Newell Normand: My heart aches for another fallen officer

Newell Normand
October 14, 2017 - 12:08 pm

Friday was a tough day, a sad day in our community. We lost NOPD officer Marcus McNeil…a 3 year veteran…a 29 year old husband and father of two small children …shot and killed in the line of duty. “Greater love hath no man than this…that he lay down his life for others.”

How many times have I said this? And, how many times have we heard this about law enforcement officers? TOO MANY, my friends.

I’m sure and I certainly hope that I speak for the whole community…that we are saddened and that our hearts ache. Law enforcement officers and first responders are a special group of people; and I, for one, am so thankful for that…for them.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Officer McNeil’s family, NOPD Chief Michael Harrison, the men and women of the NOPD and the entire law enforcement community. God bless each and every one of you.

I don’t know about you guys – but my heart aches. Every time you hear about a fallen officer, whether it’s in our community or any other community throughout the United States – the thin blue line between an ordered & structured society and chaos unfortunately delivers many disastrous outcomes throughout our lifetime.

It’s one of the things that wore heavy on me as a law enforcement leader – I know it weighs heavy on Chief Harrison and sheriffs in our community and across America. It’s something you have to deal with each and every day. You go to bed thinking about it every night. And, unfortunately, the horror of the phone call during the night…during the morning hours…during the day – that one of your men or women were killed in the line of duty… is one of the things that makes this job incredibly difficult.

Whether you’re on the right…on the left…or in the middle…the fact of the matter is – the sacrifice made by the first responder community is one we just can’t forget ...it’s something we have to respect and honor. Think about the danger they face all too often… and without even thinking about – they run TO the danger as opposed to running FROM the danger.

And, in the law enforcement business - even when you do everything 100% correctly, not everything goes right. We never really talk about what happens to an officer, when they have to pull a weapon. They have to come to grips with that situation. It’s sad.

Today’s sad truth - the lives of Marcus McNeil’s wife and his children will be forever altered. When you put it in that context, I don’t know how that doesn’t just tug on your heart and ring true. And, the officers responding to this call are dealing with the death of a fellow officer…and they know their wife, their kids and their family are at home wondering – hope against hope – that each and every day they come home…as they answer the next call.

So often we stare the obvious in the face, and many times we walk around it. We walk right around it, because we don’t want to talk about these things. We don’t want to really address the scourge of drugs. We don’t want to address the crime and the hate we have on the streets. We want to place blame on one sector and not look at the issues holistically as to what’s going on in the streets. And, there always has to be a scapegoat. And, far too often, it ends up being law enforcement.

Government is not going to lead. We, as a community, have to lead. And, the way we make a difference is this - we should only accept on the street what we’re willing to accept in our homes. Only then will we begin to create the momentum to change what’s happening out on the streets of our communities throughout our country. And, it’s a mutual obligation. .

We must treat the streets…our community…as if it’s our home, because it IS our home.

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