This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.
When the Lakewood’s four fallen police officers were memorialized on Dec. 8, few imagined there’d be a similar observance at the Tacoma Dome a scant four weeks later.
Today’s service for Pierce County Sheriff’s Deputy Kent Mundell is all the more poignant for honoring the sixth Puget Sound officer shot to death in the line of duty in less than two months. This shocking onslaught against law enforcement officers began Oct. 31 with the killing of Timothy Brenton of the Seattle Police Department and ended with Mundell’s shooting at a house near Tanwax Lake four days before Christmas.
Paradoxically, the number of police killed while on duty has been falling across the country. The 125 deaths recorded this year is the lowest toll in a half-century. But the six this region has seen since October account for a full 5 percent of that continent-wide 2009 death toll – an explosion of anti-police violence vastly out of proportion to the area’s, or even the state’s, population. We devoutly hope we’ve seen the end of such crimes.
Each of these deaths exacts a terrible price. Mundell the man was unique and irreplaceable. Consider some of the phrases his family, friends and fellow officers have used to describe him: “The guy was not just a friend, he was an experience” . . . “bigger than life” . . . “ever-sparkling smile” . . . “loved people” . . . “high-strung and hard-driven” . . . “funny as all hell.”
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