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Why We are Not Mourned

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                                                                 Why We are Not Mourned

On the other hand, why don't people line the streets to say goodbye to emergency responders, is it not our brothers and sisters who put there innocent lives on the line day in and day out? Sure we work a dangerous profession. For many public safety families, to serve and protect is a family tradition, like it was for my family.

And when one of our bravest die on the battlefield of emergency response do we ever see much of the media other than a few paragraphs in the local newspaper?

When it comes to our funerals, the news media is seldom around. In all due respect, look what it took to finally get national attention from the media, and to capture sympathy from the general public; more than 400 brave public safety members had to die on 9-11-01 in New York as they tried to save innocent lives at the World Trade Center.

However, let one public safety member do something that is considered out of line and like swarming bees on an open jar of honey, the media is at our doorsteps with cameras rolling. They will usually do their best to showcase officers that have fallen out of respect.

And that's okay as all public safety professionals have an unwavering obligation to conduct themselves within the laws that govern this wonderful country we call America. There are no exceptions. Tell me why we are looked down upon, we are called to help the public; sometimes at the worst moments of a persons life. We have to have hearts of steel, to make the right decisions regardless of the consequences. The law prevents us from shooting first and asking questions later. Often giving time for cold-blooded killers to blow us away.

It is us who search the streets for a murderer, child molester, a serial rapist, and other deadly criminals. We know serving arrest warrants on fugitives or disrupting violent family disputes can turn on us at any moment. We have many dead officers to prove we can be ambushed at any moment.

A simple traffic stop can turn deadly when we least expect any problems. For officers that travel alone on patrol at night, the likelihood of being in harm's way increases. We never know whether a person has just robbed a bank or killed someone.

On a felony stop we have to be extremely cautious or lose our life if we get careless. It's a sub-conscious fear we must live with on patrol. And when appropriate we call for backup, provided we are not the only police officer on duty in our community. We cannot lose control on any incident; we are not allowed to force a suspect to obtain a confession.

It is the police officer, which is required to put on a bulletproof vest before a tour of duty. For the officer, it's a primary means to stop a bullet, to offer some degree of protection.

But that does not mean we will not be injured or even die when a shooter aims at our face or any other exposed body part not protected by the vest. It is us who walks through a darkened entry, where the threat is very real as some deranged predator may be waiting in hiding to gun us down. Like two days ago when Marion Louisiana's, Police officer Hector Gomez, was shot and killed with a 9mm pistol as he approached a vehicle in a ditch after a high-speed chase.

And all over a bogus check - three young men decided to flee and when cornered decided to take an officers life.

Is there any sense to such madness or man caring so little about the life of another human being?

A young 25 year-old police officer with less than a year on the Marion Police Department, a U.S. Army vet who served his country proudly. Now leaves behind a wife and unborn child.

He was the first officer lost in the History of Marion, Louisiana Police Department. Will the media attend his funeral and will the community of Marion turn out to offer their final respects? I sure hope so.

God bless all emergency responders around the world!

Dee Dee Serpas is a retired police officer from Kenner Police Department (Louisiana).  Currently, she is the President of the TAPS Memorial Web site.   Following in the footsteps of her great-grandfather, Sheriff Paul Berthelot, Sheriff of St. John the Baptist Parish, and that of her father, who was president of FOP Lodge 2 in the late 1950s, Dee Dee became a Police Officer. First with the East Jefferson Levee Board Police, she also joined the Kenner Police Department and was the only female to graduate from the academy that year. Later, she joined the Jefferson Parish Sheriffs Office as a street cop. This makes her the only known female in Louisiana to have held three commissions at the age of 21. Her first book, Behind the Badge in the Atchafalya Swap is due out soon.

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