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Editorial: Officer's tragic death hits home

Last week's shooting that killed Mendota Heights police officer Scott Patrick happened a hundred miles from here. But it hit home, right here in Douglas County, in more ways than one. Many people in our area know the Patrick family. In his childh...

Blue light
The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office is selling blue light bulbs to honor law enforcement officers who were killed in the line of duty, including Mendota Heights Police Officer Scott Patrick. Photo by Al Edenloff | Echo Press

Last week’s shooting that killed Mendota Heights police officer Scott Patrick happened a hundred miles from here.
But it hit home, right here in Douglas County, in more ways than one.
Many people in our area know the Patrick family. In his childhood, Patrick spent his summers in Douglas County. He earned his degree at Alexandria Technical College. His father, Richard, was born and raised in the Belle River/Carlos area. The family lived near Lake Aaron and Mill Lake before they found a place on Lake Osakis, where they still have a family cabin. They also have many relatives in the area.
Besides that connection, there is a special bond among law enforcement officers that transcends distance and geography. When one of them is hurt or killed in the line of duty, it affects all of them. They know the around-the-clock dangers their jobs pose, that a domestic disturbance call can quickly put them in harm’s way, that a report of juvenile trouble can suddenly lead to gunfire, or in the case of Officer Patrick, a routine traffic stop can turn deadly.
It’s hard for those in other occupations to imagine that kind of danger. One minute, you’re going about your everyday job, trying to make things safer for others, and the next, you’re mortally wounded.
Law enforcement officers get different reactions from people. Some, out of misunderstanding or unfamiliarity, only fear them. Some – those violating the law – loathe them. Most, thankfully, respect and appreciate them. They realize that officers are the “thin blue line” that separates us from violence and anarchy.
If any measure of good can come out of Officer Patrick’s senseless death, it’s this: We should all take a few minutes to fully appreciate our men and women in law enforcement. We should never take their service for granted. They keep us safe. Here’s a way to show your support. In response to the tragic shooting, the Douglas County Sheriff Office started up its “Blue Light” fund once again for the Patrick family. Light bulbs can be purchased at the sheriff’s office for $5.
“In times of tragedy, strength and hope rises to the top as we all come together to support each other,” the sheriff’s office said on its Facebook page while announcing the Blue Light effort. “These lights can be purchased to show support for any officer who has fallen in the line of duty while executing their job to protect and to serve, paying the ultimate price.”
The sheriff’s office added, “You can purchase a light and keep it on to represent the fallen officer during this time and also to represent that you support your local law enforcement at any time of the year, not just during a time when someone has been killed in the line of duty.”
Let’s long remember Officer Scott Patrick and all law enforcement officers who put their lives on the line every day for all of us.

Related Topics: POLICE
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The following is an opinion column written by an Echo Press editorial staff member. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the Echo Press.
This week in history in Douglas County.
This week in history in Douglas County.
The following is an opinion column written by an Echo Press editorial staff member. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the Echo Press.