Friday’s Heroes: Remembering The Fallen

The Graveyard Shift extends our condolences to the families of these brave officers.

Corrections Officer Casimiro Pomales, 52

New York State Department of Correctional Services

January 28, 2011 – Corrections Officer Casimiro Pomales was killed in an automobile crash while transporting an inmate to a medical appointment. The driver of the second vehicle was adjusting the heat in her car when she sideswiped the prison van, causing it to roll over several times. Officer Pomales is survived by his wife and children.

Correctional Officer Jayme Lee Biendl, 34

Washington State Department of Corrections

January 29, 2011 – Corrections Officer Jayme Biendl was strangled to death by an inmate during an escape attempt.

Correctional Officer Colonel Greg Malloy, 44

Florida Department of Corrections

February 2, 2011 – Colonel Greg Malloy, a canine handler for Holmes Correctional Facility, was shot and killed in a gun battle while assisting local law enforcement officers track a wanted murder suspect. The suspect was also killed during the exchange of gunfire.

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War On Cops

Imagine going to work today, wondering if this is the day when somebody—the man in line behind you at the bank, a junior high kid, or maybe that kid’s mom—will pull a gun from their pocket and shoot you dead simply because you chose to be a police officer.

How would it feel to know that the mere clothing you wore and the fact that your life’s calling—your life-long dream to help others—was enough to spark enough rage in another human being that he’d walk into your place of business and murder everyone in sight? Unfortunately, that’s what officers across the country are learning to deal with in addition to the already high-stress nature of their work.

Recently, there’s been an alarming increase in the amount violence toward police officers. So far this year, as of January 27, 2011, fifteen police officers in the U.S. have been killed in the line of duty, ten were shot to death. Murdered. And that’s not including the large number of attempted murders and assaults on officers. What’s the cause? Why do some people feel the need to kill cops? And why are they acting on those feelings? What causes a man to look a young officer in the eye and then, without remorse, kill her as nonchalantly as they would swat a fly?

How do police officers protect themselves against an enemy who hides in plain sight? How do officers guard against future attacks?

Are there too many guns on the street? Not enough gun laws? Too many gun laws? Are we not putting enough people in prison? Do we need more alternatives to prison? Death penalty or no death penalty? Does it work?

And I’ll ask this one out loud. I’m not shy. Have police department budget cuts contributed to the murder of our police officers? Have municipalities cut police training, manpower, and equipment so drastically that the very lives of the men and women who protect us are in jeopardy?

Well, I asked three law enforcement officials for their take on the recent increase in violence against police officers. And here’s what they had to say.

ATF Special Agent Richard McMahan

“What can law enforcement do to stop more of our ranks from falling?

The best way we can honor our fallen comrades is to make sure they didn’t lose their lives in vain. We need to make sure we not only remember they died Holding the Blue Line, but we also remember how they died.

I am not faulting any of the officers who died. For all I know, they did everything right and fate was against them. But, I do know cops are humans. We fall into routines. And ruts. Some become lax in routine. We do think of a traffic stop as “routine.” (THERE ARE NO ROUTINE TRAFFIC STOPS!). We do think of taking a complaint as something we’ve done a thousand times before and nothings happened, so it’s no big deal. We’ve served warrants on people and arrested them and they’ve complied with our commands.

The way we stop this tide of line of duty deaths is to remember—

I want the next patrol officer who does a traffic stop to have the memory of the Indianapolis cop in his mind. When he flips that lightbar on and pulls that car over, I want him or her to think of that Indianapolis cop who did the same thing and took two bullets in the face last Sunday. Now, that officer will pause and maybe they’ll remember to hug the car close and stay out of the driver’s line of sight. Maybe they’ll make extra sure to see the occupants’ hands at all times. With that dead cop’s spirit on their shoulder and in their mind, they’ll stay extra sharp.

Maybe the next time an arrest team goes to pick up someone they’ve arrested before, they’ll not think, “He’s going to comply because he has in the past.”

Maybe the next time a group of cops are taking coffee together they’ll keep an extra vigilant look on the door, so that when some Sierra Hotel pulls a gun as he’s walking in that the cops will stop the assault.

As for me, I know that the next time we’re doing a warrant on a house, I’ll be paying extra close attention to the attic and crawl spaces. I’ll think of those 2 St Petersburg cops who were ambushed by a thug laying in wait.

Cops can’t ensure our budget or manning will improve. We can’t do anything about the state budget crises that are opening the door and kicking prisoners out the door of prison in floods. We can’t determine why a small segment of our society thinks it’s a badge of honor to hunt us.

But what we can do is be prepared. We make sure we’re thinking of the task at hand. We make sure we damn well know that there are people who want to kill us. And we make sure we do everything we can—we follow our training, we follow our instincts, and we go into a situation remembering our fallen brothers and sisters and saying, ‘No more.’”

Jerry Cooper, a law enforcement trainer who has been a continuously sworn law enforcement officer for more than 36 years.

