Saturday, May 25, 2013

Memorial Day

It is on days like this where a fellow officer is buried that my emotions are full. Though I did not personally know Officer Daryl Raetz, He was a brother officer, a shipmate who served in the Navy and husband and father. Forever bonded as brothers wearing the badge and shipmates serving the country we love in the Navy, together we stood the line between good and evil. For Daryl Raetz his watch ended May 19, 2013 when he was murdered by a hit and run driver. A tragic end to a bright and productive life who sought to do go in the world, but more than seeking to do good, He did good and died doing so. 

The Friday before his death I was at the Phoenix Police Academy helping out with the FBI Negotiator School. I was assigned to help with the students going through the evaluation over in the “Tac Village”. I have been there several times on different training events and I always stop to take pause before I enter the village. You see after getting searched and any live weapons removed (it's strictly a simunitions training environment) you walk around the corner and on the wall leading into the village is the names of every Phoenix PD Officer killed in the line of duty. As I was stopped reading each name a fellow officer noticed what I was doing and walked up and joined me in reading the names and quietly whispered “Too many names on that damn wall”. I quietly responded “Agreed”. Neither of us knew it would be less than 48 hours before another name would be added. We both knew and all who wear the badge know that it’s only a matter of time before another name gets added. There are thousands of similar walls around the US and the world. Each and every name has a family that misses them. 

In his case the suspect was apprehended. He was an undocumented immigrant. I was chastised by a friend for using the term illegal alien. The suspect had been previously deported for criminal activity such as DUI and furnishing alcohol to minors among other offenses. When he was arrested with the blood of Officer Raetz still covering his vehicle he was arrested for cocaine possession. My friend that chastised me for using the term Illegal alien and said itshould be reserved for criminals who do more than enter the country illegally. Well if the shoe fits…. Immigration reform is something we hear about in Arizona but nearly half of our officers are killed by them. Yet they represent a much smaller segment of the population. Those who live in other states just do not know what it is that we deal with in Arizona. Questions will be asked, answers to difficult questions will need to be answered. Borders need to be secured like they are in Texas and California. (you may think they are not, but look at the seizures in those states compared to AZ) 

A tragic week for those of us in the valley of the sun, In addition to the loss of Officer Raetz, Phoenix Fire lost Firefighter Brad Harper in a tragic accident. The FBI lost two HRT members in a training event, the week before Arizona DPS lost a state trooper and in London a member of the 2nd Battalion Royal Regiment of Fusiliers Lee Rigby a veteran of Afghanistan. In last few weeks dozens of officers and servicemen serving around the world have lost their lives. This is nothing new. But this memorial day, enjoy your family and friends. Enjoy your barbeques and get togethers. Just take a quiet moment and think of the get togethers and barbeques that are subdued by the absence of a family member or friend who lost their life standing watch on that line between good and evil.


  1. Thank you.
    You and your brothers are owed a lot by so many and a few words don't seem enough but again thank you.

  2. So so sorry for your losses. Thank you for risking your live everyday to save others, whether they appreciate it or not. Know that you are appreciated much. (I appreciate police officers, paramedics, fire-fighters and other first responders very very much and hope to join the department of heroes soon!) Without you, our world would be in chaos. So, thank you so much and keep up your everlasting bravery.

    “My own heroes are the dreamers, those men and women who tried to make the world a better place than when they found it, whether in small ways or great ones. Some succeeded, some failed, most had mixed results... but it is the effort that's heroic, as I see it. Win or lose, I admire those who fight the good fight.”
    ― George R.R. Martin