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End of Watch, November 2016

Loss of life among law enforcement needs attention

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Over the course of November 2016, twenty-one law enforcement officers have lost their lives by simply serving and protecting. The anti-cop rhetoric is gaining speed and rapidly growing uncontrollable. Of the twenty-one Police Officers who lost their lives in November of 2016, thirteen were intentionally killed by another person, and seven of the thirteen Officers who lost their lives were killed in ambush. Below is a list of the twenty-one law enforcement officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

  1. Police Officer Jorge Sanchez, 53, of the Miami Police Department, was killed on November 1 in an automobile accident. Officer Sanchez was stopped at an intersection when his motorcycle was hit from behind by another vehicle.  Jorge Sanchez had served the people of Miami, Florida for 21 years, and is survived by his fiancée and three children, one of whom is also a Police Officer.
  2. Police Officer Justin Scott Martin, 24, of the Urbandale Police Department, was killed on November 2 when he was ambushed by a gunman. Officer Martin was sitting in his patrol car when he was approached by a man.  The man drew a gun and shot and killed Officer Martin in ambush, firing into his vehicle between fifteen and thirty times.  The suspect fled the scene and killed a Des Moines Police Officer before surrendering to law enforcement.  Justin Scott Martin had served the people of Urbandale, Iowa for fifteen months.
  3. Sergeant Anthony David Beminio, 38, of the Des Moines Police Department, was killed on November 2 when he was ambushed by a gunman. Sergeant Beminio was sitting in his patrol car when he was approached by a man.  The man drew a gun and shot and killed Sergeant Beminio in ambush.  The suspect, who had previously killed an Urbandale Police Officer, fled before surrendering to law enforcement.  Sergeant Beminio had served the people of Des Moines, Iowa for eleven years.
  4. Sergeant Paul Tuozzolo, 41, of the New York City Police Department, was killed on November 4 in a shootout.  After holding his son and estranged wife hostage, the suspect shot and killed Sergeant Tuozzolo and wounded another officer before he was killed by police.  Paul Tuozzolo had served the people of New York City, New York for nineteen years, and is survived by his wife and two sons.
  5. Sergeant Patrick Michael Sondron, 41, of the Peach County Sheriff’s Office, was killed on November 6 when he and another officer responded to a 911 call.  They were walking toward the suspect’s residence when he opened fire, killing Sergeant Sondron and mortally wounding his partner.  The suspect exchanged gunfire with other police officers before he was wounded and apprehended.  Patrick Michael Sondron was a U.S. Air Force veteran with previous law enforcement experience, had served the people of Peach County, Georgia for seventeen years and is survived by his wife and three children.
  6. Police Officer Cody Brotherson, 25, of the West Valley City Police Department, was killed on November 6 when he was intentionally struck by a vehicle.  When police were pursuing a stolen vehicle, Officer Brotherson and other officers were applying strike slips on the road to halt it.  The vehicle drove straight at the officers and struck and killed Officer Brotherson.  The car was later stopped and three suspects were arrested.  Cody Brotherson had served the people of West Valley City, Utah for three years and is survived by his parents, two brothers, and a fiancée.
  7. Police Officer Darrin Reed, 50, of the Show Low Police Department, was killed on November 8 while pursuing a suspect.  After responding to a suspicious person call, officers located the suspect and followed him when he fled.  During the chase the suspect shot and killed Officer Reed.  The suspect was killed by police after taking a hostage.  Darrin Reed was a U.S. Air Force veteran with previous law enforcement experience, had served the people of Show Low, Arizona for ten years and is survived by his wife and two children.
  8. Deputy Sheriff Daryl Smallwood, 39, of the Peach County Sheriff’s Office, died on November 8 after he and another officer responded to a 911 call two days earlier.  On November 6 they were walking toward the suspect’s residence when he opened fire, mortally wounding Deputy Smallwood and killing his partner.  The suspect exchanged gunfire with other police officers before he was wounded and apprehended.  Deputy Smallwood died from his wounds on November 8.  Before serving the people of Peach County, Georgia, Daryl Smallwood was a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and is survived by his wife and three children.
  9. Police Officer Jude Williams Lewis, 46, of the New Orleans Police Department, died on November 8 from injuries he had sustained fifteen years before.  On June 1, 2001, Officer Lewis suffered a critical brain injury when his patrol car crashed into a tree during a pursuit.  Officer Lewis never recovered from the accident, and died from his injuries on November 8.  Jude Williams Lewis was a U.S. Army veteran who had served the people of New Orleans, Louisiana for three years, and is survived by his sister.
  10. Police Officer Scott Leslie Bashioum, 52, of the Canonsburg Borough Police Department, was killed on November 10 in an ambush.  Responding to a domestic disturbance call, the suspect shot and killed Officer Bashioum and wounded another officer.  The suspect then killed his pregnant wife and committed suicide.  Scott Leslie Bashioum was a U.S. Air Force veteran who had served the people of Canonsburg Borough, Pennsylvania for seven years, and is survived by his wife and children.
