Members of the King County Sheriff’s Office and their families gathered at the downtown Seattle courthouse Friday.
They came to view a new memorial for 16 officers who have died in the line of duty in the agency’s history.
They said they are also mourning the death this week of Tacoma Police Officer Reginald “Jake” Gutierrez, who was shot while answering a domestic violence call.
Sergeant Loi Dawkins:
“We know what we are signed up to do. Of course one would like for everyone to get along and for everybody to comply and for everybody to be respectful to one another. But we also know that there are inherent dangers to this job and we manage to deal with it as best as we can.”
Sergeant Mark Rorvik:
“I think it’s scary. I’ve been doing this 25 years and it still scares me. I hate to say it’s become accepted, but I’ve been through so many of these in 25 years that I kind of know the drill and what to expect. It doesn’t make it any easier. But I do think when you’re new to this job it is a shock and a wakeup call, and it does hit home with you.”
Officer Troy Chaffee:
“Since about the last year when we have more and more media coverage of officers being injured or killed in the line of duty, I’ve had more people come up to me and say ‘thank you for what you do’ than I have in my 18 years in the sheriff’s office.”
Officer Shawn Thomas:
“I have kids and my kids are sad. They worry about me going to work. But we just want to be out here helping people. And we keep on doing what we’re supposed to be doing because that’s why we got hired and that’s what we want to do. But I just want it to stop.”
Jerry Gilley, Master Police Officer with the City of Newcastle:
“We have to do our job, we have to go back out there and continue on. To not do that would be to dishonor the fallen, and we’ll keep on keeping on.”
(Deputy Richard Herzog was killed in 2002 and is included on the memorial. Gilley was his partner.)
King County Sheriff John Urquhart:
"So far this year nationwide, 134 police officers and sheriffs' deputies — men and women — have died or been killed on the job. Sixty-three of those were killed as a result of gunfire, a 64 percent increase over 2015 — and we've still got a month left in this year. In several of those cases, officers were targeted solely because they put on a uniform, a badge and a gun."