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An open letter: Thank you, PoliceOne

From one simple request, I learned even more than what I thought I knew about the law enforcement brotherhood

Editor’s Note: The first PoliceOne First Person essay of 2014 comes from Lieutenant Jeff Jensen of the Colorado Springs (Colo.) Police Department. I’ve never met Lieutenant Jensen, but I will forever and always call him my brother. I receive a lot of email — some notes demonstrate our humor, others display our heroism. On Monday, December 30, 2013, I got a note from Jeff. It read, in part: “Thank you for writing the article about Kyle. The response was amazing. Thousands of patches have been received... Have a blessed New Year and thank you for doing what you do. Your work is keeping many people safe and truly making them better cops.” 

I’ll add only this to Lieutenant Jensen’s thoughts: Thank God for the generosity of PoliceOne Members. My brothers and sisters, you make a difference every single day. Here’s to a safe and successful 2014 for you, yours, and all you serve. Be well. Do good. Go get ‘em!

— Doug Wyllie, PoliceOne Editor in Chief

By Lieutenant Jeff Jensen
Colorado Springs (Colo.) Police Department

Doug, I wanted to send a quick note of thanks for the overwhelming and unbelievable response — from what started as a simple request — from your readers and public servants throughout the world. 

In June of 2013, our family home — along with nearly 500 others — was lost to a forest fire that occurred in Black Forest, Colorado. 

Thankfully, our family was safe — as were our family pets, which were rescued by a family friend. 

My son and I were camping out of state, my daughter was with friends away from home, and my wife, who works with our local 911 center, was working diligently as the fire quickly spread. 

When she was able to leave work, she raced home, but it was too late. The yard and home were already on fire, with officers directing her to quickly flee to safety. Unfortunately, a couple that lived nearby died in the fire.

Reduced to Ashes
Our home was a complete loss, and many treasured family heirlooms were reduced to ash. Among them was the police patch collection my son Kyle started in 2006. Kyle started the collection after his uncle, my brother — who was also my best friend — was killed in the line of duty. 

Colorado Springs Police Department Detective Jared Jensen was shot and killed apprehending a wanted fugitive. 

Kyle was initially given patches from officers who attended Jared’s funeral service. 

Then he was given even more when our family attended Police Week in Washington, D.C. the following year — when Jared’s name was etched in the National Law Enforcement’s Memorial wall. 

Following the fire, I sent a quick message to a few friends asking if they had any spare patches to please send them to Kyle so we could begin his collection again, so he would have a small piece of what he lost.

From that simple request, I learned even more than what I thought I knew about the law enforcement brotherhood. 

Overwhelming Response
As an officer myself with the Colorado Springs Police Department for the past 17 years, I knew that my brothers and sisters in blue were like family.

In our family’s time of need surrounding and since Jared’s death, they were there. What I learned, though, is that this bond extends to all public servants throughout the world.

Following an article on PoliceOne by Editor in Chief Doug Wyllie, the request for patches was responded to worldwide. Kyle has received thousands of patches, coins, pins, shirts, hats, and even badges from all across the globe from fire, police, paramedics, and military personnel.

To watch his and the faces of our family and extended family, who often open the letters and packages together, is priceless. The best part though is reading the personal notes, letters, and stories that accompany these gifts. The well wishes, condolences and encouragement will help shape a young man whose experience living in a law enforcement family and living the events surrounding Jared’s death can sometimes be filled with sorrow and stories with unhappy endings. 

Thank You All
To everyone who contributed to this effort, thank you just doesn’t seem enough. You have inspired not just us, but all of our family, friends, and department members who share the story of not what occurred, but the response that followed. With my time on the job thus far, I am entitled to give a little advice. 

•    Be thankful for those you have around you
•    Do not sweat the minor speed bumps of life 
•    Most importantly, the small things you do every day matter

To Kyle and our family, it mattered immensely. 

Thank you again, and please be safe.

Lieutenant Jeff Jensen
Colorado Springs Police Department

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