Thursday, April 8, 2010

Honoring Fallen Officers

The last few weeks have been incredibly tough for the Metropolitan Police Department and our local law enforcement community.

On March 24, we lost Officer David Haynes. He was a young officer whose career with the Department was only just beginning, but yet he had already proven just what kind of officer he would be—in less than a year he’d received two Chief’s Letters of Commendation for his actions. He’d served his country as a United States Marine before eventually choosing to serve this city as a police officer. He spent nearly all of his adult life in service. As I recently said to Metropolitan Police Department employees, any police department in the country would have loved to have a man like David Haynes on their force. What an honor that he chose us.

On the day Officer Haynes was laid to rest, there was another tragedy for the law enforcement community. Maplewood Police Sergeant George Ross was among the hundreds of area police officers who showed their support for our police family by attending Officer Haynes’ funeral mass and also being part of the processional that went to Jefferson Barracks Cemetery. After leaving the cemetery, Sergeant Ross had a heart attack while he was driving on the Interstate. His patrol car left the road and eventually hit a parked car. He was rushed to a hospital and the law enforcement community and many others had hoped for a full recovery. Today, Sergeant Ross died. There is no doubt in my mind that Sergeant Ross had the presence of mind to steer his patrol car off the interstate—that even in his last coherent moments, he was thinking of the safety of the citizens that he spent 33 years serving. He spent his last day on earth mourning our officer. We will spend many years to come mourning Sergeant Ross.