Gordon Graham here. I got the December 2010 issue of Law Officer in the mail. I read your Bullethead column Deal with Your Demons Later, and I’m so sorry you had to go down that road. I spent 33 years in the business, and this is a nasty part of it. I don’t know if you guys got the puke yet, but let me know so I can help close the loop on this one. Even though I’m retired, I still have two eyes, a cell phone and 1 million women and men who would happily help in doing what needs to be done. Is the family being taken care of? Take care, stay safe. –Gordon Graham
Dear Mr. Graham,
Thank you for the note. I’m a huge fan of all the work you do with training, policies, risk management and public speaking. You’re truly a man of service, and your work has had profound and long-lasting effects on our noble profession.
Enough ass-kissing—on to the point.
I’ve received a number of comments about the December column. Many have asked for the rest of the story, and others have shown overwhelming support for me, my department and the officers and family members affected by this murder. Some have related feeling similar to how I described when they were faced with similar situations. Others have suggested I address these issues with my team and ensure everyone gets whatever help they need. I truly appreciate the support from all of you.
Mr. Graham, I’ve heard you speak about having people work inside their area of expertise and training. This applies the best resources to whatever problems lie between us and our goals. After initially being caught off guard by this crime, my department came together and worked with the efficiency of a well-oiled machine gun.
The tactical guys all went home to sleep and lick our wounds from the night before. As hard as it was to sit home and wait for the call, this was the only thing for us to do. I contacted each of my guys personally and made sure they had their heads on straight and their gear staged and ready to go. All communications and gear problems were handled. I told each one of them to go hug their kids and spend some time with family. Then I did exactly that, and it was needed and appreciated.
The homicide guys were keeping tight-lipped and even telling people they had nothing to go on. Having worked extensively around that unit I knew something was up when no information was coming. I contacted a friend from an outside agency who runs a task force. All this task force does is find people, and they’re extremely good at it. My friend told me they were in this one up to their eyeballs, so I called my guys and told them to head to a staging location.
Another contingent of the tactical team had been activated and they were shadowing the task force. I was impressed by all this. Without infighting, each unit was doing its part perfectly. The homicide guys were working that side of the investigation and letting the task force find the bad guy. The task force was working on finding the guy because that’s its sweet spot. The tactical guys were waiting to pounce. These guys are all experts in tactics, and most of them also work as defensive tactics instructors making them the perfect unit to arrest a guy as dangerous as someone accused of murdering a cop. The rest of us were waiting for the
roll-back warrants after the scumbag was in custody.
The task force did an incredible job. From getting a name to pointing him out in a crowded parking lot took only 4 hours. Those guys vanished as quickly as they came. The tactical guys were next. They crept up on him like a slowly rising tide, and then crashed on him like a giant wave. They were professional and safe and on the Internet within minutes from someone with a cell phone camera. It was another long night, but we recovered a lot of important evidence from the roll-back warrants, and the guys felt a much-needed sense of redemption.
Our lost brother was single and had no children. An enormous amount of money has been raised, and his family is going to start a scholarship fund for children of police officers. He was laid to rest in a respectful and touching ceremony. My department is moving on to the best of its ability. The officer’s memory will live on forever, as have those who paid the ultimate price before him.
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