My Turn: America’s finest risk lives, honor and the badge | SierraSun.com

My Turn: America’s finest risk lives, honor and the badge

Bryce Keller
My Turn

Four of America’s finest lost their lives in Oakland on Saturday. I was saddened to hear of the deaths of the four Oakland police officers. Many will scrutinize the events that unfolded Saturday in Oakland. It is not my place to do that nor is it my intent.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and loved ones left behind.

The tragedy did make me think of our own Community and those who have taken an “Oath to Serve.” They are many; I am talking about those in law enforcement including, but not limited to: police, sheriff, California State Patrol, fish and game, parks, firefighters and others who provide essential public safety services. All have taken a solemn oath to serve their community, state and country. In addition to the oath, they all have two other things in common: a desire to serve and they all wear a badge with honor.

I am reminded of the words a fellow firefighter shared with me a few years back, “My Kids Ask Me”.

“My kids ask me often what that big shield (badge) is hanging from my shirt. I think they just like to hear me say it, and I tell em, ‘It’s a symbol of a solemn oath or promise sworn ” a symbol of trust, like a knighting. It basically means, I am a person you can trust.’ Even at their age they understand that.”

Following the events of Sept. 11th, 2001, when more than 400 firefighters, law enforcement and emergency workers were killed Americans held our sworn officers and firefighters in the highest regard. Those in the profession were humbled by the post-Sept. 11 accolades and sympathy of the nation.

Although the general public’s awareness of the risks posed to law enforcement and fire fighters may have waned, these knights continue to stand at the ready, fight crime, keep the peace, fight fires or provide life saving aid to those in need have not changed. I can tell you first hand that our Community is well served by honorable, professional and trusted law enforcement personnel and firefighters.

They have all taken their respective Oaths of Service without reservation fully understanding the risks of their chosen professions.

In this great Country we often take our freedoms and security for granted. Please join me in flying your American flag during this time of mourning in honor of these slain officers, and next time you see an officer, take the time to thank him/her for their service and commitment to keep our community safe.

Bryce E. Keller is the fire chief of the Truckee Fire Protection District.