Our policemen, sheriff’s deputies and Nevada Highway Patrol troopers put their lives on the line every day for Nevadans. Major incidences do not occur often, but when they do, the majority of residents support those who put the uniform on to protect us.
The senseless murder of Carson City Deputy Carl Howell illustrates that point as does the killing of two Las Vegas Metro officers in 2014. Officers Igor Soldo and Alyn Beck were shot execution style at a pizza restaurant by a man and woman who had radical views against authority. The shooters ran into a Wal-Mart where they shot a bystander. Eventually, officers killed the male shooter, and the woman took her own life.
According to one police report, the shooters placed a “Don’t Tread on Me” flag and a Nazi swastika on one officer and left a note on the other officer’s body saying, “This is the beginning of the revolution.”
Officers have been trained to be vigilant and cautious when responding to calls or pulling over a vehicle, but the chance of the unthinkable is there … sometimes like a game of Russian roulette.
Northern Nevadans from Elko to Fallon to Carson City and Reno rallied around the law enforcement community after the latest shooting by offering their support and donations to help Deputy Howell’s family who live down the highway in Stagecoach. In these times of need, Nevadans are there to assist in whatever way they can.
Since Deputy Howell’s death, other officers in different parts of the United States have been assaulted, some fatally. This past weekend, for example, a stranded motorist shot a Louisiana state policeman in the face with a shotgun, mortally wounding the officer. With the trooper on the ground, the assailant stared over him, saying, “You’re lucky. You’re lucky — you’re going to die soon.”
The Officer Down Page website now lists 77 officers — 24 shot or assaulted — who have died in the line of duty in 2015, including the Louisiana state trooper and Deputy Howell.
As with any segment of society, the majority of those in law enforcement are doing a great job, but society has also created an anti-authority segment of people who feel it is justified to kill policemen or military personnel. This lawlessness, thank goodness, does not resemble the 1930s when hundreds of officers died from gunfire, but the attitude of not respecting the law enforcement community certainly continues to be a negative mark on our society.
To the two Las Vegas policemen, Deputy Carl Howell and now the Louisiana trooper, you have definitely honored your profession with your dedication to the people you served.
LVN editorials appear on Wednesdays.