A law enforcement officer is killed in the line of duty every 54 hours, on average, in America according to the National Law Enforcement Memorial. These fallen officers were wives, husbands, fathers, mothers … somebody’s loved one. Cops are the ultimate public servant. They work cheap, they show up when called and they get the job done. Our police are not perfect but overwhelmingly they serve us quite well.

May 15 is Police Memorial Day and on May 13 the Annual Candlelight Vigil was held at the Law Enforcement Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C. where the names of officers who gave their all during the last year were added to the wall. My friend and former boss Payson Police Chief David N. Wilson’s name is on the wall; he was gunned down on September 11, 1992 while trying to help an 82-year-old mentally ill man.

Police work is dangerous, it always has been. My great-grandfather was shot and killed in the line of duty in 1923. I would tell my officers if you get killed in the line of duty your spouse is going to get a nice check and will receive a police pension but nobody will raise your child the same way that you would have. In 1999 Payson Police Officer Alan Dyer survived being shot twice while protecting Walmart shoppers from an armed and dangerous wanted felon. If you ask Alan he would tell you that he was just doing his job.

The anti-police rhetoric that is being spouted by politicians and the talking heads on TV is based on a false premise. The facts, the numbers, the studies, all of it shows that American police do an outstanding job. They will literally do their best to protect you, even if it cost them their lives, and you ought not to forget that.

Gordon H. Gartner, Payson

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