By Mike Risvold
As police officers, we recognize that there are many dangerous jobs in this world. But as police officers, we train and prepare so regularly and so often that we don’t look at the dangers of our profession through the same lens as most. That’s why it hits us so hard when a police officer is killed in the line of duty. It is so unexpected. It is so shocking to us. That’s why thousands of officers from police agencies across the country gather at a police funeral to honor a fallen officer. They then travel from a church to a cemetery, in procession, with lights flashing, paying a final tribute to a brother or a sister. It’s the first step in honoring the sacrifice made by the fallen officer. Not forgetting that sacrifice is the next step in honoring the hero.
Aug. 31 marks 35 years since the death of Wayzata Sgt. James W. Anderson, who was shot and killed in the line of duty. His life was cut far too short, on his 36th birthday. Sgt. Anderson died as he was helping others. His death is a vivid reminder to police officers today as to the dangers of the job.
There was a large funeral back in 1982 in Wayzata. It was followed by a very long police procession to a cemetery – with lights flashing. It was so unexpected. It was so shocking. We honor Sgt. Anderson’s memory by remembering his sacrifice. We have not forgotten. We will never forget!
Mike Risvold is chief of police for the Wayzata Police Department.