Again, last night, the Lord opened the gates of Heaven to welcome home another Centurion, this time from my hometown, Springfield, Mo. I have never, and God willing, will never take for granted the tremendous responsibility that comes with keeping the peace in a free society. A career in this role has hardened me in some respects, and I smile at the sound of the Gates of Hell slamming shut as the devil welcomes another demented soul into the eternal fires that are promised for those that kill needlessly. Officer Christopher Walsh, 32, was shot to death last night in a gunfight. There were three citizens killed in this confrontation and a second officer, Josiah Overton, 25, wounded, before the gunman turned the gun on himself and began his journey to hell. Accompanying Officer Walsh into Heaven will be the souls of those he sought to protect. May God bless each of them.
I am sickened by the complacency that has led American’s to believe that an officer’s death, on occasion, is to be expected. Every time an officer dies in America, I utter an oath and a prayer. The profession of policing has been turned into political theater, with various levels of government seeking to destroy the monumental strides the profession has made in terms of inter-agency cooperation. The constant barrage of criticism and the lack of political respect has reduced this honorable business to begging applicants rather than turning them away because we have more than we can handle. In the instant case, there will be an outpouring of community respect and a funeral that befits the line of duty death that we have experienced. Then it will be business as usual until the the next Centurion is down. This, my dear readers, is unacceptable.
I love this profession. There are few occupations that guarantee a sense of accomplishment in that you know that you have made a difference during your shift. An officer is in a position to lend dignity to any situation from the heinous to the mundane as he stands between chaos and those who seek to live orderly and honestly. For this, the profession is rewarded with compensation that is often earned for a year when death is your business on the streets. I abhor the complacency with which the profession is taken and detest the politization of policing, where the task is clearly defined but constantly interrupted by the machinations of our political system.
The hand crafted, stained glass, blue line plate in the photograph was given to me by a terrific, civilian employee of the Patrol, Jennifer Wease, several years after retirement. It sits on my desk and is a constant reminder of the years spent in perpetuating this honorable profession. I am in no hurry to make my exit, but when I do, this plate will be nearby as folks take the time to either curse my existence or praise my efforts. Make no mistake, though, the blue line is deeply imbedded and I will never turn my back on the men and women who are charged with the separation of the abhorrent from the mundane.
Thank you Officer Walsh, for your courage and sacrifice. I pray the terror that accompanies an armed conflict was short lived. Our debt to you will never be satisfied and the profession will never forget your efforts.
I wish that I could say the same for the society that you protected.