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Mishawaka Officer Down- Some Thoughts. January 10, 2010

Posted by southbendpolice in Community Announcements, Feature Stories, In The News.
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Our neighboring city Mishawaka has lost two officers in a crash Saturday evening. Details are still emerging and I’ll leave that up to the news agencies to report on (Fox28, WNDU, WSBT Tribune all feature breaking news of the story).

For now, I ask that your support, thoughts, prayers and actions keep in mind the loss of Mishawaka Police Officer Corporal James Szuba, and K9 Officer Ricky. Loss of Law Enforcement officers were abounding in 2009. As we start 2010 with mourning the loss of a local officer yet again., it is time to stop and reflect on the service that officers provide. Law Enforcement is a varied and tirelessly thankless line of work. Not without great rewards, nor without great risk.

Few other professions call upon individuals to make the ultimate sacrifice- their lives- as a normal risk associated with it. Fewer jobs call for an employee to make that sacrifice while trying to protect the lives of innocent people from would be predators of society.

If you see an officer at the store or out and about, take a moment to thank them for their sacrifice and efforts. Law Enforcement Officers are not perfect, I think most would agree.

What officers are are real people. Fathers. Mothers. Sons. Daughters. Husbands. Wives. Your neighbor mowing his lawn. Dads cheering their sons at little league. Volunteering at church. Working with at risk teenagers. Paying taxes. Shopping. The same things as everyone else does.

The difference is their jobs involve an inherent risk, that once suited up in the uniform of blue, and sitting in that white car with the lights also takes away that human factor, in favor of a faceless person- “that cop”, if you will.

The personalities, parenting, and other good productive member of society duties do not end for the eight hours that officers are out serving and carrying out their duty as Law Enforcers. Nor do we lose that human side that also enjoys raising families and watching sports, just like everyone else. The difference is even in the most routine of days, officers never know exactly when that sacrifice we all know exists may stare you in the face. You may not even see it coming.

Losing an officer is an unimaginably difficult time for officers, the agencies, families- especially in Law Enforcement where brothers, sons, nephews, and cousins often work side by side or with surrounding agencies- all suffer a terrible loss and unthinkable grief in addition to immediate family suffering.

As I write this, Mishawaka Police Department is planning and setting up a memorial to Cpl. Szuba and Ricky outside their station on Main/Church in Mishawaka. I ask that you take the time to pay your respects to two fine fallen officers, and to reflect on the dangers that local police face in the name of trying to make this area a little safer and better to live as you go out this week.

We thank you.