CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. -- Mayor Joe Pitts and Clarksville Deputy Police Chief David Crockarell gathered Friday with CPD Police Chaplains, local leaders and families of fallen law enforcement officers to observe Police Memorial Day.
Here is the day's keynote speech, delivered by Deputy Chief Crockarell:
On behalf of your Chief of Police, Al Ansley, I thank you for attending today’s ceremony. I specifically thank our elected officials, our partners in law enforcement from all branches and agencies, our CPD family, family members of our fallen officers and members of the community.
I am honored today to stand before you giving tribute to our fallen officers. I am also honored to stand before you, proud to not only be a member of the Clarksville Police Department but simply proud to be a COP. In a moment I officially recognize and give thanks to individuals who have given the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty for their community, Clarksville, Montgomery County, TN, USA. With this recognition, I audibly reinforce the fact that these men have not been forgotten and I physically display our appreciation for their commitment to this city and the citizens we continue to serve. WE HONOR the following officers followed by a moment of silence:
- Kermit Leonard Nipple – Last Call Aug 9, 1945.
- Kenneth Browning – Last Call Feb 13, 1974.
- Police Service Dog – K9 King, Last Call May 22, 1978.
- Aaron Douglas Glenn – Last Call November 19, 1983.
- David Scott – Last Call June 7, 2002.
- Yamil Baez-Santiago – Last Call June 7, 2002.
- Deputy “Bubba” Johnson – Last Call January 12, 2014.
At this very moment, at this very second, a Police Officer is in Grave Danger. He or She is afraid. Despite the fear they are experiencing, despite their instincts, despite negative media portrayal, despite lack of respect from those they swore to protect, despite victims and witnesses not cooperating with the investigation, despite every fiber in their body, screaming RUN, they take an additional step forward. The officer continues forward as others run away. These officers make decisions in split second time, knowing that each step they take and each split second decision they make will be scrutinized for months by others. Yet, each day Police Officers all over this land suit up and step forward again and again.
Each day a new candidate steps forward taking the oath of office, swearing to protect and serve. I have often asked new officers just prior to their being sworn in, “Do you know that you can get killed in this profession?” The answer is always the same, “Yes sir”, and they step forward raising their right hand. Additionally and personally over my 20 plus years in uniform, especially in more recent years, countless times I have been asked “why would anyone ever want to be a police officer”. My response is always the same, “why would anyone want to do anything else”, and shoulder to shoulder with my fellow officers WE continue to step forward again and again.
Law enforcement in this country as a profession has been travelling through possibly the worst period in its history. The job has become more dangerous. The job has increasingly been negatively portrayed on the nightly news and social media outlets, mostly undeserved when compared to the facts. This job can ruin a marriage, take time away from family and GOD forbid one can be killed in the line of duty or lead to suicide. I can describe and list issue after issue, resulting in someone asking me again, “why would anyone want to be a Police Officer”?
My answer remains: “why would anyone do anything else”?
We were born for this. Members of the Clarksville Police Department were born for this. What the world does not see are the good things, because those accomplishments are not news worthy. CPD is not on an island. We have travelled through and continue to successfully travel through this negatively publicized law enforcement chapter. We are not exempt. We have bad days. We are human. We make mistakes. But, again, we take a step forward.
How DO we move forward, one might ask? We honor and recognize the fallen officers yet we respect and accept the risk involved daily. We train for the worst case scenario. We celebrate the ability to be kind and fair in our enforcement activities, treating both victim and suspect with dignity. We attempt to stay ahead of technology and implement programs such as body worn and in car cameras.
As sworn Police Officers, we recognize that without support from our civilian personnel, from dispatchers to maintenance personnel, we fail. We turn to our community and we get out of the car, seeking non- enforcement interactions. We make every attempt to show our community that we are transparent and that we are human too. As a result, I feel that our community supports us. On a daily basis, we receive compliments and supportive actions by citizens of Montgomery County. We know that our elected officials support us. Our equipment is top notch. We continue to improve in areas such as our facilities and compensation. And we thank our Mayor and city council members for that.
I tell our officers that they will face 30 seconds of Grave Danger every week. The problem is, they never know when that 30 seconds is coming.
In surviving that 30 seconds, I personally thank those who are behind the scenes assisting these officers in their attempt to not be a statistic and assisting these officers in their attempt to go home safely every day. I say thank you to the family members, who pray for our safe return daily. Thank you to our dispatchers who can’t see what we see yet they walk with us daily, keeping track of our every move and every transmission. Thank you to all of our non-sworn staff, those who maintain our facilities, enter our reports, purchase our equipment and work on our vehicles. Thank you to our training staff who work hard at keeping our officers proficient and ultimately keeping us ready for that 30 seconds. Thank you to our elected officials who support our efforts either through the budgetary process, salary compensation and positive representation on our behalf as they speak with constituents.
Most importantly, thank you to the citizens of Clarksville, Montgomery County. You have stood beside us despite what you see every day on the daily news or social media. People stop me constantly and thank me for being a police officer. With this enormous amount of support in mind, I am proud to be a Clarksville, TN Police Officer, always have been and always will be. GOD Bless this Profession, those who have served, those who serve today and those who serve for years to come.
Thank you for your time.
Clarksville Deputy Police Chief David Crockarell delivers the keynote speech Friday at the Police Memorial Day ceremony.