FEATURED IN LEADERSHIP
Since this issue features our annual Buyer's Guide, you might expect some type of editorial on equipment, why you should support our advertisers or something similar. If that's what you hoped for, you might as well turn the page because you're not going to get that here. Instead, I'm going to visit a much more serious and solemn issue honoring the sacrifice and commitment made by those who have lost their lives in the line of duty. The timing could not be better because for most of you, this magazine will arrive in your mailbox just as you are returning from ceremonies that memorialize our fallen.
Ironically, I'm writing this on Easter weekend. After listening to the sermon, I was moved to write an editorial in remembrance of those who have given so much. As a person of faith, I was profoundly struck by the parallels of Easter and the sacrifices made by public safety. The Bible tells us quite clearly there is no greater love than when a man lays down his life for a friend. I've heard these words used countless times at law enforcement funerals, but this year they seemed especially significant. I kept thinking about those who died or were permanently injured on behalf of others. While no one becomes a law enforcement officer in order to lose their life, we all know it's a possibility. And then there are the more common but still significant sacrifices made in terms of family time, the stress of seeing things no one should have to see, etc.
Where I live, I routinely pass by three signs erected on the freeway system to honor individual fallen officers; I attended each of their funerals. Two of these officers were struck by drunk drivers, and their killers are serving time in prison. The third was shot down by a hardcore ex-con who had previously been deported. The killer has since been sentenced to die by lethal injection.
When I was in Louisiana a couple weeks ago (see A Helping Hand, p. 11), I walked into the lobby of the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff s Department and noticed a large photo of Deputy Alan Inzer. I learned he was killed two months prior when he chased a group of car burglars while off duty. Think about that for a moment Inzer lost his life pursuing criminals while off duty. I don t know the details, and I m certainly in no position to assess whether his tactics were sound. But the point is, he engaged. He stood in the gap between right and wrong on behalf of society, for people he did not even know.
How about you? When was the last time you mentally and emotionally committed yourself to standing in the gap? Although some of our more liberal thinkers in modern society seek to blur the lines, the fact remains there truly is a battle being waged between right and wrong, good and evil. Have you given real thought to what separates potential victims from those who wish to victimize? In the dead of night when every reasonable person is in bed, who stands in the gap? The answer: You.
Just as many of us pause on Easter to remember the greatest sacrifice known to man, we should also honor the sacrifices of law enforcement. It's appropriate to reflect on those who have given on behalf of others and honor their memory. It s also important to remember their families. Take the time to reconnect and tell them you remember their loved one. It will mean the world to them, and you ll be a better officer and person for having made the effort.
During Police Memorial Week, I always visit the National Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C. In fact, that s where I spend the majority of my time, not because it sells magazines, but because it s the right thing to do and reminds me of the honor of service. I ve been there dozens of times, and every time brings a new experience and a new story. I always feel honored to hear family members stories about their fallen loved one. It seems that talking about their loved one is cathartic for them, and it certainly reminds me of the true meaning of commitment and sacrifice. Long after the echo from the bugle has gone silent, they are left with a void that can never be filled. Their sacrifice is every bit as great as that of the officers who lost their life.
If you weren't able to go to Washington, D.C., during Memorial Week, I really hope you took time to participate in a ceremony in your region. If not, put next year s ceremony on your calendar right now and ask for the time off if necessary. No, you won t make time-and-a-half and you probably won t learn any super new tactics. But you will be reminded of what it means to stand in the gap and, hopefully, you ll find yourself with a renewed sense of commitment to the calling of law enforcement. —Dale Stockton, Editor