December 8, 2009


I'm sure by now, even if you're one of my reader friends who lives far away from me, you've heard about the tragedy we faced here in western Washington just after Thanksgiving. Four of our local police officers were shot and killed, while working in a coffee shop in the city of Lakewood, just 20 miles from my house. The story is tragic for so many reasons, not the least of which is that it was a random shooting, execution-style. Not a month earlier, the same sort of shooting occured in Seattle, where a police officer was killed in his patrol car.

The killer was apprehended and killed, in a confrontation with another officer, just days later. That's good and bad, I suppose. He's off the streets, but there will never be any closure for the families of the fallen officers. He will have had the last word, forever. That makes me overwhelmingly sad. I can't begin to imagine the sorrow and loss their families and friends are enduring right now, and will continue to struggle with for years to come. There is nothing that will ever make this right, but there may be a smal bit of comfort in knowing that they gave their lives in honor, protecting others, being selfless and brave. That is far more than I will ever be able to claim for myself.

I am the wife of a Firefighter and former Reserve Police Officer, so this is close to home for my family and me. My husband, John, proudly wore his Class A uniform this morning, as he's done far too often this past year, and joined thousands of his colleagues in the funeral procession that will honor these officers today. They will join thousands more, their families, and members of the public in the Tacoma Dome, because that's the only place big enough to hold all the people who want to show their respect and honor the fallen. And it's still not big enough. Our streets are lined already with people standing along the roadsides, all the way along the procession, in the freezing cold. There are kids and elderly people, business people who have taken the day off to bow their heads.

I didn't know any of these officers, but I do know what they did, every day, on my behalf. I am proud to live in the community they served and to have been given the gift of safety and security, simply because they did their jobs.

Even if you're not here, if you're out in Maine, or Arkansas, or Connecticut, I'm willing to bet you know police officers or firefighters who make you proud. Take a minute, right now, to tell them how much you appreciate the service they give. Believe me, today is one of those day that a simple "thank you" will mean more than you know.

In tribute...

Lakewood Police Chief Bret Farrar publicly identified the four slain police officers after an extensive and very difficult notification process. “All four of our slain officers had been with this department since it started five years ago. Sergeant Mark Renninger and Officers Ronald Owens, Tina Griswold, and Greg Richards were police veterans when they started and all have been outstanding professionals. This is a very difficult time for our families and our officers. The families will have many challenges ahead of them and we ask that their privacy be respected. Please keep our families and Lakewood Police in your prayers.”

Sergeant Mark Renninger, age 39 with thirteen years of law enforcement experience. He is survived by a wife and three children.

Officer Ronald Owens, age 37 with twelve years of law enforcement experience. He is survived by a former wife and a

Officer Tina Griswold, age 40 with fourteen years of law enforcement experience. She is survived by her husband and two children.

Officer Greg Richards, age 42 with eight years of law enforcement experience. He is survived by a wife and three children.


  1. Thank you so much for sending me this link... yes, the entire law enforcement community grieves when any one officer is hurt. We've been covering this story even in the Carolinas for the past week now, and I just thank my lucky stars that my husband has never been put in a situation like this.

    Thank you for a moving tribute to all our men and women who serve and protect!


  2. This is such a good blog....thank you for posting it. We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to these brave souls....I watched a lot of docs for Dec 7 (Pearl Harbor) and it just shook me how much people who put themselves out on the line for others are unsung heros.....hug your hubby.....