Anyone in the field understands how dangerous a traffic stop can be, and it can be deadly as proven in the case of the Oakland tragedy. The shooting deaths of Oakland Police Sgt. Mark Dunakin, Officer John Hege, Sgt. Ervin Romans and Sgt. Daniel Sakai is a monumental loss and substantiates a well known fact that police officers, in their steady pursuit to minimize or prevent victimization – can, themselves, become crime victims.
The cold-blooded killing of these dedicated officers leaves even the most street savvy and experienced law enforcement professional speechless, profoundly grief-stricken, and utterly devastated. In everyone’s mind, the nagging thought persists, “It could have happened here; it could have happened to us, it could have happened to me.”
Oakland is not alone in its grief. The effects of their pain are felt throughout the nation, and many share their sorrow. At times like this, we pause to reflect upon our own lives, our friends and colleagues in law enforcement, and realize the good things in our own lives that should never be taken for granted. Perhaps an event like this reminds us to pick up the phone and call a colleague, have a belated celebration with a friend, or simply extend a helping hand to someone we care about.
The impact of the Oakland tragedy is deep and enduring. Though everyone tries to remain strong for the families, colleagues, and friends of the primary victims, the secondary victimization penetrates us all. It brings home the fact that none of us are immune from deadly consequences for our well intentioned efforts and dedication to public safety.
KAREN L. BUNE
Special Topics Contributor / www.officer.com