There were two unspoken rules when I worked in television:
- If it bleeds, it leads.
- The news cycle is short.
I couldn’t help to think about that today as I read the headlines on Law Enforcement Today. We lost two more incredible officers. They are two stories that will be briefly covered by the mainstream news, because they’re juicy enough to pull in viewers for a few minutes. And then as soon as the next tweet comes out about Trump, the story will move on.
But we can’t afford to forget. We can’t afford to simply MOVE ON. Because in doing so, we lose a piece of our soul as a country.
Today, Deputy Sandeep Dhaliwal was murdered in cold blood – shot during a traffic stop.
— KPRC 2 Houston (@KPRC2) September 27, 2019
His death came just hours after Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Tracy Vickers was killed in a violent car crash.
The entire @FLHSMV family mourns today for the loss of one of our own, FHP Trooper Tracy Vickers. Trooper Vickers was a hero and leader within the patrol and his troop. We ask that you keep his family in your prayers. #FHP #EOW pic.twitter.com/4woSEWdiE5
— FLHSMV (@FLHSMV) September 27, 2019
Chris Cosgriff, the founder of the Officer Down Memorial Page, put it best:
“When a police officer is killed, it’s not an agency that loses an officer, it’s an entire nation.”
Yet it’s so easy to forget. To lose context. To miss the brief media coverage – if it’s even there – and then get fired up about the next political story that hits our social media newsfeed.
Let me share some numbers with you.
91. That’s how many officers have been killed in the line of duty so far this year.
164. That’s how many officers were killed in the line of duty in 2018.
927. That’s how many officers were killed in the line of duty over the past five years.
1,715. That’s how many officers were killed in the line of duty over the past ten years.
23,854. That’s how many officers have been killed in the line of duty for all time.
That’s a lot of hurting families. Husbands, wives, sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, friends. That’s an immeasurable amount of grief, pain and sorrow.
We’ll never be able to put a number on how many lives those losses have destroyed. How many loved ones have turned to opioids or other ways of dealing with their pain.
We’ll never know how many lives we lost to suicide from those who could no longer cope.
But here are some numbers that ARE being tracked by Blue H.E.L.P.:
159. That’s how many officers have died by suicide so far in 2019.
167. That’s how many officers have died by suicide in 2018.
169. That’s how many officers have died by suicide in 2017.
142. That’s how many officers have died by suicide in 2016.
Let’s talk about the media again for a second. In their hunger for the “if it bleeds, it leads” search… they love buzzwords. And one that they seem to frequently toss around is “epidemic”.
“We have a suicide epidemic.”
“We have a gun epidemic.”
Here’s what I’d position to you. Perhaps what we really have is a “soulless” epidemic.
Perhaps we’ve become so desensitized to violence, death and destruction that we no longer value life the same way we once did. Perhaps we’re so caught up in our battles with our friends, family, neighbors and co-workers on social media that we’ve forgotten out to treat people. How to take care of people. How to LOVE people.
We’ve forgotten how to grieve. How to mourn. How to heal.
We’ve been blessed to work side by side with Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.) as they rebuild the shattered lives of families who’ve lost officers in the line of duty.
We’ve partnered with organizations such as Blue H.E.L.P. to try and raise awareness about the unacceptable number of officers we are losing to the demons of post traumatic stress.
But we need to address the root of the problem. We’ve kicked God out of society. We’ve replaced personal relationships with social media. We’ve put our faith in the media instead of humanity. And we’ve put a value on the lives of our protectors – and that value is about 45 seconds on the news… or however long it takes for the next story to pop up into our newsfeed.
So we’ve made it our mission at Law Enforcement Today to help change that… through stories. Over the coming weeks, you’ll notice a renewed focus on sharing the stories of wounded officers. Fallen heroes. Patriotic Americans. Those who serve and protect our communities and our country.
You’ll see us talk a lot about LET Unity. It’s a new home focused on bridging the gap between civilians and civil servants. We’ve merged with The Whiskey Patriots to massively expand content, rolling out hundreds of videos to members. The revenue from memberships goes entirely back into telling the stories of our emergency responders that the media has silenced.
Many of those in our focus groups dubbed it the “Netflix of the law enforcement community”. But the truth is, it’s so much more.
The first officer in the door at the Pulse nightclub shooting.
Emergency responders from the Parkland shooting.
The bomb squad that responded to the Aurora movie theater massacre.
Survivors of the Dallas five killings.
The first Marine Guard hostage in the Iran crisis.
The CIA agent who started a counter human trafficking company.
World War II veterans.
And so, so much more.
The membership is less than the cost of two coffees a month, and those who sign up for an annual membership will get some surprise bonuses in the mail. We decided to charge a nominal fee so we could take all of the proceeds and reinvest them into capturing more of these stories.
On top of that, we’re opening up the platform to some well-known podcasters who are going to be joining the team with some incredible content soon.
We have a problem in society. Censorship has created an existential threat to democracy. But even worse is the risk we run that some of these incredible stories of patriotism, hope, faith and our Sheepdogs would be lost.
We’ll soon be launching a series of content with Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.) to share the stories of survivors. We will also be dropping a weekly law enforcement focused newscast that addresses some of the most important topics in the country… and helps bridge the gap between those who serve and those whom they serve.
On top of that, we’ll soon be rolling out a series of private discounts and special promotions to members only as a “thank you” for being a part of the family.
The beta platform is live and the apps for Apple, Android, Apple TV and Roku will be launching soon.
We hope you’ll join us in this journey, knowing that your membership is going to give a voice to those who have been silenced for so long.
If you are one of the many companies out there that’s being censored – or you’re worried about what’s to come – don’t hesitate to reach out today at [email protected]
We will not be silenced. You shouldn’t be either.
God bless you all, and God bless America.