Our view: Remember, honor those who’ve fallenOnce a year, they gather, a somber, respectful group. They remember. And they honor not only the men and women who put on the uniform every day and who put their lives on the line as law enforcement officers but also the husbands, wives, children and others who live with one ear on a police scanner and the other peeled to a phone they pray never rings.
Once a year, they gather, a somber, respectful group. They remember. And they honor not only the men and women who put on the uniform every day and who put their lives on the line as law enforcement officers but also the husbands, wives, children and others who live with one ear on a police scanner and the other peeled to a phone they pray never rings.
They pay tribute to those who don’t return — and to those left behind.
Once a year; it hardly seems often enough.
That’s a sentiment that remains true this year even with special meaning attached to the annual law enforcement memorial event in Duluth. This year — on May 17 at noon at the Law Enforcement Center on Arlington Avenue — officers and others will pay special tribute to Lt. Arthur Briggs, who died in the line of duty more than 104 years ago, on April 28, 1908. Briggs responded to a report of a drunken man in a laundry in West Duluth. Briggs collapsed during a struggle after finding the man out back. His cause of death was listed as natural. His heart simply gave out. Because of that Briggs’ name was never inscribed on a plaque in Duluth City Hall honoring officers who’ve died in the line of duty.
But Briggs’ name is being added now after retired Duluth police officer Ron Leino researched Briggs’ background and provided information to the St. Louis County Medical Examiner’s Office. The office changed Briggs’ cause of death from “natural” to “homicide” due to the “stress of a struggle with an intoxicated suspect,” as the News Tribune’s Mark Stodghill reported this week.
The acknowledgement is long overdue as Briggs, whose funeral was the largest ever in Duluth at the time, takes his place in history — and on the plaque — with seven fellow Duluth officers who perished while working to make our city a safer, better place.
In addition, the Superior Police Department has lost at least six officers and a constable through the years, the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Department a deputy, and the Solway Township Police a constable. Nationally, an average of 155 law-enforcement officers is killed every year in the line of duty; that’s about one every 53 hours, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial fund.
Details about some fallen officers have been lost in history. The stories that remain are heartbreaking and tragic.
But by remembering we honor, even if hardly often enough.