“With My Life….If Need Be”
That is the saying of the “Oath of Office” I took over two decades ago. I was 22 years old and quite frankly did not have a clue what that really meant.
Many of you reading this took a similar oath and maybe you were like me. You weren’t sure what it meant or what sacrifice truly was.
It is truly what makes the law enforcement profession so incredible. Yes at times it seems tough. The media, political pundits and even your own friends call into question why you do what you do and I often wonder how we can even find young men and women to do this job and then I think about those words.
“With My Life….If Need Be”
We have a segment of society that has risen up to that challenge which bears on each of us behind the badge.
That was proven to me early in my career when I was just a few blocks away when Tulsa Police K9 Officer Dick Hobson and Steve Downie went into a dark alley after a robbery suspect. Shots rang out and Dick Hobson gave the ultimate sacrifice. Other officers entered that alley with bullets flying without hesitating.
Where Do We Find These Men and Women?
Just a few years ago I had the honor of meeting and interviewing the IACP 2011 Officer of the Year Michael Neal, who drove his vehicle into the gunfire of two cowards that had already killed two West Memphis (AR) Police Officers.
The Drive of Sacrifice
If we needed a reminder of what sacrifice means then you have to look no further than this week. It is believed that Hillsborough County Deputy John Kotfila Jr. intentionnaly placed his vehicle in the path of a speeding car going the wrong way on an expressway. Witnesses saw Deputy Kotfila drive around a potential victims car, placing it in the path of the suspect. He lost his life for his actions.
Then, just a few days ago, Prince George County Detective Jacai Colson responded to police headquarters when three suspects were firing randomly at cars and officers. Without hesitation he drove his unmarked vehicle, in plain clothes without a ballistic vest into the scene and lost his life for his actions.
Law enforcement is different today. Many are leaving the profession and others are glad they will be soon but it doesn’t matter how “politically correct” it gets or how silly the leadership acts, we will always have men and women that are willing to sacrifice it all for the greatest job on the planet. I shake my head sometimes and I wonder how that is.
In a world that promotes weakness and victims, we should all be thankful for what we have been shown this week. There are true heroes in our communities that are willing to give it all up for others and that is what “With My Life….If Need Be” really means.
Travis Yates is a writer and editor at Law Officer. An ILEETA Trainer of the Year, his Seminars in Risk Management & Officer Safety have been taught across the United States & Canada. Major Yates is a current Doctoral Student in Strategic Leadership and is a graduate of the FBI National Academy. He is the Director of Training for Law Officer (www.lawofficer.com) and the Founder of the Courageous Leadership Institute (www.courageousleader.org), providing leadership consulting and training to law enforcement around the world.