“One thing appears to be obvious: the bad guys do not fear the police. Most of the people shooting law enforcement officers have already been in the criminal justice and/or mental health systems. If I were to do any quick finger pointing, I would have to start with lenient judges, parole boards, probation & parole systems, and mental health system. We are living in a society that nurtures psychopathy. According to Dr. Robert Hare, who is probably the world’s leading authority on psychopathy, only about 20% of psychopaths are institutionalized (prison or in-patient mental health facilities).

Also, as a law enforcement use-of-force trainer, I have to ask the unpopular questions regarding how prepared are officers for these situations. There is certainly a lot of argument here in favor of scenario-based training.”

Lt. David Swords, a thirty year veteran of the Springfield, Ohio Police Department.

“In recent days, most of us have heard comments and news stories about an alarming rise in shootings and/or felonious deaths of police officers in the U.S. Today, I heard that yesterday’s death of an Indianapolis officer recently shot brought the nationwide number of officers killed this month to 15. Multiply that number by twelve and you’re looking at 2011 as being a year when 180 officers could be killed by felonious assault. That is a frightening number.

Is that what we have in store for the coming year? Hopefully, prayerfully, this month will prove to be a fluke, albeit a tragic and deadly one.

I’ve heard questions raised by news reporters asking if this is a sign of a “war of cops.” I don’t think so. At least it’s not an organized effort to kill officers. If anything, it is more of a symptom of a growing unrest in the country, a growing anger. An anger at what? An anger at them, those people, the other side.

That’s right, we’ve all noticed it. We’ve all seen in recent years the general decline of civility and a growing rudeness in the culture. I’m not going to spend any time laying it all out because we have all seen examples of it throughout the culture. And, please, let’s not turn this into a discussion of “Who’s at fault?” When it comes right down to it, we are all at fault. If you wish to point a finger, get in front of a mirror and point away.

Having said that, let us recognize the fact that, as always, the police are going to be the ones to bear the brunt of social anger. Remember the 1960’s? Well I do. I remember hearing things like “off the pigs” or “kill the pigs.” And while I was unable on short notice to find stats of officer killings in the 60’s and 70’s, I do remember an alarming number that seemed to correspond with the growing social discord of the time.

So what’s the answer? I can tell you what I think the answer is for the men and women on the street. It is the same that it has always been. In a simple phrase, “watch your ass and expect the worst.” It is a very simplistic answer to what seems to be a very complex problem, but that is what I would tell the young folks on the street. Let the “experts” try to figure it out. Let them spend their money and have their committees to come up with some report that will gather dust on a darkened storage shelf. You don’t have time to wait for the answer, so in the meantime, you do what you need to do to get home to your family tonight.

And may God bless those who don’t make it.”

*     *     *

Friday’s Heroes: Remembering The Fallen

The Graveyard Shift extends our condolences to the families of these brave officers.

Corporal Charles Richard (Chuck) Nesbitt Jr., 39

Sumter South Carolina Police Department

January 21, 2011

Corporal Chuck Nesbitt, Jr. was killed in an automobile crash after transporting a prisoner to the South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice.

Officer Tom Hayes, 61

Columbus Ohio Division of Police

January 20, 2011

Officer Tom Hayes succumbed to a gunshot wound he sustained 31 years earlier while attempting to arrest two teens.

Officer Jeffrey Yaslowitz, 39

St. Petersburg Florida Police Department

January 24, 2011

Sergeant Tom Baitinger, 48

St. Petersburg Florida Police Department

January 24, 2011

Sergeant Tom Baitinger and Officer Jeffrey Yaslowitz were shot and killed while attempting to serve a warrant on a wanted suspect.

Sergeant Baitinger is survived by his wife.

Officer Yaslowitz is survived by his wife and three children.

Officer David S. Moore, 29

Indianapolis Indiana Metropolitan Police Department

January 26, 2011

On January 23, 2011, Officer David Moore was shot several times by the driver of a stolen vehicle. He succumbed to his wounds three days later. He is survived by his parents. Officer Moore’s mother is a sergeant with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, and his father retired as a lieutenant with the department.

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Friday’s Heroes: Remembering The Fallen

The Graveyard Shift extends our condolences to the families of these brave officers.

Officer Rogerio Morales, 27

Davie Florida Police Department

January 13, 2011 – Officer Rogerio Morales suffered a heart attack on January 10, 2011 while trying out for his department’s SWAT team. He passed away three days later. Officer Morales is survived by his wife.

Photograph: Police Officer Christopher Matlosz

Officer Christopher Matlosz, 27

Lakewood New Jersey Police Department

January 14, 2011 – Officer Christopher Matlosz stopped his patrol car to talk to a man who was walking on the side of the road. The man then pulled a handgun and shot Officer Matlosz three times, killing him. He is survived by his fiancee, mother, and brother.

