The brotherhood among law enforcement officers is more than a brotherhood; it runs much deeper than that. To us, law enforcement is not a job, it is a calling and all of us firmly believe we have been called by whatever higher power we believe in, to take on the daunting task of protecting the lives of others and helping them whenever we can.
We know when we leave our homes to start our shifts that we might not come back. We know that it’s also possible to be seriously injured on the job physically and emotionally, yet we suit up, and we go to work every day without giving the morbid possibilities a second or even a first thought.
But, when tragedy strikes, there is no greater impact on any federal, state, local or municipal law enforcement agency than the loss of an officer in the line of duty, regardless of how that loss occurred. It is no secret, law enforcement officers die annually at an alarming rate as a result of gun violence, traffic-related incidents, heart disease, and suicide, as well as a myriad of other things.
We see our fellow officers as family, we love one another and there is an indescribable bond that only another law enforcement officer can possibly know or feel. When that bond is broken as a result of a death or injury our collective hearts are irretrievably broken and a part of us dies with our fallen brother or sister. The cost of police funerals can be controversial, and there might be traffic delays, but the funeral is heart wrenching for us officers. We cry, we lean on one another, we pray for one another and we hope that whoever is responsible is brought to justice.
I have lost friends in the line of duty, I have lost friends to suicide and it is important to remember as one of them often said; life is short, live, laugh, and love.