Sometimes death reaches far without any boundaries or state lines.
It is a somber feeling to be in the midst of a police funeral whether it was an officer you knew, worked with, or just wore the same color of uniform as you did but maybe served in a different town, county, or state.
Any law enforcement officer can tell you we didn't and don't like police funerals but of course, we will all stand up next to each other from near and far to support a department and community.
Maybe the death was natural, an illness, a suicide, or a duty related death. It doesn't matter. At that time, everyone grieves together as a united front. The community mourns the loss. In fact, it goes beyond that.
Let's take Officer Kerrie Orozco, for example. Why? Because it is an officer slaying being felt differently across state lines, and let me tell you why I believe this. Why? Because it's my blog and I say so and no one can stop me. ( A little Fargo humor in all this seriousness which I could cut with a knife. It's heavy in here right now. Whew. Like humidity, but different.)
So what does it mean?
When an officer is slain, I think it hits all of us in the guts and that if people have lost respect for law enforcement, what is next? Is it me? Is it you? That's the general take which initially might go through everyone's mind at one time or another.
Officers are the barrier between law and disorder for their communities and once they have fallen, it takes a piece of us...far and wide. It doesn't matter if you knew the person. Kerrie Orozco's death is different.
I know several females I used to serve with have told me their mothers called them after this tragic incident. Mine was glad I am no longer on the force. The War on Cops is hitting the United States below the belt.
What makes Kerrie Orozco's death reach farther and wider than any other officer in the United States?
Maybe you have your own thoughts. I have mine. I believe it is because of her story and the fact she was a woman. No matter how equal we all think the world is between men and women, there is still some unwritten rule about women and children being killed. They are a protected class. Her story was one of the saddest which touched our hearts knowing her newborn child would never know her mother. She was exemplary in her service just like those men whom have fallen before her. She was involved in her community.
However, she was the first woman officer slain in the line of duty in the city of Omaha and the first officer in 10 years. Bam. It was a like hitting a wall and the city felt it. I felt it and I am an outsider.
I have not heard such finer words spoken of an officer by her chief, "I can't think of a better representative of our profession than Kerrie Orozco," Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer said at the service, "She got people to look past the fact that she was a police officer. I see her legacy as that of breaking down barriers."
There was a sea of blue and thousands of people who never knew her attending to give their respects. Citizens blocked the Westboro church. Two of my friends live in Omaha and were hit hard by the loss. They didn't know her, but they felt it was a part of their community lost and the situation so tragic it tugged at them to attend.
A week later, two more of my friends are still saddened by the incident and bring it up in breakfast conversation.
I had an opportunity to talk to some OPD officers who still wore black bands while in uniform. It is much different from losing an officer to an illness whether sudden or lengthy. Although both losses are great, slain officers leave an uneasy feeling in all citizens.
If there is to be a final postscript, let it be that the officer served well to an extraordinary level and with pride and honor. Doesn't everyone want to be remembered as the one above and beyond?
The OPD is still taking donations for her family...
Regardless of gender, all police lives matter. I know this. I read their stories. It pings my heart when a law enforcement officer has fallen. Just expressing an observation or my opinion or rambling...whichever take you see. Good, bad, or indifferent, it is what it is.
RIP Kerrie Orozco.
Ronald Reagan said, "Evil is powerless if the good are unafraid." A cop has a calling. It's not about the money. It's not about the daily risks you take or dancing with the devil. It's about helping people and the sacrificing of oneself for others. It's a calling. I truly believe this.