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A Cop’s Life: Chicago Officer Down July 12, 2010

Posted by southbendpolice in In The News.
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This letter was written by a Chicago Police Department officer as a response to an article written about the killing July 14th of Officer Thor Soderberg on the South Side of Chicago, in the parking lot of a police station, by his own service weapon by an assailant who overpowered the officer in broad daylight.

As a department that has lost way too many good officers to needless acts of violence, this is worth sharing for its insight on what we all know and deal with everyday. Here’s the letter:

I am a Chicago police officer about to hit 20 years next month and also a Vietnam veteran, which often times seemed to be the same thing while on the job.

When we get up in the morning and put the uniform on, we don’t plan to encounter trouble, we don’t plan to run for blocks through gangways and streets in the dark after offenders.

We don’t plan on being told by a victim they don’t want an offender arrested while holding their hand over a swollen eye, and we don’t plan on having to stare down the barrel of our gun at someone who is staring down theirs.

We do what we did yesterday and today and will do tomorrow even in the light of another officer being murdered. We put on the uniform, go to roll call and into the street to serve and protect. We will think of Soderberg and other officers who have passed on but won’t lose our focus because we still have to serve and protect.

Some of us will think about getting home to take our little girls or boys to practice, pick up our wives or just sit in the yard and barbecue, but we won’t lose focus because we still have to serve and protect.

Our minds will be occupied with when, how and if we will ever get promoted, we will worry about working alone in a squad car at midnight, we will wonder if we will be able to pay a tuition by working overtime, but we won’t lose focus because we still have to serve and protect. We few, we happy few, we band of brothers will remain undaunted as we walk out the door in the morning, away from our families not knowing what we will face, but know this . . . there are those of us that will still go forward and serve and protect. We know the dangers, but we still go.

We are just men and women, with families like you, that only want to do what we do and be good at it. Sometimes it feels as if the city doesn’t really want us here, but until things change we are here for the duration. Sometimes with broken spirits, sometimes with broken limbs, sometimes with brothers or sisters that will go no further.

I love Chicago, I have loved this job though it has never loved me. To the brothers and sisters of CPD, God bless you all, walk tall and be safe.

Well put. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Officer Soderberg’s family and the Chicago PD family in your time of needless loss.

Remembering MPD Cpl. Szuba January 11, 2010

Posted by southbendpolice in Community Announcements, Feature Stories, In The News.
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“When an officer dies in the line of duty, it’s a reality of risk they take upon their shoulders each day to make our community safer,” said Rev. Daniel Coffey, Indiana State Police chaplain.

Truer words have never been spoken. A time of loss of an officer makes other officers reflect on their own personal meanings of life and of job and of duty. In spite of the dangers involved, officers routinely go on with their efforts to make our community a little better and a little safer. In addition to having to pay tribute to a fallen officer. It can be challenging.

The law enforcement community is arguably a profession that is scrutinized, reviewed, scorned, and tested more than any other profession, possibly with the exception of a football referee. Officers are called upon to make split second individual decisions that can set into place timing, events, and procedures that can have a dramatic or lasting effect for years to come. Judgement calls made by one individual can also have an effect on the officer, thinking the ‘what if I only…’ for the rest of that officer’s life.

With that said, when an officer dies a tragic untimely death, it leaves not only the officer’s family, but that officers agency/family with a greater loss. Memorials set up outside stations are a small way that the agency can express their sadness and grief and have a way for police supporters to pay their respects and mourn the loss along with the agency.

A public showing of support for the fallen officer and the agency and its loss can go a long way to help that agency heal. Public support and knowing that there are individuals in our society who share the sense of loss makes a real difference. If you get a chance to do so with Mishawaka Police Department Cpl. James Szuba and his K9 partner Ricky, I encourage you to please do so within this week.

Mishawaka Police Department
200 North Church Street
Mishawaka, IN

Please stop by for a moment to thank and reflect on two officers who gave their all, trying to make our world safer.

Thanks for reading

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.

Lakewood WA PD officers laid to rest December 9, 2009

Posted by southbendpolice in In The News.
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The Seattle 911 Blog has some great coverage and a link to view/download the Fallen Officer Memorial program from the funeral services held on Dec 8th 2009.

The full memorial service is also linked from the blog ablove if you wish to take a video look.

Lakewood Police Chief Brett Farrar gave the remark that describes best what officers do, in times of unimaginable loss. Sadly, SBPD officers have faced this challenge too many times. Yet it is a part of what we do. Chief Farrar:

“There’s been a lot said about how law enforcement would react to this,” Farrar said. “We’re going to strap our gear on, we’re going to go back out there, and we’re going to protect our people. We’re going to protect our citizens. We’re going to protect our children.”

Next time you see an officer, please take a moment to thank them if you appreciate their service and dedication. Especially with 2009 being such a violent, deadly year for Law Enforcement Officers nationwide.

“When an officer is killed, its not just an agency that loses an officer, but an entire nation” ODMP.org