Duty, Danger And Dunkin’ Donuts: All Open 24/7!
This column was triggered by three factors: First, the fatal assault on Las Vegas Metro PD Officer Trevor Nettleton, who was off-duty, working in his open garage late at night when three armed, apparently opportunistic gangbangers rushed him. He was armed, which came as a big surprise to them. Nettleton shot one, but was killed himself, just yards from where his wife and kids slept. He was a good man and a fine cop, and his story haunts me.
Second, reading the narrative of an off-duty sergeant who walked into a restaurant with his family one evening — directly into a robbery in progress. He acquitted himself honorably, but the incident fundamentally changed his views on off-duty preparedness. Third, reviewing accounts of officers who have been forced to leave their families at home, possibly in danger, and report for duty for extended periods in the aftermath of catastrophic events, both natural and man-made.
Officer Nettleton was probably armed simply due to his awareness of this type of “target of opportunity” crime in Las Vegas. How mentally prepared he may have been for a sudden charge by multiple assailants, we’ll never know. But I’ll bet this: He would want every single one of you to think about it, hard. The sergeant who walked into that robbery with his family walked out alive and with his family intact, but he’s spent a great deal of time and thoughtful effort since then on critical incident training for his wife and kids. The officers who had to leave their families at risk to serve the greater community all launched major efforts to ensure in the future, their families would be as prepared as humanly possible to “hold down the fort” without them.
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