Police officers’ image has taken a hit in recent days with the controversy swirling around the shooting death of a young man in Ferguson, Mo., by a police officer. The young man was black, the officer is white. Questions are surrounding the community and the aftershock of the shooting has rippled into police departments all across the nation.
Then something like this happens in a small South Texas town that makes you take pause and ponder the risk that our law enforcement officers face every single day they’re on duty.
Elmendorf Police Chief Michael Pimentel was shot to death while trying to arrest a man. Pimentel had been waiting outside Joshua Lopez’s home to issue an arrest warrant. A man came out and shot Pimentel twice. The chief was taken to a local hospital, but died from his wounds.
I’ve long supported the work of good police officers and understood instinctively that every single call they make is fraught with potential danger.
There’s no word yet on the nature of the arrest warrant Chief Pimentel was seeking to serve. I haven’t yet read whether the suspect had a record of violent crime. Perhaps he did. Thus, the chief knew he was putting himself in danger by waiting for the suspect to come out of his house. The chief also might not have expected the suspect to agree quietly to being arrested.
It still brings to light the hazards that police officers face every time they put on the uniform, strap on their weapon, pin on their badge and go to work.
Nothing is “routine” in police work. Nothing at all.