Cops Die Doing What’s Right

Cops die doing what’s right!

“Well Captain Obvious,” you ask, “do you have any other clairvoyant thoughts?”

Track with me and you be the judge.

Police officers provide light in dark corners of our communities. We strive to bring safety to dangerous places, security to the insecure, and stability to that which is unstable.

And oftentimes we suffer negative consequences even while doing what is right.

In Memoriams Are Inevitable

Since Law Enforcement Today covers every line of duty death, I frequently have these thoughts. Yesterday was no different when editing and publishing the In Memoriam articles for Lt. H. Jay Cullen and Trooper Berke Bates. Each man died as their police airship apparently malfunctioned and crashed Saturday in Virginia.

Uriah Died Doing What’s Right

Many people are aware of the biblical account of King David and Bathsheba. In a nutshell, the king had an affair with the beautiful woman. As a result, she became pregnant while her husband, Uriah, was off at war.

When David discovered the pregnancy, he brought Uriah home and encouraged him to spend intimate time with his wife. His motivation was to cover up his trespass. But Uriah did what was right!

As a loyal servant to the king and respect for colleagues fighting a battle, Uriah refused to relax in the privacy of his home with his wife. Rather, he slept in the servant quarters of the king. As a result, King David’s plan backfired.

Therefore, he sent Uriah back to the front lines. However, it was not simply to fight, but to be slaughtered. Once Uriah returned to battle, the king manipulated circumstances so his trusted servant was killed in combat.

So, Uriah did what was right, yet he suffered death. While this story is not intended to reveal the awful, life changing consequences of King David, and there were many, it is to remain focused on Uriah.

The warrior did what was right, yet he perished doing so. Hopefully our officers will not be set up for death like Uriah. But nevertheless, they die “doing what is right.”

Don’t Read Between the Lines

Don’t read something between the lines that is not there. That is not my style. I’m not insinuating that Cullen and Bates death are similar to Uriah. They are not. Yet their casualties just happened to be the most recent line of duty deaths when I had this simple thought; that cops are killed when doing the right thing. It’s the nature of the business.

Facing Peril Requires Superior Character

Moreover, people who choose a career in law enforcement should do so with their eyes wide open. There is clearly an assumed risk when pinning the badge on your chest. If you’re unwilling to face peril, select another line of work.

The simple point I’d like to make is that Uriah was a man of superior character. He honored his Lord by serving the king, even though David did not have his best interests at heart. And sadly, King David didn’t understand the consequences of his evil ambition until his trusted mentor, Nathan, confronted him. The domino effect and grief caused by his actions would remain for generations.

While I don’t want to park my thoughts on gloom, the reality is that at times, police officers suffer consequences from doing the right thing, just like Uriah. Moreover, King David wasn’t the last leader that allowed one of his trusted followers to get ambushed.

Reflection When Cops Die

I attended a church service shortly after preparing the aforementioned articles regarding Lt. Cullen and Trooper Bates. While participating in communion, I was reflective. As such, I simply gave thanks to God for men and women willing to take light to dark places. I offered gratitude for cops who suffered when doing what’s right. Finally, I prayed that police officers would have the wisdom of Nathan, and boldly challenge people in authority willing to compromise their integrity for the sake of expediency, even if that means challenging the king.

Final Thoughts

Please do not take anything from this article and attribute it to leadership in Virginia. Particularly when there is new information asking questions about a “stand down” order. There is no latent undertone directed at them. I have no reason to doubt the professionalism of their organization. I wasn’t there, so I am not interjecting my opinion on the topic. This article just happened to be written following the tragic deaths of Cullen and Bates. But you could replace their names with any officers that have suffered a line of duty death.

Be safe!

Jim McNeff, editor-in-chief, Law Enforcement Today

(Photo: 2015 file photo courtesy Tech. Sgt. Dan Heaton)

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