Photograph: Police Officer Kevin P. Marceau

Officer Kevin P. Marceau, 47

Dallas Texas Police Department

January 14, 2011 – Officer Kevin Marceau succumbed to injuries he received after being struck by a car on November 13, 1996, while chasing a suspect on foot. Officer Marceau is survived by his son, his parents, and four siblings.

Photograph: Police Officer Larry Nehasil

Officer Larry Nehasil, 48

Livonia Michigan Police Department

January 17, 2011 – Officer Larry Nehasil was shot and killed while attempting to arrest two violent hone invaders. He managed to return fire after being wounded, killing the man who’d shot him. Officer Nahasil is survived by his wife and two children.

Photograph: Detective Roger Castillo

Detective Roger Castillo

Miami-Dade Police Department


Detective Amanda Haworth

Miami-Dade Police Department

January 20, 2011 – Detective Roger Castillo and Detective Amanda Haworth were shot and killed while attempting to arrest a murder suspect. A third detective was wounded during the shooting. The fourth detective on the scene shot and killed the suspect.

Detective Haworth, a 23-year veteran, is survived by her son.

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Friday’s Heroes: Remembering The Fallen

The Graveyard Shift extends our condolences to the family of this brave officer.

Officer William H. Torbit Jr., 33

Baltimore City Police Department

January 9, 2011 – Officer William Torbit, while working a plainclothes assignment, arrived at the Select Lounge as a result of an officer-in-trouble call (Signal 13). While attempting to break up a fight between a group of females, Torbit was attacked by several males. One witness described the scene as large and chaotic.

During the attack, Officer Torbit was shoved to the ground and immediately drew his service weapon. Subsequently, he fired at least eight rounds at one of the men who was assaulting him. The civilian was mortally wounded. Four uniformed officers, who’d also responded to the scene, witnessed Torbit pull his weapon and they immediately began firing at him (a total of 41 rounds), thinking he was a civilian with a gun.

Officer Torbit was killed by gunfire from fellow officers he worked with on a regular basis. However, due to the chaos and the fact that Torbit was not in uniform, the fatal error occurred. One other police officer was wounded in the exchange of gunfire. Torbit was wearing his badge on a lanyard hanging around his neck.

Officers outside the nightclub where Officer Torbit was killed

Officer Torbit was known on the streets as Batman because he and his partner formed a real-life dynamic duo when it came to rounding up drug dealers and other offenders. Even though Torbit was a tough, no nonsense cop, several of Baltimore’s Central District bad guys, where Torbit worked, readily admitted that if he’d arrested them it was because they had it coming. They were also quick to point out that Torbit was fair, and credited him for turning their lives around.

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Friday’s Heroes: Remembering The Fallen

The Graveyard Shift extends our condolences to the families of each of these brave officers.

Chief of Police Ralph Painter, 55

Rainier Oregon Police Department

January 5, 2011 – Chief Ralph Painter was shot and killed after responding to a dispute at a local stereo store. He is survived by his wife and seven children.

Deputy Sheriff John Norsworthy, 39

Fort Bend County Texas Sheriff’s Office

January 4, 2011 – On December 27, 2010, Deputy John Norsworthy was enroute to back up another deputy when he lost control of his patrol car and struck a tree. He succumbed to his injuries on January 4, 2011.

Deputy Sheriff Suzanne Hopper, 40

Clark County Ohio Sheriff’s Office

January 1, 2011 – Deputy Suzanne Hopper was shot and killed after responding a shots-fired call in an RV park. She is survived by her husband and two children.

* Thanks to ODMP

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Friday’s Heroes: Remembering The Fallen

The Graveyard Shift extends our condolences to the families of each of these brave officers.

Lieutenant Cliff Rouse, 39

Dougherty County Georgia Police Department

December 23, 2010 – Lieutenant Cliff Rouse was shot and killed after responding to an armed robbery at a convenience store. He is survived by his wife and two children.

Officer Ann O’Donnell, 24

University of Houston (Texas) Police Department

December 24, 2010 – Officer Ann O’Donnell was killed in an automobile crash while responding to a robbery-in-progress call. She is survived by her parents and sister.

Deputy Sheriff Michael Ray Schaefer, 55

Uvalde County Texas Sheriff’s Department

December 25, 2010 – Deputy Michael Schaefer suffered a fatal heart attack while struggling with a criminal suspect.

Officer John Maguire, 60

Woburn Massachusetts Police Department

December 26, 2010 – Officer John Maguire was shot and killed after responding to a robbery in progress. He is survived by his wife and two children.

Trooper First Class Chadwick T. LeCroy, 38

Georgia State Patrol

December 27, 2010 – Trooper First Class Chadwick T. LeCroy was shot and killed after a brief vehicle pursuit. Trooper LeCroy is survived by his wife and two sons.

Officer Jillian Michelle Smith, 24

Arlington Texas Police Department

December 28, 2010 – Officer Jillian Smith was shot and killed after responding to a domestic disturbance.

*As of this posting there have been 162 line of duty deaths in 2010.

Thanks to ODMP

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