Photo Courtesy: Nikki Salgot
Officer fatalities are hard to contemplate, especially this time of year. The rise in officer-involved shootings in general and injured and dead officers in particular, call us to examine the soul care of those directly affected.
Of the many servants taken from us entirely too soon in recent times, I reflect today on Sergeant Collin Rose and the fiancée who supported his life and work, Nikki Salgot. I personally wish to thank Ms. Salgot for loving and encouraging Sgt. Rose in his journey. Families are left with much to bear not just in times of crisis and death, but every time an officer leaves home for work. Rose was an officer with the Wayne State University Police Department in Detroit. He was shot and killed after confronting a suspect on November 22, 2016. Among other accomplishments, Rose was nearing completion of his master’s degree. The oath Rose took the day he was sworn is a symbol of the goodness that any one of us, as Americans, mirror on our better days. I was a cop and was once married to one; I get it.
Nikki Salgot represents the faithfulness and stewardship all significant others embody as they devotedly carry their officer in heart and mind as they go about the business of living their lives as best they can. Salgot’s wedding photographs, which demonstrate the depth of Salgot’s soul, present us with a difficult but necessary question: How do we best address the matters of soul and spirit when a fallen officer leaves us? I am blown away by Salgot’s personal response to this question. Her courage and dignity so obvious in the photos are a lesson for us all. We do what “our” officer would want us to do: we live with integrity and resolve. We refuse, as best we can (and as she herself noted) to be defined by the pain and sorrow.
For officers (including our four-legged comrades with whom Rose was intimately familiar due to his professional partnerships), families, community members, and yes—offenders—there is a calling of sorts that guides us to be present for those who grieve this season. The holidays are an especially difficult time to face or relive the unbearable loss of loved ones. Hopefully, we are steered toward, as opposed to away from, one another. Moreover, in a climate of societal discord, apathy, and even hatred toward law enforcement, we are called to honor. We’re called to honor the fallen, their families, and those who continue to enforce the law with integrity and compassion.
During this sacred season that brings us to the end of another year, let us peacefully remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice, and may we care for the souls of those who remain behind and bear witness.
Rev. Bryan Jackson is an author and former police officer. His forthcoming memoir, Called Yet Again, is set to be released in 2018. His blog, “Yona Ambles,” is published regularly. Bryan holds a master of theological studies degree, gained two years of clinical pastoral education in two different Level 1 trauma centers, and has studied family systems theory at the Bowen Center for the Study of the Family in Washington, DC. He has served in healthcare chaplaincy, the pastorate, and fee-based pastoral counseling. He is a volunteer chaplain with the King County Public Health Reserve Corps, and is a member of the Mt. Hood Cherokees, Portland, OR. Visit him online at www.cherokeepenandsword.com (Bryan D. Jackson).