St. Charles Herald-Guide

Tie one on and show your support

By Patrick Yoes - May 10, 2006

Ever stopped to think what life would be like if there were no police to protect us. No laws, no checks and balances in a system that defines right and wrong. If you will, just picture it. Total lawlessness… no scenes of security for you, your family, and your property. Not a pretty thought is it?

Well, you can be thankful it is just that, only a thought.

Each day here in Louisiana, there are a couple thousand peace officers patrolling our neighborhoods. Watching over and protecting those things which contribute to our balance.

For peace officers, this is their job. In some ways, not much different than that of a painter, printer, mechanic or doctor. For an officer, theirs is a job of providing a sense of stability in the lives of the people they are sworn to protect.

Their reasons for selecting this profession may vary from one officer to another. But, each shares a great respect for right and wrong, a sense of community, and a desire to make things better. However, in the back of each officer's mind is the chilling thought that one part this job is not at all like others, it's filled with danger that could cost them their life. Still, the job gets done.

Every fifty-two hours, on an average, a law enforcement officer is killed somewhere in America. Of the 155 officers killed during 2005, 59 were shot to death; 42 died in automobile accidents; 16 were struck by automobiles while the remainder succumbed to job-related illnesses; motorcycle accidents; aircraft accidents.

Here in Louisiana, five officers died in the performance of their duties, they are as follows: Terry Lee Melancon Jr., Baton Rouge Police Department; Muarice Glen Brigna, Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Office; Rogelio Gonzalez Jr., Franklin Parish Sheriff’s Office; Jim Robyn Bennet, Louisiana Dept. of Wildlife & Fisheries; jeffery Bickham, Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office.

Although each of these officers probably never saw themselves as heroes, they certainly were. Each represents everything that is right with society, and their deaths identify much of what is wrong.

On May 17, beginning at 2:30 p.m., the St. Charles Parish Sheriff's Office, Fraternal Order of Police and local Clergy will host their Annual Peace Officer's Memorial Services on the front Lawn of the Courthouse. These services will not only pay tribute to those who have fallen, but also will honor everyone who chose public service as their profession.

Besides attending these services, there is another way you can show your support. Go ahead and tie one on before getting behind the wheel of your car, a blue ribbon that is. Tie a blue ribbon onto your car antenna or rear view mirror during the entire month of May and show everyone you are for law and order and those who make our streets safe.