The shooting yesterday, which took the life of a Virginia Tech police officer, underscores the danger faced every day by the people who work as law enforcement officers. After I heard about this incident, I reflected on my own career in law enforcement and how many times I was in the same situation as the slain officer. It was not uncommon for me to make a vehicle stop and then return to the driver seat of my patrol vehicle while I checked the status of the driver I had stopped. Although law enforcement officers are taught to be vigilant as to what is happening around them, it was very easy to be focused inside the vehicle and not be totally aware of what was happening outside.
Now it seems to be increasingly common for persons, who want to end their own lives, to kill other people in the process. This phenomenon adds hazards to the already dangerous job of law enforcement. I would suggest the next time you hear or read about someone complaining that public safety jobs receive too much pay or too many job benefits, remember the dangers that public safety personnel face every day they go to work. For the service they provide and the danger they face, the pay and job benefits are not enough.