Peace Officer Memorial Week
Last year, “two-hundred and thirty” law enforcement officers lost their lives in the line of duty across our country. On Sept. 11th “seventy-one” officers lost their lives at the “World Trade Center” disaster.
As we stood in silence at the memorial honoring the 11 officers and paying tribute to their families, I realized how proud I am to be a member of a chosen profession that takes pride and honor in serving the citizens of our own Communities, our State and our Country. We recognize that you, the citizens we serve, have given us a great deal of authority to allow us to do our job in the best possible way and we thank you.
As I looked at the program honoring the eleven officers that have given their lives in the line of duty, I noticed that they were not all from the big city, where we assume all tragedies occur. The list of officers was from all parts of the state, including two deputies from Butte County. They were ambushed as they entered a residence to investigate a stolen property case in Inskip, population of only 300. It brought home the point that Peace Officers go to work everyday throughout this great country knowing that this may be their last shift.
We don’t know who is in the car we stop for speeding. Just as California Highway Patrol Officer Glenn W. Carlson did not know who was in the car he stopped on Nov. 15, 1963 for speeding in the snow on the west end of Donner Lake. CHP Officer Carlson did not know the three subjects in the car had just robbed a bank a few hours earlier in Sacramento. After citing them for the speeding violation he returned to his car and learned that the car was reported missing from a car lot in Sacramento. CHP Officer Carlson stopped the vehicle a second time near the “Loch Leven Lodge” along side Donner Lake.
The three suspects exited their vehicle and started for Carlson as he ordered them back in their vehicle. The suspects opened fire, killing CHP Officer Carlson and leaving behind a wife and three young children. The three suspects were later apprehended and one was bragging about how the force of the gunshots blew the officer off the road. Another officer found Officer Carlson’s body in the snow alongside the road about an hour after he was shot.
The plaque outside the Truckee California Highway Patrol Office honoring CHP Glenn W. Carlson states: “Officer Carlson laid down his life rather than swerve from the path of duty.”
I have been to too many funerals honoring officers that have given their lives because they did not swerve from the path of duty. One common theme I see at these funerals is that these men and women gave their lives in the line of duty doing something they wanted to do. Times have changed. You can’t be a cop because you are the biggest kid on the block or couldn’t find another job. You can only be a cop because you want it.
I love my job and I love the opportunity to do my job in a beautiful town like Truckee. A lot of us are new to Truckee but we are not new to being cops. We thank you for the opportunity to work with and for you in this great community. During “Peace Officer Memorial Week” we give thanks for the brave men and women that have gone before us giving their “Ultimate Sacrifice”. But we also give thanks for the men and women that are out there right now “Walking the Point.” We are here to “serve and protect” and to be part of this great community.
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If Israel and the United Kingdom are any indication, widespread vaccination will knock the pandemic down to … normal life. Something near.