Tacitus had it right.

This has been such a roller coaster of a week.   Amidst the celebrations of Thanksgiving our colleagues just up the road in San Antonio prepared to lay to rest one of our fallen brothers.  As most have heard by now, SAPD Detective Benjamin Marconi was ambushed in his car on November 20th.  So while SAPD and agencies from around Texas and the nation gathered using the hashtag #RememberBen and many thousands more who were not able to make it to San Antonio watched funeral services online, I sat back and began to take inventory of what a rough year it has been for those in the field of law enforcement.   

You don’t have to have a PhD to see that 2016 has been a bumpy road for those with a badge.   But then something struck me…

I remembered the very first column I ever had published.  It was titled “I am blessed”.  In it I expounded on how we as law enforcement officers were a small fraternity (less than 1% of the population) and how we were fortunate enough to have picked and then been accepted into a career that we loved.  Instead of focusing on the negative, we should fix our gaze on the positive.

And while I re-read those thoughts that I put on paper some time ago, I realized that something else was happening in our country.

Around the nation since November 20th, over 1100 officers retired from law enforcement after completing successful careers.   And in the same period of time over 1000 new officers pinned on a badge for the first time and felt that sense of pride that comes with being welcomed into the family that we call “The Thin Blue Line”.  These thoughts made me dig a little deeper into the numbers and realize that in the United States we had about 75,000 babies born this week,  so if statistics remain consistent… about 707 future American police officers drew their first breath since Detective Marconi left us.  And I was reminded that in the midst of death, life starts anew. 

This coming May, Detective Marconi’s name and (as of this writing) 131 other officer’s names will be added to the memorial wall in Washington DC.  But what is even more impactful is that despite this, and despite the dangers of the job, thousands of other men and women will for the first time, answer the call to protect and serve! 

In Washington, at the National Law Enforcement Officer’s Memorial, where over 20,000 names are memorialized, there is a bronze lion guarding the entrance.  Below it is an inscription written by the ancient Roman historian Tacitus.  

“In Valor There Is Hope”.

 

Here is to the valor and heroic actions of generations of cops that have gone before us… and to those who unbeknownst to them, will one day take our place as the guardians of society.

 

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.

 

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