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LETTER: Retired Deputy Defends Fallen Police Officers

Marc Eaton expresses the importance of thanking police officers for service.

One retired Harford County sheriff's deputy expressed disappointment in the response some people had to the recent deaths of Harford County law enforcement officers.

September has been a deadly month for members of Harford County law enforcement.

Three Harford County sheriff's deputies and one Aberdeen Police officer died in incidents both on- and off-duty within an 8-day period between Sept. 6 and Sept. 13.

Marc Eaton, a retired sheriff's office deputy, submitted the following letter to Patch after negative comments on articles about these deaths caught his attention.

Here is the letter unedited and printed in full:

THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK.......

To all the misguided people who think it is necessary to try and hurt family members of my fallen brothers I ask you to read the following and then post your comments:

Apply for the academy and complete a six month training academy. Now put on the uniform and do the job. Then and only then can you have an opinion on what police officers endure and how we live our lives (or how we die.) Stand and listen while final call is given. Have your knees get week and your emotions overwhelm you when you realize you will never hear that ID number or voice again. Watch as the widow and her small child sit as the flag is folded and it is presented to her. For most of you it ends after reading an article or watching a news story. For my fellow officers it will continue for years because everyday it is a reminder that their brother or sister is gone. They will live with guilt wondering if there was something they could have done to save their life.
To add insult to injury many of us can't even take off to mourn because protecting the community continues.

A police officer is not super human. He or she is just a human who has dedicated their life to serve and protect people. A six month academy is just training in order to do the job. All police officers are continually training and learning new things. The uniform does not give any of us super human strength or extra wisdom. You don’t do it for the money because the pay is not worth the job. What do you think a fair wage would be knowing when you kiss your family goodbye it might be the last time? Police Officers do this job for one reason: To serve and protect and hope that you can change someones life by saving it.

As I read these comments it angers me. Its hard for me to comprehend that I gave 22 years and would have risked my own life to save yours. Is this truly your ‘thank you note” to my fallen brothers? Is this really the very best that you can do? Maybe a cop never pulled you out of a burning vehicle. Maybe a cop never was first on the scene to your drug overdose. Chances are good that your life has been affected by law enforcement in a positive way, but you never knew it. Many of you count speeding tickets and those are the stones of hate you throw at us. Maybe that DUI that cost you $5,000 in lawyer fees has your britches in a knot. Truth? I don’t care! I was not only saving you the day you were locked up for reckless driving I was trying to save the family of 5 in a mini van that you would have killed!

We are a brotherhood and we stand together in good times and bad. We are strong and we will endure as we always have. We will always support each other. No matter what some of you think about us we will protect you with our lives. We are proud.
We are that “thin blue line” and we are forever strong.

Marc A Eaton, R189
Retired Deputy Sheriff Harford County Maryland
Owings Mills, MD

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Curtis Coon September 18, 2012 at 06:29 PM
We are all human; first responders and the average guy. At the same time, we should all be ready to make sacrifices for our fellow men, women and children. What I find amazing is the concept that only those who wear uniforms make sacrifices. True, theirs is more apparent, but the lifeguard at the beach puts their life in danger, as does every teacher, especially given recent events at disarming students. In the end, we all need to remember that any of us can be called upon to pull someone out of a car wreck, or lend a hand to someone in need. Uniforms mean something but not everything.
Deanne Snodgrass September 18, 2012 at 06:32 PM
I had the honor of being a regular citizen touched by one of the officers recently killed. Officer Licato was at the scene when i rear-ended a woman the day i was closing on my house in Bel Air. I was in a rush and just didn't know the roads. A red light caught me off guard and i hit the woman. The officer gave her the option of whether or not i received a reckless driving ticket. He didn't have to do that, it was kind. I appreciate all those that serve; officers, doctors and nurses, firefighters, military members, teachers and others that i may have omitted unintentionally.
Patricia Cantler September 18, 2012 at 09:43 PM
Bravo Mr. Eaton, wonderful words. In my line of work I have the pleasure of working with all the different law enforcement agencies in this county and I have to laugh at them when they say to me that they would never want to do my job. I let them know that my job is NOTHING compared to the job that they do and I thank them when ever I can. Thank you Mr. Eaton for your time served and thank you to all the other police officers that are protecting us now.
Mary white September 20, 2012 at 03:43 PM
I too Appreciate all of our hard working under paid Officers. Your services are more than appreciated. I'm here to tell everyone, I would not be here writing this if it wasn't. For the Harford County Police Officers saving me from myself, in my younger years. Thank you to all those officers for opening my eyes, and God Bless and comfort the family's of those we have lost. Mary Christensen, Shenberger,.
MARY ANN January 29, 2013 at 08:06 AM
Mary Ann I KNOW FIRST HAND THE TOLL IT TAKES ON POLICE OFFICERS.BUT. I HAVE ALSO SEEN OFFICERS WALK AWAY FROM FAMILIES AND HAVE NO REMORSE FOR THE CHILDREN THEY HAVE LEFT SCARED. THEY START ANEW TIME AND TIME AGAIN FORGETTING THE VICTIMS THEY USED IN THE PAST. KEEP IN MIND NOT ONLY IS THE COP A HERO EVERY FAMILY MEMBER AND CHILD LIVE WITH SCARS ALSO.

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