2012 in Review: He won't be home for Christmas

Did you know that more cops were killed in the line of duty in the past ten years than American combat soldiers in Afghanistan fighting a war?


This Christmas Patrick O’Rourke of the Bloomfield Township Police department in suburban Detroit, along with many other fallen comrades, won’t be home for Christmas. O’Rourke responded to a domestic call for service with possible shots fired this past September. His bravery and call for duty didn’t waiver as he performed his duties. The barricaded gunmen ambushed and gunned down O’Rourke that night, leaving behind a wife and four children to spend Christmas alone without their beloved “Patty.”

There are hundreds of similar stories like the O’Rourke’s in this country every year. The unfortunate reality is the average citizen in this country will go about this Holiday season celebrating with friends and family giving no thought to those men and women that won’t be home for Christmas.

“The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life, of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked advance against me to devour me, it is my enemies and foes who will stumble and fall. Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear, though war break out against me, even then I will be confident.”
— Psalm 27

Men of Humility and Honor
Those who wear the badge don’t expect recognition for our sacrifices. We didn’t take the oath to uphold laws and maintain peace with an agreement that citizens would recognize us for our actions. However, perhaps it’s time the American public recognized the realty of violence in this country in the same perspective that we do.

News media has a tendency to report the wars over seas as a priority during their broadcasts. As a military veteran I think it’s important to report the military news as a priority as the media does however, why isn’t the war on crime treated with the same priority? The local media outlets certainly report on local crimes but for the national media to pick up on a criminal story it must be from the result of a mass murder.

Did you know that more cops were killed in the line of duty in the past ten years than American combat soldiers in Afghanistan fighting a war? Most will be surprised by that fact, even I was a little taken by that figure until I did my own research.

Sobering Truths
The year 2001 brought the Afghanistan war and Operation Enduring Freedom. During the period from 2001 to 2011, approximately 1446 American combat troops died in combat actions.

During that same period approximately 1637 American police officers died fighting crime on our own streets. Those sobering numbers equate to 191 more officers killed in the line of duty than combat soldiers fighting a war in Afghanistan.

I am an Army veteran that served during Operation Desert Storm. I was raised an Army brat as my father is a retired Command Sergeant Major with combat ribbons from the Gulf War and Vietnam. Please don’t get me wrong and missunderstand my point. I cherish and respect the American soldier but part of the problem we face in law enforcement is the lack of truth and education that our citizens receive. The national news reports on various war topics daily but they tend to ignore the war on crime in our own country, unless it’s a story with horrific details that they can sensationalize for their own ratings.

The American people need to be educated in the reality of what is really occurring in their neighborhoods so that we can collectively fight this war on crime. Law enforcement cannot change the crime in the United States until a major culture shift occurs.

This major culture shift won’t occur until society acknowledges that a problem exists. Society can’t acknowledge the problem of crime in this country if they aren’t educated with facts on a daily basis of the battle cops wage daily. Hence the need to report and recognize the true facts on the war on crime with the same priority as the media does with military conflicts.

A Nation of Blue Lights
Recently, the widow of Patrick O’Rourke posted on a social media website, a request to place a blue light bulb in your porch light to recognize the fallen officers whom have made the ultimate sacrifice, then take a photo of your blue porch light and share it with all your friends on social media your photo and the story behind it.

I have a blue porch light and now I am sharing with you my request to do the same. This blue light isn’t as powerful as the national media reporting daily of the war on crime but we have a chance here to educate neighbors, family and friends, one by one. Hopefully in time we can spark this major culture shift that needs to occur so that more of us are home for the holidays.

Please take a few minutes today and place that blue bulb in your porch light fixture. Take a photo and share it on your favorite social media and tell the story of its meaning.

Every night when I return home from work and I see that blue glimmer on my porch, I will think of Patrick O’Rourke, his lovely wife Amy, daughters Eileen (10), Mary (8), Andrea (5) and son Stephen (a year old) this Christmas season.

I am sure each of you will have a fond memory of a fallen officer as well.

To all the officers working this holiday season remember, drive with your seat belt on, wear your vest, maintain acute situational awareness so that you’re always ready for the ambush and have a Merry Christmas!

Badge #55 EOW 9/9/12
Patrick O’Rourke Family Trust, any Bank of America, checks made out to same.

About the author

Glenn French, a Sergeant with the Sterling Heights (Mich.) Police Department, has 22 years police experience and currently serves as the Team Commander for the Special Response Team, and Sergeant of the Sterling Heights Police Department Training Bureau. He has 14 years SWAT experience and served as a Sniper Team Leader, REACT Team Leader, and Explosive Breacher.

He is the author of the award-winning book “Police Tactical Life Saver” which has been named the 2012 Public Safety Writers Association Technical Manual of the year. Glenn is also the President of www.tacticallifesaver.org.

Glenn has instructed basic and advanced SWAT / Tactical officer courses, basic and advanced Sniper courses, Cold Weather / Winter Sniper Operations and Active Shooter Response courses, Tactical Lifesaver Course and others. Sgt French served in the U.S. Army. During his military tenure Sgt French gained valuable experience in C.Q.B., infantry tactics and explosive breaching operations. 

Contact Glenn French.

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