As I sit on the highway under a full moon, my fingers do the walking on my MDC and I write this article, we have at least 147 job openings across the country in law enforcement — each and every one of those vacancies is the result of a brother or sister in blue giving the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty. This year, like many in memory, we’ve seen new threats, more limitations, ever-changing departmental policies, politicians who seem to think they know how to do a cop’s job, and less and less support from the general public. We’ve had video and media clips that never seem to tell the whole story, produced by ambitious news reporters who never seem to even want the real story.
Our job seems to grow more and more dangerous and challenging each and every year. Bad guys still try to shoot us, run us over, bite, stab and punch us. No one, and I mean no one, can understand this job unless they have experienced it, day in and day out.
The Officer Down Memorial Page tells each and every story of our fallen comrades from this year and from years past. I have friends on that wall. You have friends on that wall. That’s the life we chose, and that’s the life I’m thankful for this Christmas season, because I chose to protect and serve, just like you, and just like them, and we wouldn’t want it any other way.
I’m thankful for my family. I’m thankful for my friends. And I’m still, after all these years, thankful for that badge on my chest, and the badge on yours. If I’m ever in trouble, I know that one of you will be there to help me no matter what, my brother or sister in blue will be at my side.
My shift will end in a few hours, lord willing, and I’ll be on my way home, make a cup of Joe, sit for a few moments in serenity, and stare at the blue lights on my Christmas tree, all 147 of them.
Tonight, as you sit in your cruiser listening to the sounds of the season on your good-times radio, or if you are sittin’ around the fireplace with loved ones, take a moment to pick out one of our fallen comrades on the memorial page, one that especially has touches your heart, and leave a few words or a reflection so that the family can read it and be comforted this season. You would want it. Your family would want it. Their family will need it. Merry Christmas to you and yours this season, because sometimes there is Justice, and sometimes there’s just us.
Rest in Peace Darren.