  11. Deputy Sheriff Dennis Wallace, 53, of the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department, was killed on November 13 while investigating a suspicious vehicle.  Upon realizing that the vehicle was stolen, Deputy Wallace was shot and killed by the suspect, who then fled.  The suspect was apprehended later in the day.  Dennis Wallace had served the people of Stanislaus County, California for twenty years, and is survived by his wife and children.
  12. Deputy Sheriff Justin White, 28, of the Newton County Sheriff’s Office, died on November 15 of injuries he had previously sustained.  Deputy White’s patrol car overturned while going around a curve on the highway on October 30.  Deputy White died of his injuries on November 15.  Justin White had served the people of Newton County, Georgia for four years and is survived by his daughter and girlfriend.
  13. Agent David Gomez, 44, of the United States Border Patrol, died on November 16 from a heart attack he had received the previous day.  On November 15, Agent Gomez was patrolling on his bike in El Paso, Texas, when he suffered a heart attack.  Agent Gomez died in a local hospital the next day.  David Gomez had served the people of the United States for twenty years, and is survived by his wife, children, parents, and brothers.
  14. Assistant Commander Kenneth Joseph Starrs, 66, of the South Texas Specialized Crimes and Narcotics Task Force, died on November 16 in a train collision.  Assistant Commander Starrs was on the way to the task force headquarters when his department vehicle was struck by a train at an unprotected crossing.  Kenneth Joseph Starrs had served the people of Texas in various law enforcement roles for thirty-nine years, and he is survived by his wife, daughter, two grandchildren, and sister.
  15. Deputy Commander Patrick Thomas Carothers, 53, of the United States Marshals Service, was killed while participating in a fugitive raid on November 18.  A law enforcement task force was attempting to serve a warrant on a violent criminal in Long County, Georgia when the suspect shot and killed Deputy Commander Carothers.  The suspect was then killed in the exchange of gunfire.  Patrick Thomas Carothers had served the people of the United States for twenty-six years, and is survived by his wife and five children.
  16. Detective Benjamin Edward Marconi, 50, of the San Antonio Police Department, was killed on November 20 in an ambush.  Detective Marconi was sitting in his patrol car during a traffic stop when a suspect stopped his vehicle behind Detective Marconi’s patrol car and approached the passenger side of his vehicle.  The suspect shot Detective Marconi twice and killed him in ambush, and then fled the scene.  The suspect was later arrested.  Three other officers were similarly ambushed and wounded on the same day. President-Elect Donald Trump called Detective Marconi’s son following the shooting and offered his condolences.  Benjamin Edward Marconi had served the people of San Antonia, Texas for twenty years, and is survived by his two children.
  17. Deputy Sheriff Eric James Oliver, 32, of the Nassau County Sheriff’s Department, was killed on November 22 when he was struck by a vehicle during a foot pursuit.  Deputy Oliver and another officer were chasing a suspect who had fled from United States Border Patrol agents.  The suspect ran across a roadway and Deputy Oliver was struck by a vehicle and killed while following him.  The suspect was later arrested.  Eric James Oliver was a U.S. Navy veteran who had served the people of Nassau County, Florida for seven years, and is survived by his wife, daughter, parents, and brothers.
  18. Trooper Eric Dale Ellsworth, 32, of the Utah Highway Patrol, lost his life on November 22 from injuries he had received four days earlier. On November 18 Trooper Ellsworth was attempting to warn an approaching semi about low hanging power lines when he was struck and killed by a vehicle approaching from the other direction.  He died of his injuries at a local hospital on November 22.  Eric Dale Ellsworth had served the people of Utah for seven years, and is survived by his wife, three sons, and his parents.
  19. Sergeant Collin James Rose, 29, of the Wayne State University Police Department, lost his life on November 23 when he died from a gunshot wound he had received the following day.  On November 22 Sergeant Rose was questioning a suspicious person in an area that had suffered a large amount of thefts from vehicles.  The suspect shot Sergeant Rose when he attempted to detain him.  Sergeant Rose died from his wounds on November 23.  He was posthumously promoted to Sergeant.  The suspect was later arrested.  Collin James Rose had served the people of Michigan in several law enforcement roles for over five-and-a-half years, and is survived by his fiancé.
  20. Trooper Cody James Donahue, 34, of the Colorado State Patrol, was killed on November 25 when he was stuck by a vehicle.  Trooper Donahue was investigating a small traffic accident with another state trooper when he was struck and killed by a commercial vehicle.  Cody James Donahue had served the people of Colorado for eleven years, and is survived by his wife and two children.
  21. Police Officer Reginald “Jake” Gutierrez, 45, of the Tacoma Police Department, was killed on November 30 while responding to a domestic disturbance report.  Upon entering the home of the disturbance, Officer Gutierrez was shot by the suspect. Other officers managed to pull Officer Gutierrez from the home and transport him to a local hospital.  Officer Gutierrez died from his wounds several hours later.  The suspect barricaded himself in the home and used children as human shields until he was killed by a SWAT sniper.  Reginald “Jake” Gutierrez had served the people of Washington for seventeen years.

