Officer’s death should wake us up

The death of Mendota Heights Police Officer Scott Patrick, a 19-year-veteran of the force, is tragic to say the least, and it should make us all angry.

Laid to rest Wednesday, Patrick was fatally shot after making a simple traffic stop last week – in the middle of the day – and the incident is just one example of how dangerous the law enforcement profession is. It’s that danger that should make us appreciate our cops and troopers even more. Too bad we need a reminder like this.

According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, Patrick became the state’s 236th police officer to die in the line of duty. And deaths in the line of duty among state troopers is up 2 percent nationwide.

We all know small-town cops get a bad rap. Some say all they care to do is pull over and trap speeders or camp out near the bars on a Saturday night. But when trouble comes knockin’ it’s the officers who put their lives on the line to control situations and, ultimately, protect us.

Like those who serve in the military, our law enforcement officers deserve our respect. What happened to Officer Patrick, who was just 47 and leaves behind a wife and two daughters, is somewhat rare, but it can happen in any community, not just the larger ones.

A little perspective: How many times do you put your life on the line at your job?