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Police, firefighter heroes of 9/11

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Posted: Sunday, September 7, 2003 10:00 pm | Updated: 6:37 pm, Wed May 16, 2012.

answered the call of public safety

Do you remember where you were and what you were doing when you were first informed of the World Trade Center tragedy Sept. 11, 2001?

If you're like most individuals, your recollection of that time will be razor sharp.

The United States, and eventually the world, would eventually fall into an economic and organizational emergency in the aftermath of the destruction that day.

Lt. Frank GrenkoMore than 2,800 people were killed in the World Trade Center. Of those, almost 200 of them were firefighters and about 35 of them were law enforcement officers.

In the months since the attack on the WTC, hundreds of heroic stories have been published and properly recognized by memorials, medals, testimonials, etc. I'm quite sure that hundreds of other acts of heroism were never brought to light, for one reason or another.

Many of the public safety officers who died that day were not in the buildings when the towers crumbled to the ground. The officers had responded to the scene from other fire stations and police stations located miles away.

Such is the call for a public safety officer, whether the officer is a firefighter or a law enforcement officer, responding to scenes of disaster or serious criminal acts requires the courage of a special breed of person.

Who else will drive, as quickly as possible, to the scene of a building that is enveloped in fire? Who else will be sent to an apartment building that has an in-progress gang related shooting spree occurring? Who responds you your emergency when you call the 9-1-1 emergency line? The answer is: A public safety officer.

Having been in law enforcement now for 27 years, I remain thankful that there are public safety officers willing to risk life and limb for those who reside in our communities. Think about that for a few seconds. Life and limb.

One of the most recent law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty had responded to a simple trespassing call. The person who was trespassing shot and killed the officer. This was a trespassing complaint, no more than that, and an officer was killed over such a minor violation of the law.

Every day when a public safety officer goes on-duty, that officer may not make it to his or her end of shift. That is the reality of the job.

On Thursday, please take a moment to reflect on what happened on September 11th 2001. Think about the magnitude of the event. And when you see a fire truck or police car drive by, think that they could be your first responders to your emergency.

After all, "Who you gonna call?" Ghostbusters is not the answer. You'll have public safety officers coming from all directions.

Questions, comments, or observations for Behind the Badge can be mailed to Lt. Frank Grenko, 230 W. Elm St., Lodi, CA 95240; e-mailed to fgrenko@pd.lodi.gov; or telephoned to his voice mail at 333-6800, Box 2975.

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