This year and the last few we have mourned the death of many police officers. Far too many killed in the line of duty. Even more, were taken by their own hand when the pressures got too great. We almost overlook the great number of officers both active and retired who pass away due to illness or accident. I remember my father always going to wakes and now it is me, doing the same.
Just this afternoon I was notified a dear friend passed away. She had been diagnosed with cancer several years ago. The last time I saw her I asked how she was doing, and she said fine. Clearly, she was just saying that even though it wasn’t true.
Back in 1994 I had just left the west side and transferred into the Belmont and Western District (019). After a few good arrests, I was asked to go on a mission car 1906Z. It was a theft from auto mission. It was fall and the holiday season would soon be upon us. I was given a few names to pick a partner from. Not knowing any on the list, my friend Ray, (he passed away recently too) who was the Tact team secretary suggested Sandy Mazur. I’m so glad he did.
Sandy had three years less than I did on the job. She was smart and cheerful but not overly so. We teamed up with a pair of detectives and set up a bait car in the shopping areas. Sandy would drive up to a parking spot in a red Firebird and pretend to stumble out of the car.
In plain view inside the car were wrapped gifts, a cell phone, and a purse. Of course, the gifts were dummies, the cell phone broken, and the purse empty. She left the doors unlocked and stumbled down the block and around the corner.
There she would either meet up with me in the surveillance van or in the takedown car we were using. We would then sit and wait until someone took the bait. While we didn’t make that many arrests that season Theft from Auto stats were down in the shopping areas that season.
Well, we spend a lot of time just sitting there talking about our families and friends. When the mission finished, we were assigned to other duties and never worked together again. We did stay good friends. I ultimately got promoted and moved on to another district.
After that, she got promoted and moved on. Occasionally we might be able to meet for a cup of coffee but not often. We would see each other on social occasions like retirement or promotion parties. We always took the time to ask about our families and it always made me feel good to see her.
In the twenty-five years since I met her, I can’t think of anyone speaking poorly about her. I doubt that the same could be said in my case. Today her death has shocked so many people who loved and cared about her.
In the grand scheme of things, the only people who will notice her passing is friends and family. There will be no headlines or news flashes. That is the way most people pass. That is why it doesn’t get noticed as much.
Now for police officers, the loss of a friend who you worked with is different. I’ve worked in an office and store before I became a police officer. Sure, some of there were my friends. Just not the same as a friend who has had your back and you knew you could trust your life to them. I knew Sandy had my back. Everyone who worked with Sandy felt that way.
Add these deaths to line of duty deaths, and suicides and the emotional toll is huge for most police officers.
So to honor all our fellow officers who pass away quietly from Cancer or Heart problems or anything termed natural causes take a moment to raise a glass of beer, wine, whiskey or water whatever you drink and say thank you, you will be missed, you made life better.
Stay safe everyone, run low and zigzag.
Robert Weisskopf (ret. Lt. CPD)
At the bottom line, it all comes down to saving just ONE life.
Robert enjoys hearing from his readers. You can email him here: EMAIL
P.S. I always welcome your comments and appreciate your feedback. Additionally you can find more online articles from me as well as links to my novels and cookbook at www.bobweisskopf.com
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