No, this is not a math lesson. Most – if not all of us learned this kind of simple arithmetic when we were very young.

What is 148 + 160?

It is 308. Three hundred and eight.

## IT IS NOT JUST A NUMBER

Rather, it represents the number of COPS who we buried in America in 2018.

Think about that for a moment.

There are 308 families who are enduring a gaping hole in their lives. There is an empty chair at the dinner table. On every holiday, at every event, the whole family will weep and they think of the person whom they lost.

Then, there are the agencies – the police departments, the sheriff’s offices, the state barracks, and every other type of cop group that lost one of their own who will feel the loss. We are a family, too.

Think of one of our typical days. We meet in the locker room. I can only speak as a man on some of this. We might shower together or just get dressed. Then, on to roll call / briefing with its typical news, updates and verbal banter. Once on the street, we work together. There’s the simple stuff that can get mundane. But, then there is that call. There might be physical fights – maybe even gunfire.

Every one of us knows that at any moment, gunfire could erupt. If that happens, each one of us will do everything possible to ensure that every member of our team gets through it unscathed. If one of us gets into a fight, we are all in the fight. When the workday ends, we think of the phrase that we, “live and die together.”

Death struck 308 groups of cops all across the nation without regard to locale, weather or anything else. Every cop in every cop group is emotionally tied in a knot over those deaths.

There are those cops who died in the Line of Duty. There were 148 of them. Most were either fatally shot with a gun or fatally injured in a car wreck.

## WHAT HAPPENED TO THE OTHERS?

According to Blue H.E.L.P., in 2018, 160 officers committed suicide. Yes, they took their own lives.

That is more than those killed in the Line of Duty!!

Yes, unfortunately, it is.

## HOW CAN THIS BE?

I have long believed that for those of us on the street, our greatest aggravation and risk comes from inside our own police station buildings, i.e. rank or the administration. Unfortunately and unexplainably, it seems that for a number of years, those who get promoted are largely, “Educated Assholes.”

That’s a term coined by my Grandmother. It applies to folks who have a great amount of book learning but lack the brains to come in out of the rain. Most of us Street Cops do (or have) reported to someone like that.

Leaders  like that aggravate the Hell out of good Street Cops and repeatedly put them at undue risk. Seeing no alternative, some of them find relief by ending it all.

Then, there are politicians who get cops killed with stupid, inane laws

and rules. For example, I believe California recently changed when a cop may use deadly force. For all purposes, shooting some jerk on the street is now virtually impossible without the cop being charged criminally. California isn’t the only state adopting bullshit laws.

Then are the civil rights idiots who stir up the citizenry every time a white cop kills a black citizen. BEFORE THE FACTS ARE KNOWN. Before there has even been an investigation, the cop who did the shooting has been declared “GUILTY” in the court of public opinion. The cop will lose his job, be subjected to many death threats, be forced out of his home and be forced to  prematurely end his career. (Think of Darren Wilson in Ferguson, MO)

## THERE ARE NOT ENOUGH COPS

America is running short of cops. Imagine that.

Maybe we should send Thank You notes to Mssrs. Obama, Eric Holder, Al Sharpton and their ilk for encouraging Black Americans to believe the worst about the police officers who are trying to protect them. “Thanks” guys.

Recruiting is in the tank. Police academy classes are being canceled due to lack of students. Or, they are running with a handful of recruits when there used to be a cadets hundred, or more.

Young people are turning up their noses unless the annual salary is sky-high. Very few communities can afford that.

Imagine what a young person is thinking about applying for a cop job today:

“Once I go through all that training and no matter how hard I try to do well, many will scorn me. Others will verbally admit that if they get a chance, they will kill me. All of this simply because of the uniform I will wear.”

“Every action I take, every decision I make will be second-guessed and subjected to Monday-morning-quarterbacking by people who have NO CLUE what the job actually requires.”

“Often for no valid reason at all, I will have to silently endure being kicked in the balls. I will work somewhere else.”

## THE END OF THE LINE

For too many in 2008, the end came while being carried by six pall bearers. Some are there due to accidents or at the hands of the scum of society who killed them. Others were killed by bosses who made stupid rules or politicians who passed stupid laws.

And, in 2018, One hundred, sixty of them brought the curtain down, themselves – mostly with their own duty weapon.

Others made it through. However they were injured physically or mentally and forever incapacitated. Others found a damning solution at the bottom of a liquor or pill bottle.

Yes, some are fortunate to make it to retirement physically whole and mentally solid. Congratulations to all of them.

You and I promised to give our own life to save that of a brother, if necessary. We commonly think of it in terms of a bullet shot by bad guy.

Maybe we now have to begin thinking of that bullet coming from our Brother’s own gun.

At the bottom line, it’s all about saving just ONE life.