The Numbers Tell The Story. 10-4?
After falling to their lowest level in nearly five decades in 2008, line-of-duty deaths among U.S. law enforcement officers rose 20 percent during the first six months of 2009.
The headline of http://www.WXII12.com reads, “For the spouses of local law enforcement officers, news of Sgt. Mickey Hutchens death Monday evening hit especially close to home.” That’s very true. It’s one of those things that’s hard to explain, but once you become the spouse or significant other of a law enforcement officer these stories tend to stand out. Every time I hear one of these stories I cringe. Even before Jeremy became a cop, his dad was Chief of Police and these stories stood out to me. This one hit way too close to home though. I grew up north-west of Lexington, NC, only about five or ten miles outside of Winston-Salem. When I heard about this story last week I instantly called Jeremy. He and I met while we both working in Winston-Salem, just off Silas Creek and Peters Creek Parkways. This incident happened on Peters Creek, not far from where we met.
This evening when I read that Sgt. Hutchens had died of his injuries it really hit home. It took weeks for me to not be nervous every time Jeremy would go to work. His mom finally gave me the advice that I had to trust that he had been trained correctly and that he knew how to stay safe. The problem isn’t with Jeremy’s training. The problem is with the people on the streets carrying guns. You can argue all you want to me that guns save lives. That’s just BS if you ask me. If there were no guns, or significantly less guns, THAT would save lives. Just look at almost every other advanced nation on earth. Strict gun laws save lives. Allowing anyone who wants to carry a gun or three, that’s just stupid. Call me a liberal, call me what you want, I really don’t care. Look at the statistics and you will see the cold hard facts. Of course the same applies to universal health care, gays in the military, global warming and multiple other things, yet American’s don’t seem to get these facts.
What happened to Sgt. Hutchens happens to far too many good law enforcement officers each year. As of October 13th, 96 officers have been killed in the line of duty. 38 of those officers were killed by gunfire, 12% more than were killed by gunfire in all of 2008. North Carolina ranks 4th in the US for officers killed in the line of duty. On average, one law enforcement officer is killed somewhere in America every 53 hours. The first known line-of-duty death occurred in 1792, when New York’s Deputy Sheriff Isaac Smith was shot and killed. Since then, over 18,700 officers have died while performing their duties. New York City has lost more officers than any other department, with 692 deaths. As of May 5th, 2009 the state with the highest number of police deaths is Texas, with 1,504. Vermont has the fewest deaths, with 19. South Carolina 283 and North Carolina 417.
For more information and to make a tax deductable contribution to help families of fallen officers visit The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund’s website at http://www.nleomf.com
If you are in the Winston-Salem area, Sgt. Hutchens’ funeral is scheduled for Friday at 2 p.m. at Wait Chapel on the campus of Wake Forest University. Members of the public will be able to pay their respects from 2-5 p.m. on Thursday.