Since the day when two New York City Police Officers were ambushed and killed by a gang member, there has been a nationwide effort to garner public support for law enforcement officers by celebrating the actions and sacrifices of our men and women who wear badges.

It is easy for some people to dislike Police Officers. After all, we live in a society that celebrates partying, fast cars, and defiance of the system.  For many young Americans, downing a beer or blazing up a joint is not only a rite of passage to adulthood but a daily activity.  Naturally, the person who shows up to crash the party is unpopular.

Take into account recent events and red-hot tensions, it is no surprise that some people have a feeling of anger towards the peacekeepers.  In the past few years, a small but vocal group has begun to question the accountability and authority of cops, and others are only too eager to participate.  Treating law enforcement with distrust and even hostility is becoming more and more common, and some call for reduced police numbers and authority.

This is a textbook example of humanity’s weakness.  A small yet media-conscious assembly insists that the men and women who uphold the law are all calculating abusers of power who target certain groups of people.  They point to individual occurrences or past experiences to support their view.  They in turn believe that it is suitable to judge people based on their profession.  They reason that two people are the same because of the uniform they wear.  Protesters feel that there are no exceptions, and each of the 900,000 Police Officers protecting the people of the United States is no better than the criminals they fight.

Due to social media, we live in a nation where their negative message is instantly spread and can lead to the systematic judgement of an entire demographic.  Too many members of our society think that burning American flags, vandalizing and looting structures, or chanting for and applauding the murder of Police Officers are appropriate ways to exercise their freedom of speech.

Whoever disagrees with their agenda is scorned and labeled.  The endgame seems to be when a person who serves others by wearing a badge and a gun finds himself an outcast and pariah in his own community.

The anti-cop rhetoric is gaining speed and rapidly growing uncontrollable.  Of the twenty-one Police Officers who lost their lives in November of 2016, thirteen were intentionally killed by another person.  That number might be easy to disregard, and many will shake it off and interject that law enforcement has always been a dangerous profession.  They will say that those cops went after the criminals who killed them knowing the risk.

What is alarming is the fact that seven of the thirteen Officers who lost their lives were killed in ambush.  They were not attempting to apprehend a suspect or involved in a fierce gun battle.  All seven were unarmed and unsuspecting.  They were sitting in patrol cars or knocking on doors.  The seven Officers were gunned down due to the uniform that they wore.

There are too few Americans who appreciate the sacrifice of those who wear blue.  Unusual hours, low pay, and a public that takes them for granted is just another day on the job for the lawman in 2016.  And no matter how many store and restaurant employees deny to serve them, regardless if their homes and possessions are vandalized, even if their families are targeted with threatening letters, Police Officers are still present in American communities.  900,000 men and women understood what they signed up for when they chose the life of a peacekeeper.

Their reality is that they serve and protect a nation in which they are undervalued.  But there are no fewer patrol cars on the streets and highways of the United States.  Regardless of how many hateful comments they read on social media and no matter how many people denounce them, Cops get up in the morning and go to work.

Anyone can hate Cops, anyone can call them pigs, anyone can scream in their faces during protests.  By this point verbal abuse and receiving glares from their fellow citizens is part of the job description.  The almost amusing thing is that the instant a cop-hater needs help, the moment that 911 is dialed, a Police Officer will respond.  A Police Officer, the so-called criminal who hides behind a badge, will arrive to help anyone, anywhere with a simple goal: to protect and serve.

It takes a special person to care so much for someone who cares so little.  Tremendous strength and integrity is required to put oneself in harm’s way for a complete stranger.

In order for this country to heal we must begin to look at each other as Americans and drop the “us against them” attitude that is common in so many people and places worldwide.  This country is accustomed to civil unrest, but the sacrifices of the men and women who gave their lives for the freedom that the United States promises will have been in vain if we continue choosing to judge people by the group without looking at the individual.  This goes both ways, and the divide that has torn through our nation this year might finally be patched with a sense of citizenship and understanding.

So, yes.  Blue Lives Matter.  Black Lives Matter.  American Lives Matter.

Statistics from Officer Down Memorial Page: http://www.odmp.org/

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