Our hearts are broken
“Our hearts are broken.” -Dallas Police Chief David Brown
As I type this, roughly 18 hours have passed for five Texas families whose lives have changed forever. Five families who now are minus a father, a brother, a husband and a son. Not even a day ago I, along with thousands of other Texans Peace Officers, sat in stunned silence in front of our televisions and watched a national tragedy unfold before our eyes, right here in our own state. In total 12 officers were directly injured or killed simply for being public servants. For those that wear a badge, July 7, 2016 was the deadliest single day since 9/11.
In the police world, when events like this occur the network that binds us together instantly goes into action. Agencies that are close enough immediately lend their resources to stop further loss of life. Those that can’t get there to help in person will swing into action by firing up the support systems that will carry many of those affected through the difficulties that the coming days will bring. Police organizations such as TMPA, Wives Behind The Badge, Badge of Honor Memorial Foundation, Texas Fraternal Order of Police, The National Law Enforcement Officer’s Memorial Foundation are but a few who are ready to instantly weave a web that will hold up the families and fellow officers affected by this heartbreak of epic proportion.
To emphasize just how the public feels about Peace Officers today, even members of the very group that was protesting in Dallas, are expressing gratitude for the exemplary manner in which Dallas officers who were coming under fire from an elevated position, shielded the public and ran toward the sounds of gunfire.
Ironically, tragedy and valor are often intertwined.
Here at home we have known similar calamity and countless times Atascosa County citizens have stepped up to show officers how fortunate we are to live where we do. Today has been no different. My office has been inundated with calls offering support for our local officers. A few examples; Bill Miller’s in Pleasanton and The Rock House in Jourdanton offered free meals to officers on duty, a local business owner brought donuts to local law enforcement agencies, as I lowered the flags to half-staff in front of our office someone drove up and rolled down their window to tell me how much respect they had for our officers, multiple citizens stopped by just to tell us that they support us and the work we do and wanted to know how they could help us, and yet another wanted to know if we had enough body armor for our staff and offered to contribute monetarily to make sure we did…and that was all before lunch!
By the time you read this, one of our officers will be in Dallas to mourn the death of an officer he used to work with. The rest will have returned to answering calls and working traffic accidents, and solving crimes and if the statistics hold true, another four police officers will have been killed in the United States. You see while it doesn’t always grab headlines, it happens about every 61 hours.
For Brent Thompson, Patrick Zamarippa, Michael Krol, Michael Smith and Lorne Ahrens their tour of duty ended on 7/7/2016, and today they are the names that are worthy of our praise.
To those who have shown up from Jourdanton to Dallas and anywhere in between to show your support for the work that honorable officers around this nation do day in and day out, I give you my heartfelt thanks. You are the people that make us proud to serve.
And to the citizens and our fellow officers of Dallas…our hearts are broken too. Stay safe out there.
Until next time,
Chief Eric Kaiser
Eric Kaiser is the Chief of Police for the Jourdanton (TX) Police Department and a Master Texas Peace Officer.