Monthly Archives: September 2011

Chaplain: Murder on Oak Ridge Dr.

Normally I do not re-post articles, but I send this out to all my LEO and fire friends. Know when to ask for help and ASK. This article comes from, so it is written for the police perspective. But trauma can happen to any of us. When it does, do you know what to do or who to talk to?

Chaplain: Murder on Oak Ridge Dr.
by Fr. John Harth
Updated: March 25, 2011

She was elderly and lived alone. There were no signs of forced entry; it is presumed that she knew her killer.

The arriving officer called in detectives. As the hour grew later, he asked if the Lieutenant was going to call a chaplain. The “ell tee” allowed as how there was no need, as no family was local. The officer replied, “What about me?”

This has been a rare situation over 23 years of chaplaincy: an on-scene officer requesting a chaplain through someone else. Some consider asking for help in any form a sign of weakness. Time has shown that those who suppress their feelings eventually have them come back to haunt them. It is not unusual for another incident to trigger thoughts of a scene or case from days gone by that the individual thought long gone, but which has lingered in their memory.

Larger departments and agencies have come around to offering employee assistance programs, some of which offer peer support, others assisting in getting the counseling some folks need to work through critical incidents. Smaller towns may benefit from considering ways to less officially offer their personnel a listening ear.

The officer I mentioned earlier got word to me the next day. We visited the scene. He described what happened and what was going through his mind. He didn’t need counseling; he just wanted someone to talk with. His career wasn’t damaged, he made promotions; he moved up the ladder. He knew when to ask for help.

Many of us try to go it alone. We think we can manage our lives on our own, that we don’t need anyone else, that others will think less of us if we seek assistance with our troubles. More often than not, sometime, some way, burying stressors comes back to bite us when, and in places, we don’t want to be bit.

When citizens need help, they call a cop. When cops need help, they can call a chaplain. Yours wouldn’t mind hearing from you.

Recent discoveries of local officers who gave their lives in the line of duty.

“The life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living.” Cicero

As I checked ODMP today, I noticed that two kentucky officers were recently discovered.

Patrolman Leonard J. Garrison of the Paris Police Department was killed on Monday, March 30, 1964.

May he continue to rest in peace.

Special Deputy David George Treadway of the Menifee County Sheriff’s Office was killed Sunday, December 10, 1922.

Prior to today, I only knew of four officers killed in my home county. Now there are 5. And while the even happened 89 years ago, there was still that sinking feeling in my stomach. A sense of loss. I also wonder how many officers out there have died and no one remembers. How may sacrificed all they had to protect my family that now seems forgotten by history.

Deputy Treadway, you will never be forgotten again. Ever.

Line of Duty deaths from history recently honored by ODMP.

The Officer Down Memorial Pages teamed up with researchers from across the county tirelessly look for officers who were killed in the line of duty and not honored at the National and sometimes state level. So when someone is found and verified, they are posted on the Recent Historical Additions page.

Thes officer’s dedication to duty, even in the face of danger, gives them honor, even today, even those gone over 100 years ago. Continue to rest in peace, Kentucky heroes.

Christian County Sheriff's Office, Kentucky

Deputy Sheriff Robert H. Coffey
Christian County Sheriff’s Office, KY
EOW: Saturday, October 26, 1901
Cause of Death: Gunfire

Green County Sheriff's Office, Kentucky

Deputy Sheriff Marhall E. Henley
Green County Sheriff’s Office, KY
EOW: Saturday, July 7, 1883
Cause of Death: Gunfire

Policeman James C. Coldiron
Lynch Police Department, KY
EOW: Friday, July 15, 1921
Cause of Death: Gunfire
Chief of Police William R. Holcomb
Lynch Police Department, KY
EOW: Friday, July 15, 1921
Cause of Death: Gunfire

Knott County Sheriff's Department, Kentucky

Deputy Sheriff Adam Smith
Knott County Sheriff’s Department, KY
EOW: Thursday, April 11, 1935
Cause of Death: Gunfire

Harlan County Police Department, Kentucky

Patrolman Melvin Gregory
Harlan County Police Department, KY
EOW: Tuesday, August 26, 1924
Cause of Death: Gunfire

Harlan County Sheriff's Department, Kentucky

Deputy Sheriff Jesse Peters
Harlan County Sheriff’s Department, KY
EOW: Saturday, June 30, 1923
Cause of Death: Gunfire

Bell County Sheriff's Department, Kentucky

Deputy Sheriff Jim Collins
Bell County Sheriff’s Department, KY
EOW: Wednesday, July 4, 1923
Cause of Death: Gunfire

Pike County Constable's Office, Kentucky

Deputy Constable Cline Tackett
Pike County Constable’s Office, KY
EOW: Sunday, June 16, 1935
Cause of Death: Gunfire

