Victims in officers’ deaths are families

Editor:

For the past month, it seems that every morning I wake to another police officer who has been intentionally killed.

I grieve for each one but I’m especially heartbroken for the families left behind. Police families face a unique stress every day. With the exception of deployed military personnel, police are the only professionals whose mission is to seek out, confront and overcome armed individuals.

To a small percentage of the population, the killing of an officer standing between themselves and escape is given no more consideration than choosing between Coke or Pepsi with lunch. This weighs heavily on the officer’s family.

Police officers swear an oath to protect ALL citizens: male or female, gay or straight, young or old, black or white – ethnicity is of no matter to us. Yet we make special effort to protect our most vulnerable, those with disabilities, the elderly and most of all we safeguard the children.

In any given week, the typical police officer will do more to protect the rights and liberties afforded to citizens than any ACLU attorney will accomplish in their lifetime. Unlike our current national political leaders, police officers try and bring all people together. We don’t drive wedges or pit groups against one another.

This is not to say we don’t group people – we do, but we keep it simple.

You may be a citizen, whom we have sworn an oath to serve and, if necessary, lay down our lives to protect you.

Or you may be a criminal and we will work within a very narrow confine of rules and laws to bring you to justice.

Or you are a fellow law enforcement officer, and we will count on you to watch our back, as we will watch yours.

We are educated, trained and have undergone psychological and physical testing to earn our place among an honored calling. Police officers are black, white, Asian, Hispanic, female, male, gay, straight, Jewish, Muslim, Catholic, Protestant and atheist. But once we take the oath of office and put on the badge, we are one; we are Law Enforcement Officers.

After serving 35 years as a police officer, I can tell you that I have never met a single officer who looked forward to ever killing another human being. We see the end of a successful shift as bad guys in jail, innocents protected and nobody got hurt. But we are human and stay trained with the goal of going home to our loved ones when our shift is over. If you try and harm us, we will respond with whatever force is necessary to achieve that goal.

“All Lives Matter.” Anyone who tells you differently is a fool!

Bob Burford

Retired Police Chief

Sweet Home

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