THAT DREADFUL END-OF-THE-YEAR STATISTIC was on the news right before New Year’s Eve – the annual tabulation of American law enforcement officers who gave their lives on duty for the people they serve.
This year’s stat didn’t bring good news: on-duty police deaths in 2018 rose to from 129 a year ago to 144, a 12 percent rise. Likely to no one’s surprise in HPD, the majority of these line-of-duty deaths were caused by gunshots or vehicular accidents. As we reflect on the proverbial lessons learned, we also can give thanks that no HPD officer’s name appears on this dreadful list.
The Badge & Gun makes this point as it urges prayer for two officers whose patrol car was struck, overturned and set afire after a drunken driver struck them on a Houston street while they were on patrol. These latest two victims are Officers John Daily and Alonzo Reid, both young officers aged 25. Reid was treated and released at a hospital while Reid wasn’t so lucky. He suffered burns and injuries that are expected to keep him hospitalized or in rehab for months to come.
The driver who struck their patrol car was in custody as the Christmas season resulted in adversity for the officers’ families. We agree with Police Chief Art Acevedo that it was a Christmas miracle that both Daily and Reid survived.
We’ve said it before and will continue to make the point this year and all years to follow: police work is the most dangerous work any individual can undertake. It entails dedication and sacrifice. We pray those sacrifices in 2019 are not what we common refer to as “the ultimate sacrifice.”
This brings to mind the message always conveyed by the old roll call sergeant from the 1980s TV series, Hill Street Blues. At the end of his announcements, as officers prepared for the day’s duty, he said with conviction: “Be careful out there.”
It doesn’t hurt to repeat it: BE CAREFUL OUT THERE!