Two nights ago (March 24, 2015) we had two police officer shot and killed in the US. One was killed out in San Jose, CA. The other was less than 40 miles from where I sit now, down in Fond Du Lac, WI. The officer killed here in Wisconsin is actually a state trooper.
The trooper was following a bank robbery suspect. That suspect decided to stop and engage the trooper in gunfire. The suspect was dead on scene, the trooper ended up succumbing to his wounds.
This trooper, Trevor Casper, had only been on the job a few months. It was only in December that he completed his academy time. His field training program had just come to an end and only recently did he start working solo.
For the last two nights I have not slept well. I have never met Trooper Casper. Yet now someone I do not know is someone I can’t stop thinking about. Thoughts that make sleep hard, but also thoughts that remind me of lessons that need to be talked about.
By the looks on the faces of my co-workers many of them also have not slept well. Also the fact late last night when I could not sleep I saw fellow day-shifters were on Facebook posting tidbits. I wake up every few hours, my teeshirt soaked in sweat. I know I had a nightmare, but for the life of me I can’t recall the details. Deep down I know it was about a bad call I was on once, or a fear of a worse call I pray I will never go on.
When ever people die in the line of duty it is tragic. When it is at a neighboring department it hits a tad close to home. What if it was not the neighboring department, what if it was mine? These thoughts kept me up… These thoughts fueled my dreams, my nightmares…
People always think of Wisconsin as filled with nice friendly farmer types. Fond Du Lac is a modest size city of about 40,000 people. Four years ago, almost to the day, the city of Fond Du Lac had multiple officers shot, with one killed during a sexual assault investigation.
Today I have been doing a lot of thinking. Some of that thinking made me realize other thoughts were keeping me up. I am not going to embarrass anyone I know, yet I know cops and Fire/EMS worker who have a “That will never happen here” mind set. I know cops who do not take some firearms and defensive tactics training seriously, because “I have never needed worry about it before”.
Sorry to say this but there are bad people and crazy people in any and every city. There are also normal people who are one bad day away from snapping in any given community. Meaning no matter how nice, small, or what ever descriptive term you want to use for your community there is the possibility of something bad happening.
As for failing to take training seriously because you never need that skill before. Well sorry for this news flash but there is always time to have your “first time”. So if you never needed it before each day you work could be brining you closer to the day you need that skill.
This is true also for my brothers in Fire and EMS. Bad stuff can happen on your calls. It can happen if you work on a small village volunteer squad, a big city career agency or anything between.
So please don’t allow that “It will never happen here” mind set to take hold. Likewise don’t allow the idea that “never needed it before why would it happen now” set it. If these have taken hold fix that mind set, please.
Be safe and make sure you go home at the end of duty.