End of Watch: June 2011

Wreath-Memorial300
Photo Dale Stockton

We’re halfway through this year and, we’ve lost 90 officers thus far. Unfortunately, that’s about where we were last year at this time. There is a noted difference though: For the first time in more than a dozen years, gunfire deaths are occurring more frequently than vehicle accidents. Deaths by gunfire are up more than 15%, offset by a decline in vehicle deaths of almost 25%.

Every loss is tragic, regardless of cause. Two hours before writing this, I was at the National Memorial. I go there every time I'm in Washington, D.C.  As I walked the grounds, I noticed a wreath placed behind Panel 29 on the east wall. I was drawn to it because it stood alone and had a note in the middle of it. The note was simple and so poignant I have to share it with you. The wreath honored Corporal Matthew Edwards, Taylor, Michigan Police Department, end of watch July 23, 2010. It had these words, “Happy Father’s Day, Daddy. We Love and Miss You! Love, Luke and Moriah.”

Approximately a year ago, Corporal Matthew Edwards, at 31 a six-year veteran, went to work like any other day. Along with another officer, he responded to a call of a “breaking and entering.” Edwards arrived on scene and confronted a man matching the description. The man pulled a gun and shot Edwards. The other officer shot the suspect. Edwards was transported to the hospital and died. The suspect survived. Last year on Father’s Day, Luke and Moriah had a dad. This year, they have a memory.

Cops don’t have to die in the numbers we are seeing. We must continue to objectively look at where changes can be made. Please, as you go forward in your career, do your part to honor those who have fallen and strive to improve officer safety in every facet of your job. You can make a difference and we can bring down the number of annual line-of-duty deaths.

END OF WATCH: JUNE 2011
Law Officer thanks each of these officers for their service, and sends its sincerest condolences to their friends, families and fellow brothers and sisters in blue.

June 29: Deputy Sheriff Kyle Pagerly, Berks County (Pa.) Sheriff's Department
Pennsylvania Deputy Killed in Shootout

June 26: Deputy Sheriff Charles Allen VanMeter, Brazoria County (Texas) Sheriff's Office
Texas Deputy Dies After Cruiser Slams Into Teen's Truck

June 26: Officer Russell A. George, Ball (La.) Police Department
Ball (La.) Police Officer Dies After Patrol Car Leaves Road, Strikes Trees

June 26: Sgt. Darrell Curley, Navajo Division of Public Safety, Tribal Police
Navajo Nation Officer Killed Answering Domestic Violence Call

June 24: Trooper Adam M. Bowen, Virginia State Police
Weekend Crash Claims Life of Virginia State Trooper

June 14: Officer Kevin Dandoval, South Pasadena (Calif.) Police Department
South Pasadena (Calif.) Officer Dies During Firearms Training

June 12: Deputy Sheriff Jeffrey Alexander, Chemung County (N.Y.) Sheriff's Department
N.Y. Sheriff's Deputy Killed in Head-On Crash

June 11: Police Officer Charles Armour, Detroit Police Department
Detroit Officer Struck by Vehicle Unexpectedly Dies

June 9: Investigator Warren B. Lewis III, Nash County (N.C.) Sheriff's Office
N.C. Investigator Shot, Killed Serving Murder Warrant

June 7: Deputy Sheriff Keith Bellar, Dickson County (Tenn.) Sheriff's Office
Tennessee Deputy Dies after Being Shot in Head

June 7: Deputy Sheriff Kurt Wyman, Oneida County (N.Y.) Sheriff's Office
Oneida County Sheriff's Deputy Dies after Early Morning Shootout

June 3: Master Patrolman Jefferson Taylor, Riverside (Mo.) Police Division
Missouri Officer Struck by Lightning Dies

June 1: Trooper Ellen E. Engelhardt, Massachusetts State Police
Mass. Trooper Injured by Drunk Driver in 2003 Dies

Source: Officer Down Memorial Page

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