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So here lately I've been privy to, and part of, many conversations regarding the current state of affairs in law enforcement. My immediate co-workers and even my supervisor hold forth with astonishing regularity on how much longer we each have until retirement (my boss can punch out any day, but needs the money). We all daydream out loud about the different career choices we could have, should have, would have made if only we'd have known how things would turn out. This conversation will happen again, probably contemporaneously with yet another sensationalized article involving a police officer, a shooting and an “unarmed black man”.

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So the Washington Post published a couple of articles in the last week, one entitled “The Cops Who Keep Killing” (as opposed to the more realistic but slightly less inflammatory title of “The Cops Who Have Been in Multiple Justified Shootings”). The other article was given the headline “A year of reckoning: Police fatally shoot nearly 1,000”. The gist of the first article is that the Post found 55 officers across the entire United States of America that were involved in shootings in 2015 that had (gasp!) been involved in prior deadly force incidents in their careers. They go on to cite the media's favorite anti-cop policing “expert”, one Dr. Geoffrey Alpert of the University of South Carolina, whose sterling academic credentials provide him a soapbox for weighing-in against cops in news stories about police pursuits and use of force.

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We must remember that anyone who wore a badge is also human. Our experiences are real. The things we saw are real. Officers are not playing parts in the latest crime drama. By asking some of these questions upon first meeting or by the water cooler, you could be bringing up one of the darkest moments of their lives. Are you prepared for that? I am. If you need to talk we are here for you.

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We all know this job isn’t easy--each day we prepare for battle; each day we live our life on and off duty in the proverbial fishbowl; we have a front row seat to the deepest moments of despair; and we ride a roller coaster that if we’re not careful takes a physical and emotional toll on us and those around us.But you matter and the work we do together matters as first responders.  Yes, this job has difficulties but they are worth it.

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Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends -Jesus of Nazareth By the time you read these words, it is likely that another law enforcement officer left for his shift and did not return home.  This isn’t happening in some far away place that you’ve only read about in books or seen in a documentary; it’s not just happening inside your television or on your social media newsfeeds; it’s happening to real men and women of valor in our own back yards and roads; It’s happening right here, right now. Still, as

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