Tuesday, July 10, 2007

To protect and serve...

I came back to work yesterday after a week off (by default – I hadn’t been originally planning on the whole week, but had daycare issues). I was expecting to have a quiet day to catch up on e-mail, phone messages, (not to mention blog-reading, listening to podcasts, blog posting – shhh!) – the usual post-vacation stuff. Instead I had a whirlwind of a day making maps.

Ok, now I make maps for a living – that’s basically what ‘GIS’ boils down to. I love making maps. These were the most difficult ones that I’ve had to make though and not because they were all that complicated. Usually I make maps showing things like ‘future land use’ and ‘zoning’, or ‘structure fire locations’ – things that are fairly abstract anyway.

I hadn’t watched the news over the weekend and hadn’t been on the internet to catch any news stories either. I did flip on the news briefly yesterday morning and caught a quick blurb about a police officer being killed – I quickly changed the channel though since Hannah was watching and I didn’t think that was a story she needed to hear more about.

Within minutes after I got to work, I got a call from our public safety liaison and soon after that he and a police officer were here going through specifics about the incident early Sunday morning. When a police officer was shot and killed in the line of duty on a domestic dispute. A 29-year-old father of a little girl, who is only 3 years old. The suspect was arrested at the scene. I spent the day making maps showing locations of police officers who responded during and after the incident, where the suspect was located, where the fallen officer was and how he was removed from the scene to be rushed to the hospital.

You pretty much take for granted the danger that police officers face every day when they head off to work just like the rest of us. Unlike the rest of us though, they know that every day on the job could potentially be their last. Not that other jobs don’t involve danger and heck, any of us could get hit by a bus tomorrow or something. But police officers walk into situations daily where they don’t know what to expect and have to therefore expect the worst. Because they never know when a guy with a shotgun might be hiding in a garage – a guy who’s a competitive marksman and has a grudge against authority – a guy who could decide to pull that trigger. A 29-year-old father walks around the back of a house to set up a rear perimeter and cover the back door and never comes back.

My heart goes out to his family and daughter and they are in my prayers.

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