Eleven officers were recently shot in a 24-hour period and there was discussion in the national news about the possibility that police officers are being targeted. It is a fact that police officers have always been and will always be targeted. They have been shot, stabbed, punched, and kicked, throughout history. But it seems that unless 11 are killed in a 24-hour period, the national news reserves very little print space or airtime on officers who are killed or wounded in the line of duty.
For example, few outside of San Antonio saw the headline “Texas gunman shoots 4 SWAT officers serving warrant,” in November of 2010. Unless you were paying attention or lived in the Greater Metropolitan Philadelphia area you may not have heard about the two SWAT officers hit by gunfire when trying to apprehend a man who had shot a fellow officer.
Train for Danger
SWAT officers have the advantage of knowing that every situation they are assigned to holds known dangers. They have the advantage of having the best available protective equipment and team members who have trained extensively with them to prepare to achieve success safely. These advantages have not up to now — nor will they ever — eliminate casualties in SWAT operations. Because of their equipment many survive the violent attacks but find themselves on the long mend.
SWAT officers train extensively to win these confrontations and when one of our own falls never to rise again, hundreds gather to dutifully pray and honor the fallen. This is as it should be.
But what happens to the wounded? Life moves on for the department, while those who are wounded struggle for weeks and months, sometimes for a life-time to recover from their wounds and the trauma of a their near death experience. Too often they are forgotten.
Do not let this happen to wounded teammates. After a teammate is wounded, it takes but little effort to send an e-mail, make a call, send a card, or arrange to stop by with a steak or a pizza and some soda-pop. Let them know they are missed and remembered. You and your teammates can be the best medicine for a wounded officer on their road to recovery.
Since there are no cards for such an incident here once again are some words for you to share with them from PoliceOne.
Ode to the Wounded Warrior
By Lt. Dan Marcou
You raised your hand and stood there proud,
With fellow recruits you recited aloud.
With, “courageous calm in the face of danger”
You’d risk your life for a total stranger.
You picked up the gauntlet and served with pride
Brave men and women you stood beside.
Day in and day out you strapped on your gun,
Through dark of night and mid-day sun.
Then came that day, when came the test
You answered the call and gave your best.
With courageous calm you faced the danger
And you risked your life for a total stranger.
You faced knife, the gun, or the flash of steel
You survived, and now it’s time to heal.
The men and women that you served beside
Will tell others they know you, with pride.
Your example will help them face their test,
Better prepared than before, to do their best.
With courageous calm they’ll face the danger
As they risk their lives for a total stranger.
Thank you for your sacrifice and example of courage.
Recover and enjoy the good life you have earned.