Letter in honor of critically injured trooper prays for safety over Memorial Day weekend
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Memorial Day weekend is a holiday when many spend time with family on a road trip. Although most will have a relaxing weekend with loved ones, it can be a difficult time for those working in law enforcement.
Earlier in the week, an incident served as a grim reminder of that reality. Two troopers were injured after they were struck by a car while assisting in a vehicle pursuit. One had minor injuries, while the other, Trooper George Baker, was hospitalized in critical condition.
RELATED: 2 arrested in connection to police chase in Hammond that left 2 troopers injured
Although the suspects are behind bars, Tpr. Baker remains in the hospital. On Saturday, May 23, LSP Col. Kevin Reeves released the following message on Facebook. It was written by Tpr. Michael Bennett, LSP Troop C.
You see us out there. Driving on your commute to work, school, home, or church. You see our patrol units. Immaculate white. Clean. Red reflective letters. Dark blue boot on the door.
You know what is inside that car. A man or woman clad in dark blue, trimmed in gold piping. Gold boot badge and gold buckle. Mirror-shined boots. Blue Smokey hat. A Louisiana State Trooper.
You see us on the side of the road. Writing tickets during traffic enforcement. Investigating a traffic crash. Sometimes arresting a poor soul who made a bad choice and decided to drive after having too much to drink.
You don’t see how difficult it is to get this job. The hiring process. The multiple interviews. The long waits for a phone call to see if you get a chance to be one of the best.
You don’t see the jumping up and down in excitement when you finally get the call and receive the offer of employment. The sense of awe you feel when you finally realize you’re getting a chance to wear the blue and gold.
You don’t see the training academy. Six months of physical and mental endurance. Tens of thousands of push ups. Hundreds of miles of running and swimming. The unbelievable soreness. The sleepless nights. Thousands of hours of lectures and study. Range time. Driver training. Officer survival. Being away from our family for all but 2 nights a week...often to spend those nights at home studying for an exam when we return.
You don’t see the sense of pride on graduation day. The way our chest swells and most eyes mist when our loved one pins that badge on our uniform for the first time. You don’t hear the thunder from our boots marching as we sing “Hail, State Police” in cadence. You don’t see the feeling of accomplishment for graduating and the weight of responsibility that was just placed on your shoulders.
There is so much more that you don’t see. We are husbands and wives, brother and sisters, sons and daughters, fathers and mothers. We chose a different path in life than most and we are both loved and hated for it. I, for one, understand that. The badge we wear does not make us any stronger. It serves to hold us to a higher standard. We took this job to help people and we take it very seriously.
Now, as I write this, one of us is down. Critically injured while assisting another agency. Regardless of fault, one of us lies in God’s hands. A husband, father, brother, and son. A former United States Marine who chose to continue to serve the public. It could have been any one of us. We have all been in a similar situation that could have caused such a traumatic outcome.
We all knew the risks when we took this profession. When we raised our right hand and took our oath. That being said, none of that makes this any easier.
Please, pray. Pray for the family. The doctors. The medical staff. Pray for everyone that has to try to put this in the back of their mind and suit up today for their tour of duty.
Buckle up and drive safe, everyone.
To my fellow Troopers, Godspeed and be safe out there.
Click here to report a typo.
Copyright 2020 WAFB. All rights reserved.