Explorations in Policing, Faith and Life (With a hint of humor, product reviews, news and whatever catches my attention)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Risk, Death and the Job.




I was notified about Deputy Robert Britton death on duty through the nationwide law enforcement prayer chain that I am a part of because of my membership in FCPO. He was killed by a wounded cow.

The Link to the Story

The Story from the Star Telegram

TYLER, Texas — An East Texas deputy has died of head injuries suffered when he was attacked by an injured cow while he directed traffic around the half-ton animal.

Smith County Sheriff J.B. Smith says Deputy Robert Britton of Tyler died Monday at East Texas Medical Center in Tyler, where he'd been since the incident early Thursday near Bullard, 95 miles southeast of Dallas and 15 miles south of Tyler.

Smith had said the 54-year-old deputy had responded to a report of a stray cow struck by a vehicle and was directing traffic on Farm Road 344 when the cow charged him. He says Britton was knocked into the air and landed head-first on the pavement before the animal continued the attack until other deputies rescued Britton.

Smith says the cow was euthanized.
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The probability of being killed/murdered on the job by the hand of another is very slim.  According to the Washington Post there were 160 officers killed in the line of duty in 2010 (all levels, local, state, federal), out of around 900,000 officers country wide.  The officers that I have known that have died on the job have been killed in traffic crashes, heart attacks, accidents or environmental hazards.  The real risk on this job is the environment in which we conduct our business.  This risk is not understood by the public we serve.

In this case Deputy Britton was responding to a traffic accident involving car verses cow.  I was talking to my friends about the incident at Baker's Square waiting for our kids to get out of Awana.  I was being asked, if the cow was wounded why he didn't shoot it, or why he didn't hear it coming or...whatever.  I had to tell them that the cow still has value if it can be properly butchered, if the cow is shot it can not be used for anything.  Britton was trying to keep the rancher from loosing out on the total value of his property.  Second, when you are out directing traffic, it is noisy and it takes all of your attention.  The motoring public does not pay attention and will hit you if you are not watching every direction at once, I have been brushed by side mirrors more times than I would like to remember.  Third, most people have no experience with large animals.  I have been around a few cattle when I lived in Waco, Texas and they are huge and they are fast (got chased out of a pasture once).  I have had a few deer who were struck by a car, suddenly bound up and run away. If they had connected with me what happened here could easily have happen to me.

There were two times where I remember cutting it close.  One was a fire department assist for a reported heart attack and another FD assist for a burning stove.  The heart attack had been caused because the family that lived in the house had set off about five roach bug bombs but didn't leave the house.  I was the first one on scene and walked right in and promptly got poisoned.  I was found bent over on the front lawn fighting for air.  I beat the FD to the stove fire and met the family standing in the hallway of the apartment while smoke was pouring out of their front door.  I was told that "Molly" was still in the apartment, so I ran in to save "Molly" and of course "Molly" was their cat (I think they didn't say please save Molly our pet cat because I would have looked at them with the "yeah right" look), which when I had made it to the back bedroom promptly ran out of the apartment saving itself.  And again, I was found bent over on the front lawn gasping for breath.

That's the real risk to this job and since its not sensational or dynamic or "Hollywood", the public just doesn't understand what's being risked for them.   Deputy Britton lost his life trying to protect a rancher's property, directing traffic for others safety and just doing his job.

Our prayers are for his family and the ones he left behind

1 Timothy 6:12
Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses

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1 comment:

covnitkepr1 said...

Such a tragic, sensless loss. We need more Christians in law enforcement.
I write and maintain a spiritual blog which I have titled “AccordingtotheBook” and I’d like to invite you to follow it.