Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Long road ahead

I would probably be one of the few local law officers who has ever had the experience of standing over a colleague killed in the line of duty, one early morning over 20 years ago, after dispatcher Linda Thurber called me out of bed. I will never forget running down the long, dark hallway to apartment number 9, where my fellow deputy lay on the floor just outside the door, a group of volunteer firefighters trying to save his life. One of the firefighters looked up at me and shook his head, a lump rose in my throat, and a blur of days began.

I cannot begin to imagine what the families of the four Lakewood, Washington police officers who were assassinated over the weekend are experiencing. I do, however, understand a little bit about what their coworkers are going through, and what their agency is experiencing. My heart goes out to them. Lakewood’s 128 employees are doubtless in shock. They are busying themselves now with work, but soon they will lay their brothers and sister to rest, and the true magnitude of the tragedy will sink in.

It will be many, many years before this wound begins to heal, and I hope that the support of their community will envelope them as this process begins. I hope the citizens of Lakewood cry with them. I hope that they will support the department financially through this tough economic cycle. I hope that they thank their police officers at every available opportunity. I hope more of them will volunteer with the department, attend their graduation ceremonies, send cards on police memorial day, deliver homemade cookies to the police station, and generally wrap their police department with the community’s care. I suspect that is precisely what is occurring now, and I hope it lasts a long, long time, because the road ahead for the Lakewood Police Department is a long one.

Thankfully, these events are rare. When they occur, though, we should all be reminded that the women and men who serve as our police officers confront the evil that lurks in humanity on behalf of all of us. They protect us, sometimes at great peril, from the worst mankind can dish up, and from our own folly, as well. May God bless them all, and may the Lakewood Police Department experience the power of love.

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

19 comments:

Taylor said...

Was that Deputy Dodge you are talking about?

Anonymous said...

I do not think eating cookies is a good idea in this day and age.

Jason said...

Thank you to you and your officers for all that you do to keep us safe.

Prayers to the family of those four officers.

Anonymous said...

Very good post Chief. I think this situation also shows us that when we put on that uniform, we appear as a beacon of hope to some, but a target of opportunity to others. It is a very tragic event, and also an interesting study of how one man got the upper hand on 4 uniformed officers. This should also be a reminder to all who wear the badge of the need for situational awareness, and the small, but significant "tactical" things, we all can do to increase our chances of survival-even when grabbing a cup of coffee.
Like sitting with your back to the door, when the door opens, look at who's coming in and study their body language etc...
- Stay safe out there.

Don Friesen said...

Chief Cassidy,

I often bless you and your staff in the privacy of my office and in my prayers and to many that I converse with. Today, I post to the blog. Thanks, many thanks. We are so blessed in this town and I appreciate your skilled leadership.

Tom Casady said...

Taylor, yes, March 14, 1987.

car54 said...

I also stood over a fallen colleague late on October 3, 1993. An experience I still have trouble talking about. The next day a local radio station played Eric Clapton's "Tears in Heaven" in his memory. Had to stop driving and cry. A very fitting song. Still cry when I hear the song. God blessed me by letting me know such a great man

Anonymous said...

This morning the story is coming out that a Seattle officer was setting on a stolen vehicle doing paper work. He saw the gunman approaching him in his rear view mirror and jumped out to confront him. Seems this guy was looking for more cops to kill. It is fortunate there was not a 5th officer victim in this story. This whole thing is just so tragic. I hope their community supports them and I hope the officers there mentally can deal with this.

Don Hood said...

I can't even begin to imagine how sick an individual must be to even think about harming a member of law enforcement. It takes a special brand of person to make protecting people their profession.
My heart goes out to the family and friends of the fallen police officers in Washington. I hope they can find a bit of solace knowing the killer is now where he belongs.
As a Lincolnite, I have to say I am proud of the police department here. Everytime I have spoken to a police officer, I have tried to make them know I appreciate their sacrifice.
It may be a little off topic, but I'd also just like to say to Chief Casady that I thoroughly enjoyed reading the history of our police department on the Lincoln's police website.
What happened in Washington was unimaginable, but I hope that one of not the only positive thing that could come from this is a deeper appreciation of law enforcement. Without them, chaos would ensue. Whenever possible, try to show them that they are appreciated.

Anonymous said...

