Ashes to patches and the value of small gestures

An admirable effort is under way to restore the police patch collection of a fallen cop’s nephew

On Wednesday, February 22, 2006, Detective Jared Jensen of the Colorado Springs Police Department was murdered by a parolee who was wanted for attempted murder. During the deadly encounter, Jensen was shot once and fell to the ground. The suspect then stood over him and shot him again in the face, killing him. 

Detective Jensen’s brother — a Lieutenant with CSPD — took his own eight-year-old son to the Memorial Wall in Washington, DC so the boy could honor his fallen uncle. During that trip, the boy began to collect police patches from across the globe. 

Lieutenant Jensen’s home is one of the more than 500 houses destroyed in the Black Forest Fire. Up in smoke with the rest of the family’s personal possessions is the young man’s irreplaceable patch collection. Detective Adam Romine of the Colorado Springs Police Department is leading the effort to rebuild that boy’s collection, and at PoliceOne know we can do a lot to help.

In the past, we’ve answered the call to give aid to law enforcement victims of natural disasters, and we work very hard in our ongoing efforts to prevent parole for cop killers

While restoring a boy’s police patch collection may not carry quite the same weight of those efforts, it is representative of the wonderful — and daily — opportunities we have to support our law enforcement family. 

If you have the ability to send a department patch, know that it would be highly appreciated by Lt. Jensen, his family, and the entire CSPD. You can mail your patch to Detective Romine of the Colorado Springs Police Department at this address:

Lt. Jensen c/o Detective Adam Romine
Colorado Springs Police Department
415 East Pikes Peak Avenue, Suite 200, 
Colorado Springs, CO 80903

I spoke with Detective Romine today, and he was effusive in his thanks to everyone who has already responded to this call for help.

“The response to this project, not just by the law enforcement community, but by the general public, has been nothing short of amazing,” Detective Romine told me. 

“I've had people from all over the country calling me to ask what they can do to help him. It definitely helps restore faith in humanity,” Romine added. 

Small Gestures, Big Impact
This project is a perfect reminder of the sort of gesture that carries so much weight within our community. There are plenty of others.

One such idea is sending a card or an email across the country to an officer who is recovering from injury. We have news stories on the website daily about these heroes, and I know from personal experience that it takes about five minutes to get an address, write a card, and drop it in the mail. 

One such officer recovering from injury is Richard Donohue. You’ll recall that Officer Donohue survived a showdown with the Boston Marathon bombing suspects, and walked out of the hospital last Friday. I’ve been told that “get well” cards can be sent to:

Officer Richard Donohue
MBTA Transit Police
240 Southampton Street
Boston, MA 02118

I spoke today with my good friend and PoliceOne colleague Betsy Brantner Smith about the massive impact we can have with small gestures.  

“Under the tough exterior of even the most seasoned crimefighter is usually someone with a pretty soft heart, and nothing brings out the compassion in most cops like the opportunity to help out another police family, especially a child,” she told me.  

As usual, Betsy is 100 percent right. I continually see officers giving out stickers and other tokens to kids they encounter on patrol — a small gesture that instantly creates a positive association in the mind of a young person. Cops are a giving, caring, group of people. 

Sure, most cops have an outer shell that would make a turtle jealous, but you’re in this profession because you care enough for others to risk your lives protecting them.  

Wherever I go, I carry a couple PoliceOne patches in my pocket. I do this so I can hand them to the coppers I meet in my travels. Today, I put one patch in an envelope and sent it to Colorado, and another in an envelope now en route to Massachusetts. 

What will you do today, to help an officer ‘a million miles’ away?

About the author

Doug Wyllie is Editor at Large for PoliceOne, responsible for providing police training content and expert analysis on a wide range of topics and trends that affect the law enforcement community. An award-winning columnist — he is the 2014 Western Publishing Association "Maggie Award" winner in the category of Best Regularly Featured Digital Edition Column — Doug has authored more than 900 feature articles and tactical tips. Doug is also responsible for planning and recording the PoliceOne Podcast, Policing Matters, as well as being the on-air host for PoliceOne Video interviews. Doug also works closely with the PoliceOne Academy to develop training designed to prepare cops for the fight they face every day on the street.

Doug regularly represents PoliceOne as a public speaker in a variety of forums and is available for media interviews — he has appeared on numerous local and national radio and television news programs, and has been quoted in a host of print publications. 

Doug is a member of International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA), an Associate Member of the California Peace Officers' Association (CPOA), and a member of the Public Safety Writers Association (PSWA).

Contact Doug Wyllie

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