As I post this, a memorial service is getting ready to start for two slain Santa Cruz police officers who were ambushed by a man they had come to question as part of a routine investigation.
The outpouring of love and support from the community and other law enforcement officers has been so great the service was moved to a 20,000-seat venue in San Jose as Santa Cruz’ 4,000 -seat hall couldn’t accommodate everyone. Some 6,000 officers are in the pavilion today and more than 10,000 members of the public came to pay their respects, as well.
Hundreds of law enforcement vehicles from all over California formed a motorcade that made the 33-mile drive north over the Santa Cruz Mountains to honor their fallen comrades. Fire trucks and ambulances lined up on overpasses while first responders stood to pay their respects while the motorcade passed.
Awful. Heartbreaking. It seems as if the older I get, the more of the world’s pain I feel. I’m watching the memorial on TV and can hardly keep my composure.
Please, as you read this, take a moment of silence to remember fallen officers Det. Elizabeth Butler, a 10-year veteran and mother of two young boys, and Det. Sgt. Loran “Butch” Baker, a 28-year old father of three, a law enforcement veteran who was well-respected and whose son joined the force as a community services officer in 2010.
Way, way too many officers have been killed in the line of duty lately, making my heart hurt and reminding me of what a dark time we live in. Two of the finest friends I have are retired law enforcement officers, and I can not tell you what a relief it was when they finally retired a few years ago.
But they leave behind their law enforcement brothers and sisters, there to keep the peace and take care of us. Their loss is a loss for us all. We all grieve.
As we remember officers Butler and Baker, and all the others all over the world whose lives have been cut short in the line of duty, let’s also hold all of our first-responders in the light, express our gratitude and pray for their safety. These men and women put their lives on the line to protect us every single day, never knowing if at the end of their shift they’ll get to go home– or not.
Let’s not forget them in our daily prayers.
Law Enforcement Memorial Prayer
Dear Lord, law enforcement is not an easy task to do,
Yet, there are many who choose to wear the shield.
They serve each day, to the oaths they swore are true,
Protecting and serving, a safer, better world to build.
Lord now we gather to pay our deepest honor,
To those of ours officers, killed in the line of duty.
It matters not the style of shield they wore,
Only that they served with pride, and honor.
Lord all that matters is that they were one of us,
Serving wherever needed, richest mansion to dirtiest alley.
Confident and proud, highly honored by the peoples trust,
So they carried a shield, mindful of all their sacred duties.
Lord you have called several of ours home to glory,
The race with life for them is now done.
Peace, blessed peace, in safety, forever now with Thee,
Welcome rest, now in heaven for all of eternity.
May time never erase the sacrifices that were made,
May no officer ever fall alone, to lie cold in their grave .
May those of us still serving, remember well the price they paid,
May their memories stand forever as those who went down brave.
Lord give us courage to carry on, to still live and care,
To not be vengeful or bitter, to simply trust Your word is true.
May we always cover with pride the shield we wear,
To honor all fallen officers, whom we now commend to you.
– Officer Thomas Guthery
Minnesota Law Enforcement Memorial Association
A Police Officer’s Prayer
Oh Almighty God,
Whose great power and eternal
wisdom embraces the universe,
watch over all policemen and
law enforcement officers.
Protect them From harm
in the performance of their duty
to stop crime, robberies,
riots and violence.
We pray, help them keep
our streets and homes safe
day and night.
We commend them to
your loving care
because their duty is dangerous.
Grant them your unending strength and
courage in their daily assignments.
Dear God, protect these
brave men & women,
grant them your almighty
unite them safely with their
families after duty has ended.