Blue Lights Flashing

There are really only three times you gather a lot of First Responders in one location.  The first is when there is a major incident (terrorist attack).

A “Line of Duty Death” is the second event that brings the First Responder family together.
We in Phoenix are dealing with the loss of another officer, killed in the line of duty.

It started with a simple Tweet from the Phoenix Police account at 4:11pm on March 3rd: “43rd Ave and Bethany shut down by #PhxPD. It will be shut down for several hours for police incident. Please choose alternate route.

A little over an hour and a half later, the news broke:

Final services for Detective Hobbs will be on Monday morning.  The funeral is in North Glendale, and the line of blue lights will travel down the 101 Freeway from Glendale to north Phoenix, where Detective Hobbs will be laid to rest.

Freeway ramps will be shut down, roads will be blocked, and hundreds of First Responders will descend upon the Valley of the Sun to say farewell to one of their own. And all along the procession route, the community will line up to say goodbye as well.

Funeral Procession for Phoenix Pd Officer Darrell Raetz, May 25, 2013.
Luckily, there have been a couple of events in the news over the past week that show the third type of event that brings First Responders together. Community Involvement.If you were anywhere on Twitter over the past couple of days, you’ve probably seen the hashtag #TylersTroops or #Cards4Tyler.  It started as a Rhode Island mother’s Facebook plea for Birthday cards from local First Reponders for her son, Tyler Seddon, who is fighting leukemia for the second time. It quickly ballooned into #TylersTroops, a convoy of emergency vehicles and personnel from several states, who descended on the town of Burrillville on Thursday morning.  Local media is reporting almost 1,000 first responders from several Northeastern states were there to celebrate Tyler’s 7th Birthday in style.

And again, a couple of days ago a story surfaced on Facebook about a 10 year old who wanted to be a police officer, but became the target of online bullying. Only this time the response was online.

(function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = “//connect.facebook.net/en_US/all.js#xfbml=1”; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs); }(document, ‘script’, ‘facebook-jssdk’));

The Law Enforcement community was right there to back him up, both on Facebook and on Twitter, with #HappyBirthdayTrey.

There were two follow-up stories from the family, thanked everyone who stood up and spoke up. Apparently he was picked up from school in a PD unit, also.

These are the events that make you smile as a member of the community.

For every sad event that draws the First Responder community together, there are several happy events. They never totally even out the scale, but they make the good times easier to remember when the storm clouds roll in.

Photo courtesy of Youtube.

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