Knox County Constable's Office, Kentucky

Constable Brock Sizemore
Knox County Constable’s Office, KY
EOW: Tuesday, November 3, 1936
Cause of Death: Gunfire

Slaughtersville Marshal's Office, Kentucky

Deputy Marshal Ren Ashby
Slaughtersville Marshal’s Office, KY
EOW: Thursday, December 22, 1898
Cause of Death: Gunfire

Louisville and Nashville Railroad Police Department, Railroad Police

Detective Green Rose
Louisville and Nashville Railroad Police Department, RR
EOW: Wednesday, March 29, 1911
Cause of Death: Gunfire

2 Off-Duty Police Officers killed in Car Accidents this weekend

Two officers were killed in off-duty accidents. Both are still under investigation but it appears that one was the fault of a drunk driver, and the other was now wearing his seat belt.

To all my friends and readers out there, I can not stress enough the importance of wearing your seat belt. Not just during the Click-It or Ticket campaign, but every time you are in a car.

Also, always be alert while you are driving. If you notice someone weaving or crossing the yellow line, choose safety and pull off. If you see someone driving in an unsafe manner, get to a safe place.

Officer Kevin Jessup – End of Watch(DATE)

Rest in peace Officer Kevin Jessup. The NYPD is in my prayers.

Deputy Matthew Swain – End of Watch:9/11/2011

Rest in peace Deputy Matthew Swain. The Grant County Sheriff’s Office is in my prayers.

September 11th – 10 years later.

There are numerous thoughts swirling through my mind as I write this. It’s been ten years since the day. I was working at Lexis-Nexis at the time. We watched it all from our training room. Horror, fear, panic, sadness, and grief unexplainable…all at once. That evening I spent time with a wonderful woman who would later become my sweet wife.

People I call friends today would go to Ground Zero and help with the search and clean up. Ohio Task Force One went on their first mission. Among my friends, Chief Scott Hall was there. I knew none of those fine heroes then, but I have the privilege of knowing some of them today.

I remember being moved to tears by other pictures, at the time not even knowing why. People cheering and saluting the NYPD and FDNY as they drove by. The image of the exhausted firefighter surrounded by angels (and the snow version that winter). Those and so many others moved me. In 2008, I would figure out why.

In 2008, during one of the moments of silence, there was one for the last firefighter found alive. At that moment, a chain of events occurred that changed my life, and continues to do so even to this day. During that moment, a gratitude for our law enforcement and fire crews really “came to life” so to speak. That evening I called the Huber Heights Police and asked the dispatcher if she could let the officers and fire fighters know my appreciation for them. I was informed that they had not had that request in over 14 years. So that’s when I decided that I would reach as many as I could and let them know they are cared about. Since then I’ve talked (in person and via email) to officer sand firefighters from all over the country.

Today I read the story of Father Mychal Judge, the Chaplain of the New York Fire Department. He actually entered the towers that morning. Why? Because his guys were in there. And when commanders gave orders to evacuate the building, he refused to abandon the hundreds of firefighters still trapped inside saying, “My work here is not finished.”

“Fidelis Ad Mortem” – “Faithful Unto Death”. That’s what he was. Faithful unto death. One day I will get that badge with the word “Chaplain” on it. That’s where I’m headed. And when I do, I hope to be as faithful to “my guys” as he was to his. Fidelis Ad Mortem.

Off-Duty accidents claim the lives of two officers.

Two officers died due to off-duty accidents. I usually honor primarily “line of Duty” deaths since there are dedicated websites to get the information. But MCA System – Blue Alert notified me of these. Since it’s “how these men lived” that make them heroes, I choose to honor them here. Please also remember to “be safe out there”, even when off-duty. Wear a helmet.

Shawn McGibbons – End of Watch 8/9/2011 Rest in peace Officer McGibbons. The San Antonio Police Department is in my prayers.

Officer Jarrod Louis Stathers – End of Watch 9/8/2011
Rest in peace Kimberly Police Officer and Trussville firefighter Jarrod Louis Stathers. The Kimberly Police Department and the Trussville Fire Department is in my prayers.

The 4th Amendment & Deadly Force

There is a good article over on about use of “deadly force”. Here’s a snipped from Smith v. Freland:

“Under Graham, we must avoid substituting our personal notions of proper police procedure for the instantaneous decision of the officer at the scene. We must never allow the theoretical, sanitized world of our imagination to replace the dangerous and complex world that policemen face every day. What constitutes ‘reasonable’ action may seem quite different to someone facing a possible assailant than to someone analyzing the question at leisure.”

