What do you think about when you see the flashing red and blue lights in your rear view mirror? That’s pretty easy to answer. But what does the law enforcement officer who’s walking up to your car think about?
Two events during the past couple of weeks have provided chilling reminders that those public servants potentially put their lives on the line every time they answer a call, no matter how small it may seem.
The first, of course, was Austin Police Ofc. Jaime Padron, gunned down as he approached a man accused of shoplifting at an Austin Walmart.
On the same day as Ofc. Padron’s funeral, the Texas Department of Public Safety, at its Port O’Connor harbor, commissioned a patrol vessel as the Bill Davidson.
Davidson, the best friend of retired longtime Rockdale State Trooper Don Wardlow, was gunned down 20 years and two weeks ago on a stretch of US 59 near Victoria.
Both deaths were shocking, senseless and provided chilling examples of what must be in the back of every law enforcement officer’s mind on every call.
Padron, a seasoned veteran of the Austin and San Angelo law enforcement communities, had certainly handled hundred of calls which appeared more serious than a shoplifter in a Walmart.
And Davidson? He stopped a car because one of its taillights wasn’t working. It was stolen. The 18-year-old driver shot him in the neck. Davidson died three days later.
Davidson and Wardlow had known each other since they were third graders in Belton.
Bill Davidson and Jaime Padron. Two good men doing their duty. Two of literally thousands of men and women. who put their lives on the line every time they turn on those flashers or step out of a patrol car.
Something to think about. Something you can be sure they think about more than they let on.—M.B.