each of them failed to return home.

Alaska State Trooper Tage Toll, killed March 30, 2013, in a helicopter crash while assisting on a search and rescue mission in bad weather.

Michigan State Trooper Paul Butterfield II, murdered September 9, 2013 by a nineteen year old scumbag for reason at all during a traffic stop. Trooper Butterfield was shot and killed as he walked up to the car. His killer committed suicide in prison and the killer's wife and mother are currently in prison and awaiting trial respectively as accomplices. At the time of his death, Trooper Butterfield was engaged to be married.

Officer Patrick Hill, Detroit, MI Police Department. Ofgficer Hill died on October 19, 2013, of injuries received during a shootout with a murder suspect. He was a former University of Michigan football player and he left behind a eife and four children.

Trooper First Class Mickey C. Lippy, Maryland State Police, killed when MSP's Trooper 2 helicopter crashed during a medivac on September 28, 2008.

Deputy William Mast Jr., Watauga County, North Carolina. Deputy Mast as his partner were ambushed during a disturbance call and both were shot . Deputy Mast's partner was wounded but still able to return fire and kill their attacker. Deputy Mast died of his injures, leaving behind a pregnant wife.

Many officers died leaving young children behind, or in some cases, children that they never even got a chance to see.

Officer Paul Dittamo of the District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department was killed in a car crash while responding to back up another officer who was in a fight. He died October 30, 2010, eight months before his son was born.

Trooper Linda Huff, Idaho State Police was attacked in the parking lot of her station by an armed man on June 17, 1998, simply because the man wanted to kill a police officer. Despite being hit my numerous bullets, one of which severed her spine, She fought back until her duty pistol was empty, wounding her killer before he walked up and shot her in the head. She left behind a husband and three children and the was the 50th Idaho police officer to die in the line of duty.

Vernon "Matt" Williams, Deputy Sheriff, Polk County, Florida, and his K9 partner Diogi. Both were shot and killed while pursuing a suspect who'd fled on foot from a traffic stop. A SWAT team killed the murderer when he engaged them with a firearm the following day.

Yeah, it's rough out there for police dogs, too.

Officer Jason Schneider, Baltimore County, MD Police, Tactical Section. Murdered by a 25-year old punk while trying to arrest a fleeing teen during the execution of an arrest warrant. He left a wife and three kids behind.

Officer Gilbert Cortez and his K-9 Mattie, California Department of Corrections. Killed in a car crash on March 25th, 2013, while en route to perform a search.

Sergeant Derek Johnson, Draper, Utah. Ambushed and shot to death while investigating a suspiciously parked car on September 1, 2013. His killer also killed a woman acquaintance before committing suicide. Sgt. Draper had a wife and a seven year old son.

Police Officer Robert Jordan, St. Louis County, Missouri Police Department. Accosted by an armed robber while off-duty and out with his kids, he was shot to death when the robber saw his wallet and realized that he was a police officer.

Sgt. Lance McLean, Sheriff's Deputy, Hood County, Texas. Murdered while responding to a disturbance call. His killer shot another police officer the next day during a gun battle before being killed himself.

Officer Kevin Tonn, Galt, California, Police Department. Murdered on January 15, 2013, by a man that he approached to interview while investigating a burglary.

Police Officer William Sprague, Texarkana, Texas Police Department. Deliberately struck by a hit and run driver while responding to a disturbance call on June 15, 2013.

Officer Timothy Huffman, Arizona Department of Public Safety. Stuck by a semi truck on May 6, 2013 while working a crash scene on the interstate.

There are so many of these. I could go on forever.
It just doesn't stop. It never stops. But the men and women of our local state and federal law enforcement agencies keep going to work every morning or evening despite the risks and the losses. That's because they're that kind of people. When others are rushing out, these are the ones rushing in.
Damn straight.


  1. Hey Murphy;

    The Patriot Guard Riders which I am a member of will be doing a run from one city here in Georgia to another caravaning(escorting) a memorial for law enforcement. on Friday. I will take pictures and post on Friday night...unless I am super busy and I will post it in the weekend.

  2. For those brave souls that take the oath, strap on a duty belt and protect us I am beyond words. They truly go where many fear to tread. Every day. I always tell my students to "not be where they are not supposed to be." They do it every day. Godspeed to these heroes. I cannot thank them enough.

    1. You got that right. Armed civilians with CCW permits are supposed to avoid trouble while the police are the ones tasked with seeking trouble out and running towards it.

  3. Amen to the post, and to Keads' comments.

    The photo accompanying the Officer Paul Dittamo memorial, "Daddy I can ride my bike now!" must've released some dust here in the blogroom.,,

  4. Thoughts and prayers for them all, and their families...

  5. Thanks Murph, these brave men and women (and the dogs too) need to be remembered. They put it on the line everyday. For us.

  6. Have a beer tonight for Chris May. He was a great guy; hilariously funny. Y'all would have liked him a lot.

    1. I'm sure that I would have. Those Fulton County, GA guys are a special breed. My kind of cops.

  7. Anonymous3:55 PM

    May they Rest In Peace and Salute

  8. Thanks for this. In a jaded world, we have to remember these men, women, and canines who go out there to protect and serve.

  9. Amen my brother.