by Captain Robert Cubby (retired)
Jersey City (NJ) Police Department
Once again, we hear about another officer killed in the line of duty. We mourn the loss of Police Officer Randolph Holder of the New York City Police Department whose end of watch was October 20, 2015. May he rest in peace.
I have attended too many police funerals in my career. Two of the funerals that I attended, I was personally involved with the case and was there when the officer died. Continue reading “Hiding in Plain Sight”→
The following interview took place on Oct 26th, 2014 between Maryanne Pope (Constable John Petropoulos’ widow and author of the Crossing the Line blog series) and Rick Gardner, who was John’s Sergeant and close friend at the time of his death. [Calgary Police Service Recruit Class #117: Constable John Petropoulos (centre) of above photo]
Maryanne: What impacts – emotional, psychological, spiritual and physical – did John’s death have on you personally?
Rick: Emotionally, John’s death hit me really hard. When John went into that building, I was there. I was the supervisor and John ended up getting injured on my watch. John wasn’t just a colleague, he was a good friend. I had golfed with him 7 or 8 times that year. I had renovated his bathroom. We had a professional and personal relationship – and I had got to know John better than many.
The above photo was taken in Edmonton, Alberta on Sunday September 29th, 2013, at the annual Alberta Peace and Police Officer’s Memorial Service. Since the service that year fell on the actual 13th anniversary of John’s death, he was the officer highlighted. From left to right are: Cliff O’Brien (Calgary Police Service), me, Joel Matthews (Calgary Police Service) and Glenn Laird (Calgary Police Service).
It was a powerful service. As such, I look like I’d just been through the wringer – because I had.
This is the seventh in a series of ten articles.
Visit Maryanne’s page on this blog for additional articles
Moments before this photo was taken, I had spoken to the media about why public memorials such as this are so important – both for the family & friends of the fallen officer, as well as for the thousands of living officers who put their lives on the line on a daily basis…and their loved ones who hope to God they never get the call I did. Continue reading “In the Line of Duty”→
When I was back in my hometown of Calgary, Alberta in May 2011, I met up with Darren, the police officer who was with my husband, John, the night he died in September 2000. Darren was the K-9 officer who went into the warehouse with John, also a police officer, to investigate a break and enter complaint.
When Darren first arrived at the warehouse, he’d found John and his partner, Lil, their Sergeant, Rick, and several other team mates waiting for him in the parking lot.
Darren got out of his vehicle, pointed straight at John and said, “You — let’s go!”
Darren chose John because he’d personally trained John in recruit class how to safely and effectively search buildings. Darren had to choose someone and John was it. So in they went.
I was sitting in my marked West Palm Beach police car, X-291, in the 3300 block of Village Boulevard. I was working on the new Telestaff system, getting familiar with this state of the art software. I had all my windows down on the car, a very calming and strong breeze came through. As the wind struck me, I closed my eyes and took in the comforting breeze. At that point, I was calm and felt at peace.
I heard, directly behind me, a sound like a freight train slamming the brakes and the sound of iron hitting iron. With sounds of screaming horror. I exited the cruiser and started toward the chaos. Officer Rebholz was screaming into the radio, “10-18. 18. 18. Officer down, medics 10-18”!!!!!!!! I passed him in my cruiser as he was yelling at traffic. I drove past him and noticed a white pickup truck had a motorbike pinned to the guardrail. I exited my car, went to the trunk and deployed two trauma kit bags and an ambo bag. I got all bags operational and ready to go.
There were two officers on scene talking to Officer Bruce St. Lureant. Bruce was lying with his back facing northbound, his lower torso west, and his head was facing south on I-95, under the wreckage and alone! I told the other officer where the trauma bags were and that they were ready to go. Continue reading “Not Today, Brother, Not on My Watch”→
Local newspaper headlines report the sad news of another fallen hero. The tragic death of a brave firefighter or police officer who has died in the line of duty. A dedicated professional who sacrificed his or her life that others may live or that homes and property would be saved from the ravages of fire. Most people halfheartedly acknowledge the event while searching for more significant information relating to their personal lives; a baseball score, stock market figures, want ads, or horoscopes. This newsworthy article is often overlooked by the casual reader. Civilians cannot relate to this type of tragedy nor can they comprehend the depth of grief and pain that every member in the fire service feels. Their lives will not be changed by this tragedy. Unfortunately, this is not true for the family and co-workers of this fallen hero. Life as they knew it will never be the same again. Emotions run rampant and their seemingly normal lives spiral into a frightening and dark abyss where pain, loneliness, and grief are constant companions. Surviving this personal tragedy is, at times, almost unbearable. How does one survive? What lessons can be learned from these experiences? Continue reading “Line of Duty Death”→
I am reminded of an experience that took place at a police funeral and the aftermath, the loss of an officer to suicide.
It was December 2005. We lost two officers in a motor vehicle accident where their emergency services truck drove off an open drawbridge in dense fog on Christmas night. The bridge was shut down because the lights and gates that would stop traffic when the bridge was in the open position weren’t working. They closed the bridge entrances in Kearney and in Jersey City. The Jersey City unit in Kearney was running low on flares and the emergency squad truck drove over the closed bridge to give them more flares. After wishing each other a Merry Christmas, the emergency squad headed back over the bridge to Jersey City. Due to the thick blanket of fog, Sean and Robbie didn’t see that the bridge was open and they plunged to their deaths. Continue reading “Jane”→
What must I give more death to today, in order to generate more life? What do I know should die but am hesitant to allow to do so?
— Clarissa Pinkola Estes
This is the third in a series of ten articles.
Visit Maryanne’s page on this blog for additional articles
In the fall of 2010, I gave my presentation entitled, Behind the Scenes; A Grief Deconstructed, at a police-based victim services conference in British Columbia. In this particular presentation, I go into detail about the psychological, emotional, physical and spiritual components of my experience grieving the death of my husband, John, a police officer.
After the presentation, an RCMP officer came up and shared his story with me. His teenage daughter had been struck and killed by a car as she was crossing the street at a pedestrian cross-walk. He was devastated. But he went on to explain how a police Chaplain had helped him tremendously in the days and weeks following his daughter’s death.Continue reading “The Chick in the Road”→
Editor’s Note: On June 30, 2013, nineteen members of the Prescott Fire Department’s Granite Mountain Hotshots were killed while fighting the Yarnell Hill fire, northwest of Phoenix.
I believe that the fire fighters who survived the fire (Yarnell Hill, AZ), particularly if they witnessed the deaths or where close to the area where the death occurred, plus the surviving family members, are at extreme risk of PTSD. If they are both, the risk is even greater. This sounds obvious, but we know that the results can be fatal, as the only way to turn off the after shocks is to stop living, and therefore stop thinking. It is easy to bandage a burn or put a broken leg in plaster to help the body heal, but we need to think of PTSD as a broken mind and we need a crutch to help support the injury until the mind has time to heal, like meditation has done for me. Sometimes, there will be an emotional limp for many years or the injury may never heal 100%. Continue reading “A Few Words of Support for the Survivors of the Arizona Fires”→
As the hours pass and we approach 1/14/14, I am reminded of that date 38 years ago, 1/14/76. On that at 0211 hours my partner and I receive a call that will change both of us the rest of our lives. Arriving at the scene and calling off at 0214 hours we found Police Officer Willie McCarthy mortally wounded at the intersection of Van Reypen and Academy, stabbed multiple times by two assailants while off duty, his badge and gun missing. With barely three years on the job for me, and four for my partner Tim, we were thrust into a murder investigation of one of our own. Nothing could have prepared us for that night. Rest in peace my brother.