January 1, 2022

Subject: Our Police Officers: Remember to Thank Them for Their Protection

Psalm 35:18 “I will give you thanks in the great assembly; I will praise You among many people.”

Ed Croteau

As this week’s verse proclaims, our great and mighty God gets our thankfulness and our praise not only this Christmas season but throughout the year. He serves mankind and protects us everyday. But we also have another protector who deserves our thankfulness this season, and they are also working everyday.

Forget what you hear from BLM and the Radical Left. When you ask little children what they want to be when they grow up, the #2 choice is policeman (#1 is secret agent). Being a policeman ranks higher in children’s’ minds then firefighter, professional athlete, even President. Kids especially know that it’s our policemen who “keep bad guys away”. They are their heroes who serve and protect them.

Since 1963, the motto “To Protect and to Serve” has been held up before every officer in training at the Police Academy as their life’s mission. This week we honor police officers around our country over the past 20 years. Here are inspiring stories of our police officers that make us all thank God they take their motto of protecting and serving us so seriously, rushing towards and never away from danger for our sakes.

John 15:13 “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” Lees Summit Officer David Hartman drowned while on duty on May 1, 1983. David, a member of Lee Summit’s Underwater Rescue and Recovery unit, was knocked unconscious by a log moving over 20 mph in floodwaters as he tried to rescue a stranded canoer and another officer. Over 1,000 people attended his funeral. The city of Lee’s Summit dedicated Legacy Park’s adult sports complex in his name. As you enter the Lee’s Summit Police Dept, you’ll find his picture with the inscription “He gave his life for his fellow man.”

Psalm 82:4 “Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” On February 14, 2007, Salt Lake City Police Officer Kenneth Hammond was off duty, having Valentine’s Day dinner with his wife, when he heard gunshots from the nearby Trolley Square shopping mall. He told his wife to call the police as he rushed to the scene. An 18-year old gunman, wearing a trench coat and brandishing a shotgun and a .38-caliber pistol, calmly entered the mall and immediately murdered five people. Five other people were then shot in a gift shop. Hammond quickly found the gunman and fired on him. Other officers reached the scene. The gunman, who also had a backpack loaded with ammunition, was killed. If Hammond hadn’t sprang into action, many more people would be dead.

Matthew 5:9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” On December 5, 2014, NYPD officer Brian Kinkaid was called to drive an elderly woman to the car tow pound after her car had been towed. But when they got to the pound, they would only take cash or credit for the $185 fee, and she only had checks. So what did Officer Kinkaid do – leave her stranded? He went to an ATM, took out $185 of his own money, and paid her fee. His reason? Kinkaid said the good deed was just part of doing his job.

Psalm 46:1 “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in time of trouble.” Officer Thomas Jurgens was trained as a medic in the Army before becoming a police officer. On September 11, 2001 he was inside the first tower of the World Trade Center when he was warned by radio transmission to get out as fast as he could because the tower’s structural integrity was failing. The last transmission from Jurgens was simple: “There are people here who need our help.” He died in the tower collapse.

Isaiah 6:8 “I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’ Then I said, ‘Here am I! Send me.’” On September 11, 2001, NYPD Officer Kenneth Tietjen commandeered a taxi and drove to ground zero. When he arrived, he rushed into the North tower and rescued many people, leading them out to safety. After he had brought several others out from the building and the conditions quickly grew worse, he and his partner realized they only had one respirator left that was now required to be able to breathe in all the smoke. Officer Tietjen smiled at his partner, said “Seniority rules”, took the respirator and rushed back into the tower—just before it collapsed.

Ed Croteau is a resident of Lee’s Summit and hosts a weekly study in Lees Summit called “Faith: Substance and Evidence.” He can be reached with your questions through the Lee’s Summit Tribune at Editor@lstribune.net.