In Valor There is Hope
I never talk about my law enforcement side of the house on this blog, but I was so moved today at the Portsmouth Law Enforcement Memorial service today that had to mark it somewhere, somehow.
Twelve department members, 11 officers and one crossing guard, have died in the line of duty in the Portsmouth Virginia Police Department. The first African American police officer killed in the line of duty died in Portsmouth about a hundred years ago. The most recent member to die in the line of duty was Officer Rick Spaulding in 2006. Rick was a retired Coast Guard service member and had been an auxiliary (volunteer) officer before joining the force as a paid officer. He had a wife and family.
Congress designated this week to remember fallen law enforcement officers. Over 19,000 officers have died in the performance of their jobs since the 1800's. In this country, a law enforcement officer is killed every 53 hours. Sixty thousand law enforcement officers are physically attacked in the performance of their duties every year. Deaths in the line of duty are up 17% over 2011.
Our keynote speak today was Dr. Jack Enter, a retired police officer, who had been providing departmental training on proactive policing. His speech was short, but extremely poignant. He relayed how history has found one of the first police officers to die in the line of duty in Pompei, which was over taken by the eruption of Mount Vesuvias (modern day Naples) in 79 A.D.
As archeologists were working to excavate the site, they were less careful in one part of the city, where people would have had enough time and distance from the eruption to survive. They did not expect to find human remains. Soon, however, a human foot was found and further digging revealed a Roman centurion with his breastplate and distinctive helmet still intact. The judgment of the archeologists was that he died there because he stayed at his post, doing his duty until the volcano engulfed him. Died at his post, in the line of duty.
The media loves to concentrate on