Yes Chief Casady let us also not forget our fallen soldiers and their families. After the funerals the grief lingers. Our corporate mentality tries to man-up our culture but your sensitivity is understandable and grief of loss is a bitter lonely struggle. Thanks for your thoughtfulness.

Trevor Brass said...

Everybody should take some time perusing the Officer Down Memorial Page at http://www.odmp.org/ Quite a collection of stories there -- including some mentioned on this blog such as Special Officer Marion F. Marshall.

Kumquat said...

Could NOT have been said better!! Hats off & prayers to LPD/LSO from the heart of many Lincolnites. We are soooo very fortunate but as we all know.....there are NO guarantees! I, too, was involved (less directly) in that 1987 incident and know that that family STILL struggles!! I'm sure that many of his peers do as well. God Bless you all!!!

Anonymous said...

Big deal. You guys know this job is dangerous when you take. So what makes cops any more a hero than a garbage man? Were all gonna die sooner or later.

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry to hear about what happened in Washington. Being married to a police officer (DAVE), I worry all the time. I am no one, but I can give this little advice to those who do not do this already: Never sit with your uniform on with your back against a door. I am not saying this would have prevented the attack, but still. Situational awareness and all that. Anyway, I pray for all of you officers. Stay safe.

Jenn

Anonymous said...

are you a police officer or have you served in the military anonymous 8:04AM? With such a stupid comment like that I can not imagine you would understand the unselfishness of the men and women who put themselves on the line for even people like you! Of course we are all going to die someday and they understand the dangers of the job, it's the fact that they signed up anyway that makes them heroes. I am sure you could not understand or appreciate that gathering from your comment. Why don't you show some appreciation for those that serve you!!!

Jenn W.
(Dave's wife ;-)

The cheese stands alone said...

A toast to Anon 8:04 -

Me, the Lousy Cop
Well Mr. Citizen, I guess you have figured me out. I seem to fit neatly into the category you place me in. I'm stereotyped, characterized, standardized, classified, grouped, and always typical. I'm the "lousy" cop.

Unfortunately, the reverse isn't true. I can never figure you out.

From birth you teach your children that I am a person to be wary of...and then you're shocked when they identify me with my traditional enemy, the criminal.

You accuse me of coddling juvenile criminals, until I catch your kid doing something.

You may take an hour for lunch and several coffee breaks each day, but point me out as a loafer if you see me having just one cup.

You pride yourself on your polished manners, but think nothing of interrupting my meals with your troubles.

You raise hell about the guy who cuts you off in traffic, but let me catch you doing the same thing and I'm picking on you.

You know all the traffic laws, but never got one ticket you deserved.

You shout "Foul!" if you observe me driving fast enroute to an emergency call, but literally raise hell if I take more than ten seconds responding to your call.

You call it "part of my job" if someone strikes me. But its "police brutality" if I strike back.

You wouldn't think of telling your dentist how to pull a badly decayed tooth, or your doctor how to take out your appendix, but you are always willing to give me pointers on law enforcement.

You talk to me in a manner and use language that would assure a bloody nose from anyone else, but you expect me to stand there and take it without batting an eye.

You cry, "Something has to be done about all the crime!" but you can't be bothered with getting involved.

You've got no use for me at all, but, of course, it's OK if I change a tire for your wife, deliver your baby in the back seat of my patrol car on the way to the hospital, save your son's life with mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, or work many hours overtime to find your lost daughter.

So, Dear Citizen, you stand there on your soapbox and rant and rave about the way I do my job, calling me every name in the book, but never stop a minute to think that your property, your family, or maybe your life might depend on one thing - me, or one of my buddies.

Yes, me, the lousy cop.

Cheers!

Anonymous said...

To Anon. 8:04- the next time someone is breaking into your house, stealing your property, assaulting a loved one or trying to hurt or kill you, call the garbage man

Anonymous said...

Hey Mr. Cheese, you need to chill-out. I never said all that or thought it. I just don't see you as a hero. You take a dangerous job by your choice. If you get killed on the job, I'm sorry, but that happens to people in all kinds of dangerous occupations and when it does most are not declared a hero and rewarded with some monument, most you don't even hear about.

Anonymous said...

My God Anonymous!! Are you truly that insensitive, or just being purposely confrontational with the intent of raising your self-esteem?

These people "do their jobs" every day with the implicit knowledge that any of their shifts may be their last. Can you say the same?

Yes, every job has it's "dangers", but none so great as the police face.