—excerpted from Smith v. Freland, 954 F2d 343, 347 (6th Cir. 1992)

So to my LEO friends out there, it’s a good read. If you are not familiar with, it has numerous training articles out there.

Do not construe this column as legal advice. Each police officer should consult with an attorney in their jurisdiction for legal advice on any specific issue.

Recent officer injuries

In the last few days, we have a few stories of officers who are seriously injured after being attacked by criminals.

Un-named Minnesota State Patrol officer was injured in a shooting along Interstate 94 in Oakdale.

Sgt. Norman Benjamin was shot near the intersection of Summer and Avon while responding to a robbery call at a restaurant just before one Saturday afternoon. Police are looking for a Maroon Nissan Sentra TN plate 449VYC driven by a black female with black male shooting suspect in back of car.

Auburndale, FL Officer Stacy Booth, 26, was walking up to the house when the suspect, Michael Wayne Lester, fired a shotgun blast through the door.

Attacks against officers are becoming more brazen. If you are an officer, always be prepared and wear your vest. If you are not an officer, pray for those who are. Also, on a more positive note, 3 other officers were shot at, but were not injured.

Deputies Eric Bryan and Steven Bodek of the Buckingham County Sheriff’s Office killed a suspect who fired on them. They awere uninjured.

In Montgomery County, KY the State police say 45-year-old Terry Pruitt hid under a bed when officers came in to serve a warrant, then got up and threatened one of their undercover agents. The un-named officer shot and killed the individual and was un-injured.

Officer involved shooting – NOT TODAY!

Dave Smith when he wrote Entering 2011 in a ‘conspiracy of safety’ for really began pushing this phrase : NOT TODAY.

We will continue to post articles, news, and videos to help you as our part of the conspiracy. You will actively think when you read or watch these posts, “What would I do?” mentally rehearsing YOU resolving this or that crisis successfully. On the street, think to yourself, “Not today, not on this shift, not on this call, not on this stop — I will not be caught unaware!”

So September 1, an officer in Eastern Kentucky was faced with an option: Shoot or be shot. He choose to shoot. Good. This officer gets to go home tonight, safe. Now the bad guys know that the Kentucky State Police aren’t to be messed with.

If you would like, you can try to arm-chair quarterback this one. But there are a couple of important facts that should be remembered.

1. This individual was hiding from the KSP, and chose to come out of hiding and point a gun at the officer.

2. The officer did not have time to research this man’s mental state, or determine if the gun was loaded, or get references from the neighbors that he was a “nice man”. In a split second he chose to eliminate the threat. “NOT TODAY.” “I will survive.” “I will go home tonight to my family.”

Kudos to this undercover officer. You made the right decision.

Ride Along Tips I’ve collected

As a citizen, I’ve been in ride alongs with 10 different departments. A lot depends on the officer, the department, and what is going on. I’ve got out of the vehicle on some traffic stops and walked up behind the officer. I’ve been in the house for cardiac arrest (let me say, that it’s not a “rush” seeing a dead body, and to see a grieving wife of 50 years fall apart when a husband’s heart won’t restart is heartbreaking). I’ve helped clarify what offence the driver committed. But I’ve been in a car for a few hours before a cop trusts me enough to open up.

Here are a few tips that seem to help me out. If you are a member of a police department and would like to use these for prospective riders, feel free.

1. Before you ride, ask about how the department wants you to dress. (Jeans or slacks, etc)

2. Don’t drink a lot of fluids before you go.

3. Ask questions, but don’t appear to be nosy.

4. Ask non-threatening questions to gauge their state of mind (How long you been with this dept, etc).

5. Some cops will tell you what they’ve seen, but as a rule I DON’T ask about worst calls, etc (some may be trying to forget).

6. When you stop at a gas station, restaurant, etc, go to the restroom. You may be on a call soon and not have an opportunity.

7. If you are not on an active call and you need to go, just ask. Cops are human too.

8. Keep your eyes open. A missing plate may seem minor, but it may lead to anything.

9. Know what to do if it goes wrong. This is a piece of advice one of my officers gave me. (Here are the lights, here is the radio, and our call # is….and pay attention to the protocol used when talking to dispatch)

10. Along the previous lines, if you don’t know ASK. It seems to let the officer know that you’re not in a bubble and that you are concerned that THEY go home safe too.

11. Always know where you are. If something goes wrong, YOU could be the difference between life and death.

12. Some have a meal routine, some do not. If they do, flow with it. Some only get 30 minutes, so keep that in mind.

13. While you are riding, you represent that officer, and that department. Don’t get into debates with anyone; be polite, courteous even if others are not.

14. While riding with one officer I was given an officer discount. If you are offered one, make sure they understand you are not an officer. DON’T ASK FOR ONE.