Inside Opinion

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Tag: memorial


Let Deputy Mundell be the last

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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A day to honor four officers – and all officers

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

May 15 might be the most important national commemoration almost no one has ever heard of. Peace Officers Memorial Day, as it’s called, is dedicated to police fallen in the line of duty.

It doesn’t begin to get the attention it deserves. Nor, ordinarily, do they.

Today will be an exception as many thousands of people honor the four Lakewood officers who were gunned down in Parkland a week ago Sunday. Sgt. Mark Renninger, Tina Griswold, Ronald Owens and Greg Richards will be given due honor and tribute in the community they served and at the Tacoma Dome.

Too many people look at a police officer and see only the uniform, the badge and the gun. Let’s talk about the humanity of these four.

Greg Richards, 42, left a wife and three children. He played drums in a rock band, Locked Down. Music was a large part of his life; he’d played in the marching band of his California high school. His cheerfulness earned him a nickname: “Perma-grin.”
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How the police saw that memorial procession

We took a pointed shot Thursday at last week’s miles-long memorial police procession on behalf of murdered Seattle Officer Timothy Brenton. I expected to get torn to pieces after it ran, but was surprised: Reactions were evenly split between those who think the processions have gone over the top and those who thought we were spitting on Brenton’s grave.

Civilians tended to be of the former persuasion; the police of the latter (they didn’t put it quite so bluntly). The people with the badges have special standing in this debate. Here’s one particularly thoughtful comment from my exchange

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More can be less with police memorial processions

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

This may be the least popular question we raise all year, but here goes:
Might a fallen police officer be properly honored without a miles-long memorial procession of so many squad cars it ties up major city arterials for hours?

Seattle Officer Timothy Brenton, who was shot to death a week ago Saturday by a mad dog killer, deserved the high honors he received Friday. He deserved the personal tributes, the honor guard, the 21-gun salute, the memorial service at KeyArena. When law enforcement officers take bullets for the rest of us, they and their profession ought to be recognized.

It is possible to take good things too far. We respectfully suggest that what has become a tradition of incredibly lengthy street processions for both law-enforcement officers and firefighters has crossed the line.

In Brenton’s case, the City of Seattle hosted thousands of police officers and firefighters from across Washington, and from Canada, Idaho, Oregon and California. Many drove their official vehicles on a processional route that ran from Husky Stadium to KeyArena by way of Montlake Boulevard, Denny Way and other major thoroughfares. Apparently this had to be done on a weekday. People who normally use those busy streets were warned to avoid them from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
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