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Our View: Thank you for standing tall for us

Posted: April 3, 2010 10:09 p.m.
Updated: April 4, 2010 4:55 a.m.
 
Editor's note: This editorial originally appeared in the April 7, 2008, edition of The Signal. With Tuesday marking the 40th anniversary of the Newhall Incident, we thought these words were worth repeating.

They were just four men. Four men who went to work like they did every day, never expecting it would be their last.

Forty years ago this Tuesday, four California Highway Patrol officers were gunned down in the line of duty, having responded to a report of someone with a gun.

It took only 4 1/2 minutes for the lives of officers James Pence, Roger Gore, Walt Frago and George Alleyn to come to an end.
The so-called Newhall Incident has since become a textbook training example for young officers coming up through the CHP academy - and a reminder to everyone of the occupational hazards of law enforcement.

Ask 10 people their opinion of cops and you'll likely get 10 different responses, ranging from the proud to the profane.
Plenty of us in the newsroom have heard - and occasionally voiced - frustrations with local law enforcement in the Santa Clarita Valley.

But when all is said and done, the men and women who don CHP and Sheriff's Department uniforms and patrol our community have our respect and admiration.

Day in, day out, they put their lives on the line for all of us, not knowing if the present day will be their last.
When we flee from danger, they run toward it.

Where we might falter in the face of certain injury or death, they are trained to stand fast.
We have our issues and concerns, of course.

The law enforcement ranks have not grown proportionate to the population. The Sheriff's Station is old and cramped. Our valley needs sheriff's and CHP substations.

We encourage efforts to improve those situations.

Meanwhile, to those of you who labor to keep us safe, we say "thank you."

Thank you for remaining faithful to the task despite whatever public opinion might be.

Thank you for patrolling the streets while we sleep soundly.

Thank you for your willingness to put your lives on the line.

Yes, we even thank you for upholding the law and rightfully enforcing it when we disregard it, no matter how trivial we might find the offense.

"To serve and protect."

Thanks for standing up for us.

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