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Doug  Wyllie

Doug Wyllie

Doug Wyllie has authored more than 1,000 articles and tactical tips aimed at ensuring that police officers are safer and more successful on the streets. Doug is a Western Publishing Association “Maggie Award” winner for Best Regularly Featured Digital Edition Column. He is a member of International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA), an Associate Member of the California Peace Officers’ Association (CPOA), and a member of the Public Safety Writers Association (PSWA).

Lynne Doucette

Lynne Doucette

Lt. Lynne D. Doucette is a patrol supervisor and defensive tactics trainer with the Brunswick (Maine) PD. Prior to being the first female promoted at BPD, she worked as an undercover detective assigned to the state narcotics task force.

Patricia Teinert

Patricia Teinert

Patricia A. Teinert has been a Texas peace officer since 1984. She has served as a patrol officer, investigator, and member of a juvenile gang and narcotics task force. She is currently a patrol officer with Katy ISD Police Department.
Women in Law Enforcement

Police Week: All of Our Blood Runs Blue

Family takes on a wider meaning when an officer visits the Law Enforcement Officers Memorial during Police Week.

May 18, 2012  |  by Lori Connelly - Also by this author

The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in D.C. Photo: Lori M. Connelly
The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in D.C. Photo: Lori M. Connelly

As a recruit you are trained to be aware that during a shooting your sense of hearing is greatly diminished or lost and time feels like slow motion. Surroundings take on a surreal appearance. Distances may appear nearer or farther away depending on your perception of ability to control the situation.

Unlike television or movies where shoot-outs last minutes, in the real world the average gunfight involving law enforcement lasts only seconds. In the horrible events where officers have been lost to shootings, car accidents, or any of the other tragedies which have claimed their lives, those seconds don't end so quickly for those of us left behind. Actually they go on and on. You can feel it. Time becomes palpable. The collective pain is enormous. It doesn’t actually get better. It just gets crowded out by stuff in everyday life that seems to push it out of the way for a while.

I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know. We need to remember, though. Our job isn't like working in a bank. We need to remember our brothers and sisters who have died doing this. We need to remember that pain doesn't have a timeline. It isn't like playing a game with a definitive start and finish. Life has that luxury, but grief does not.

This past week in Washington D.C. during Police Week it is estimated that a record of over 22,000 people attended ceremonies at the Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. The names of the law enforcement officers honored on the two walls total 19,660 with another 300 to be added. The candlelight vigil starting off the week had a roll call for all of the officers lost during 2011. It’s grim. It hurts like nothing else, and if you can make it through it without crying I don't think you have a heart or guts. It takes a real man or woman to understand what the hell these families are going through.

I live in D.C. now and I regularly go to the memorial and follow what is happening with the progress on the museum. It is always a special place, but this week it was different. This week I saw a lot of my "family" I didn't even know. We can spot each other. It's the way we walk. It's the way we look at people to scan them and don't turn our backs to anyone except family. It's the way we linger at specific names on the wall and touch them after taking the best possible rubbing from it we could get to send to another squad mate back home. We trace our fingers over the letters, like that would somehow make the distance between the one we lost less. It’s the way we look for the wreaths to honor our fallen brothers and sisters and "get it" when we see their moms and dads there.

We get it, too, when we see the wife with children holding onto her hands as they look at the wall after taping "I love you Daddy" notes beneath his name. And more and more it's men coming to honor the female officers who have been lost in the line of duty.

Some people think female officers are more emotional than male officers. This may be so. I don't care. This week I don't think it mattered. All of our blood runs blue. Just like in a shooting, time felt like slow motion and the surroundings certainly had a surreal appearance. The biggest difference though was the sound. There really was a lot of silence. When the words came, we really listened. We really heard. I don’t think one single "I love you," or "I miss you," wasn't caught by someone.

Lori M. Connelly is a retired officer from a large police department in the Southwestern part of the United States who now lives in the D.C. area.

Related Articles:

Police Week 2012: Candlelight Vigil

Police Week Vigil Honors Sacrifice of Fallen Officers

Police Unity Tour Arrives at the National LEO Memorial

Comments (4)

Displaying 1 - 4 of 4

Joe @ 5/18/2012 5:32 PM

I support increased military training and equipping of our nation's police officers. Police are on the front line, always the point person, with little support such as a Forward Observer, Intelligence, Armor, Heavy Weapons. America is at war with felons who commit the most despicable, heinous crimes. Municipal leaders have not grasped the vision necessary to put police on a more equal footing with these sociopathic individuals. Military tactics and training for our nation's Police Officers is necessary.

Jim A @ 5/22/2012 9:49 PM

Losing an officer is hard. 26 years ago, I replaced one lost in a collision with a DUI suspect. Mike's McNab's car caught on fire and the fire department responding to the collision had an important member - MIke's father, Dick. I remember the story in the paper and on the news and I cried, even though I had never met the guy and was not in law enforcement at the time. Afterwards, I worked with Dick (who was a reserve officer) and knew Mike's grandmother. The haunting feeling of replacing a fallen officer never goes away. So do not create this haunting feeling for a person that replaces YOU. Retire at a ripe old age, but before you do, take the time to teach the new person before you leave. Tell him your funniest stories - and a few of your scariest. Then ride off into the sunset.

Being an officer is hard. Military targets are often people that look differently than we do and wear different clothing. They live in different countries. But an officer goes to war with his own people - and sometimes his own friends or neighbors. I say yes to military tactics. Develop a switch to turn it on quickly, however we cannot be so military that we lose what makes us real and reachable.

Stay aware. Be safe. Enjoy your kids and grand kids. And make sure others are around to do the same.

Jim A

Brian Greene @ 5/23/2012 2:00 PM

All of our blood runs blue. All of the blood of the innocent people we have collectively murdered runs red and plentiful over our hands and into the streets.

Greg @ 5/24/2012 3:59 AM

HUH? The comments sure don't match up with the story...especially all the innocents blood "collectively murdered"

I don't like the militarization of the police work nowadays. We're not occupying troops and if you treat the average citizen that way, you will not be getting their support when you most need it.

Way too many SWAT teams and special weapons, way too many ninja-wanna-be's with bad attitudes vs. good working officers not wearing all black with face masks.

Oh well, remember the military is taught the "enemy" is a dysfunctional element and less than human (hence all the epithets for foreign troops: rag-heads, gooks, krauts, bluebellies etc.) give someone a label you can deal with them more easily as an enemy combatant...if you look at civilians as the enemy the same way the military is re-socialized to do, it changes how you police and deal with the world.

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