End of Watch 2010
At the beginning of each New Year I take time to visit the Officer Down Online Memorial Pages. 2010 was a particularly deadly year for Police Officers. Every year it seems harder and harder to view these pictures which show such hope, courage and love, and know these Officers made the ultimate sacrifice of giving their lives.
I leave reflections at many of the pages and express my sympathy to the families and loved ones. All the Officer stories touch me deeply. I have chosen three stories that will stay with me for countless years.
Deputy Sheriff Ian Michael Deutch with the Nye County Sheriff’s Office in Nevada, died after responding to a domestic disturbance. A woman called 911 after her boyfriend shot at her with a rifle. She fled to a casino to await Officers. When Deputy Deutch and his field training Officer exited their vehicle, the male subject opened fire and shot Deputy Deutch striking him six times.
Deputy Deutch was on his second day back to duty after returning from a deployment to Afghanistan. He left behind his wife and two children. Deputy Deutch had been a Police Officer for six years. He was twenty-seven-years old and served as a Police Officer with his brother Deputy Richard Deutch. The two brothers served together in Afghanistan as well. End of watch April 26.
Police Officer Thor Odin Soderberg with the Chicago Police Department was killed after being approached from behind in his Police Department parking lot. After a struggle for Officer Soderberg’s gun, Officer Soderberg was disarmed and shot with his duty weapon in the face, head, and back. Officer Soderberg was forty-three-years old and had served as a Police Officer for nearly eleven years. He left behind a wife and four children. End of watch July 7.
The most heroic story I read this year was of Officer Jillian Michelle Smith with the Arlington Police department in Texas. Her story will stay with me throughout my career.
Officer Smith was called to the scene of a domestic disturbance. A woman and her husband were fighting. By the time Officer Smith arrived, the husband had left the house. He returned a short time later with a gun. Officer Smith put herself between the gun and the woman’s eleven-year-old daughter. The suspect shot Officer Smith and then followed his wife to a back bedroom where he fatally shot her and then turned the gun on himself, ending his own life. The child was the only survivor.
What I find truly inspiring about Jillian Smith is she had only been an Officer for ten short months. She was twenty-four-years old. End of watch December 28.
This past year one hundred and sixty two Law Enforcement Officers lost their lives. They left behind grieving families, devastated coworkers, and friends. They had hopes and dreams of wearing their badges and protecting their communities, seeing their children and grandchildren grow and maybe follow their mother or father’s footsteps and become officers themselves.
January and June were the deadliest months this year, each having nineteen officer deaths. Seven female officers are among the fallen and one hundred and fifty five men lost their lives. Texas saw nineteen officer deaths, followed by California with eleven, and Illinois with ten.
Seventy seven of these Officers were murdered. Of the seventy seven murders, fifty nine were fatally shot. Eighteen of the officers were killed by assaults and/or vehicular attacks. Seventy one deaths were accidental and included vehicle, boating and training exercises. Fourteen Officers died from heart attacks.
To the brave men and women who gave their lives, thank you.
To the Officers who go out everyday and protect our communities, be safe.