Seattle police work with the addicted, the violent, the hopeless; they bring resources, care and order to problems. They are the first to deal with danger, and almost always the first to offer hope.
In a world where it is common to hear allegations of police misconduct, it is easy to forget that police officers quietly but constantly bring safety, comfort, understanding and aid to all facets of our society.
On Friday, the Seattle Police Foundation will recognize the quiet heroics of the women and men of the Seattle Police Department. It is a chance for the community to see the overwhelmingly positive impact that they have on our community. In this day of extreme and often unfounded criticism, it is essential for us to recognize these officers’ exceptional contributions and sacrifices.
Consider Officer Chris Couet, who, on patrol, recognized and stopped a rape-in-progress, protecting the victim from further harm and holding a violent predator accountable.
Take the Navigation Team, which works in homeless encampments to help direct people to services. Officers have helped pregnant heroin addicts seek treatment and break their dependence. They have helped scared and vulnerable homeless kids find shelter and a way to safety. Team members buy clothes, food, even bus tickets out of their own pockets to help those they get to know.
And there is Officer Jim Ritter, who spearheaded SPD’s Safe Place program, a community partnership that trains businesses and other groups to recognize and shelter threatened members of the LGBTQ community who too often remain victims of crime and bullying. Officer Ritter’s work significantly increases awareness of this dark aspect of an otherwise progressive city.
Officers Randy Jokela and Jason Drummond helped a homeless heroin addict who had racked up six felony convictions before age 30 to get clean and gain employment.
Officer Dung Do brought a man who had overdosed and had no pulse back with CPR.
Officers Enoch Lee and Rick Norris saved the life of a man in mental crisis who had self-inflicted multiple, deep stab wounds.
Officers William Dowsing and Bryan Weber revived a man who had suffered a massive heart attack while driving.
Sgt. Jim Britt and officers Jack Johns, German Barreto, Garth Lindelef, Nic Meyst, Nick Burk, Ryan Levens and Sandro Fleming rushed into a burning apartment building to pull dozens of residents out.
These are just a few examples of the quiet heroics practiced every day by SPD officers. They work with the addicted, the violent, the hopeless; they bring resources, care and order to problems. They have been thrust into the role of front-line responders in a thoroughly broken mental-health system. They are the first to deal with danger, and almost always the first to offer hope.
Let’s join the Seattle Police Foundation in saying thank you to our officers for their substantial contribution to our greater good.