I am writing in response to the recent tragedy that your community has faced in the brutal murder of four Lakewood police officers. I am moved when I see a tragedy like this, having been born a member of a large and tightly-knit law enforcement family. All of us are keeping the four families in our hearts during this time. I wish to share with your readers the experience of learning to love and live with a police officer and the ever-present fear of just such a tragedy.
The four slain officers sound like individuals with admirable professional qualities and endearing personal ones. I watched the sister of one victim saying on TV today that “This is my absolute worst nightmare.” That is what resonated with me and, I can assure you, so many of us out here who have witnessed the tragedy from afar.
I chose to fall in love and partner with a Sheriff’s Officer several years ago. I learned that my guy is a man of great loyalty and dedication, with a genuine desire to help wherever he can in this world. He had never wanted to do anything else for a living. I could never ask him to choose, so I knew I would have to learn to live with the down-side of loving this person who is always in danger.
We watch the clock. We keep a mental fact of life in the back of our minds constantly. Many nights I sat up, uneasy, as the hours ticked away before he came home or had opportunity to call me. We learn that the odds are better that we never will have to face that dreaded phone call or visit from our loved one’s colleagues. And yet, we attempt to prepare ourselves mentally, knowing that no one can really ever be prepared for a moment like this to come, for the nightmare to come true.
But for the families of four suburban Seattle, WA officers today, that moment did come. Their loved ones were murdered this morning in cold blood by a psycho who should not have been allowed on our streets again, ever. So, until this morning, I knew exactly how the families felt. But now, only a handful of us know what they are presently suffering. I pray for all four families tonight, as I pray for law enforcement workers and their beloved every night. May God grant them peace and some measure of understanding in time.
Tanya M Smyth