|Amarillo Officer Berry Joe McQuire|
After media attention, demonstrations, and the resulting outright assassination of police officers recently, one might think the much-publicized police shooting in Missouri and the death of a resisting suspect on the streets of New York have spawned an unprecedented attack on police. That, however, is not necessarily correct. A segment of American society has always viewed law enforcement as the symbol of repression by government. Officers have been assaulted, spit upon, called "pigs" or worse, and murdered since the inception of organized law enforcement in the U.S, yet little boys and girls still grow up wanting to be cops!
Peace officers’ willingness to risk their lives to perform the duties they swore to carry out never takes a break. Whether activist are demonstrating or civic clubs are bestowing honors on law enforcement, there are thousands of officers patrolling the streets while the rest of us sleep, some of them just seconds away from giving their lives for the values Americans have asked them to uphold.
Even Christmas Day is no exception to the danger inherent in the law enforcement profession. According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, a total of ninety-one officers have lost their lives in the line-of-duty on this, one of the most sacred of American holidays. At least fifty-four of those deaths were the result of violence perpetrated by some other person, most from gunfire, three from stabbing, two from assault.
|Fort Worth Officer Marvin Elton Wills|
Texas has suffered the most line-of-duty deaths. Eight Texas officers have lost their lives on Christmas, the first being Officer Absalom Kyle McCarty, a Denison, Texas police officer, who was shot and killed while attempting to arrest a man. The suspect fled and it is not known if he was ever arrested. Other Texas officers kill by gunfire on Christmas are Falls County Deputy Constable Tom H. Loftin (1894) Dallas police officer William McDuff (1896) Fort Worth police officer Marvin Elton Wills (1955) Tulia Assistant Police Chief Robert Henry Potter (1960) and Amarillo police officer Berry Joe McGuire (1980).
As the news media and demonstrators are sensationalizing anti-police sentiments, appealing to that segment of society, including the mentally unstable, the threat is even greater this holiday season. So in the words of Sergeant Bill Esterhaus of the 1980's television series, Hill Street Blues, Hey, let’s be careful out there!