Youngstrom Anniversary

A year ago, Ofr. Kenyon Youngstrom was shot and killed.

ThinBlueLine

I was there.

This was how I felt at the time.

Today, I am remem­ber­ing him and the experience.

You can read the orig­i­nal post below…thanks for reading.

11−99.”

Offi­cer down.”

If you’re in law enforce­ment, you know what these terms mean.  You know the chill it sends down your spine.  You can feel the adren­a­line dump surg­ing through your body.  You have felt the extra­ne­ous drift away and the focus set­tle on you.  Your throat tight­ens.  Your senses sharpen.

Today, I felt all of those things.

As I lit­er­ally walked away from morn­ing cof­fee, I heard an offi­cer on the air ask dis­patch to con­firm an offi­cer called 11–99 and then put the loca­tion out.  I didn’t wait for con­fir­ma­tion.  I got on the bike and responded.

Because that’s what we do.

When I arrived on scene, life sav­ing mea­sures were being per­formed on an offi­cer that had been the vic­tim of a gun shot wound.  Other offi­cers were yelling the vic­tim officer’s name.  Encour­ag­ing him to fight.  To stay strong.  To stay alive.

When Fire arrived and the vic­tim offi­cer was put on a back­board, my eyes focused on his left hand.  Specif­i­cally, the gold band around his ring finger.

Shit.

When it came time to put the back­board on a gur­ney, I held that same hand.  I wasn’t in the way, but I cer­tainly wasn’t a key com­po­nent to his trans­port from the road to the ambu­lance.  But it was impor­tant to me.  I don’t really know why.

I spent the major­ity of my day at the hos­pi­tal.  I tried to help where I could.  I tried to have a servant’s heart.  I shut­tled more peo­ple from the ER to an audi­to­rium than I can count.  I prayed with the offi­cer that was the vic­tim officer’s backup.  I took pho­tos and col­lected evi­dence.  I wasn’t the only one there by any stretch of the imag­i­na­tion.  Offi­cers from mul­ti­ple juris­dic­tions were both on scene and at the hos­pi­tal pitch­ing in and doing what they could to help.

Because that’s what we do.

When all was said and done, I came home to my beau­ti­ful Wife and three MClets.  Hold­ing my bride and see­ing my kids smile defies cog­ni­tive descrip­tion.  Yet, I can’t help but think about the vic­tim offi­cer and his family.

I didn’t get hurt today.  I showed up to do what I could for another offi­cer I’ve never met as did dozens of oth­ers from across the county.  Cir­cum­stance led me to be in a posi­tion to be up close and per­sonal with the after­math of today’s shoot­ing.  Con­se­quently, I’ve received mul­ti­ple calls, texts, and mes­sages from fel­low offi­cers ask­ing me how I’m doing.

How I’m doing?

This is one of the many things I love about my cho­sen career.  It’s this kind of car­ing for another per­son that is inva­sive and pro­to­typ­i­cal when the rub­ber meets the road.  I work with some of the most incred­i­ble men and women.

This is what cops do, my friends. We aren’t just there when it hits the fan. We are there for each other over the long haul.  I am proud to be a cop. I’m proud of the men and women I serve with.

When we are so close to tragedy, be it on the periph­ery or directly involved, it affects us.  We may not know it.  It may man­i­fest in dif­fer­ent ways for dif­fer­ent peo­ple.  I learned a long time ago from grow­ing up in a civil ser­vice fam­ily that bot­tling emo­tion doesn’t do any good.  It’s imper­a­tive to talk with someone.

I’m lucky enough to have a ver­i­ta­ble mul­ti­tude of peo­ple to rely on.  First and fore­most, I’ve got God.  A close sec­ond is the Wife.  Both of my folks have been privy to many a tale.  Finally, there’s you.

Yes, you.

You are part of my cathar­sis.  When I posted on Face­book and tweeted, “I need imme­di­ate prayer for a CHP offi­cer shot,” I was inun­dated with sup­port­ive responses.  LEOs and First Respon­ders don’t always have time to deal with their emo­tions when it’s con­ve­nient.  It’s all about com­part­men­tal­iz­ing and get­ting the job done.  I said to myself numer­ous times today, “Not time yet” when I felt the tears well up.  The job wasn’t done.

Now, my part of the job is done for today.  I cried when I walked in my home to the Wife’s lov­ing embrace.  I made calls that needed to be made and checked on my part­ners that needed check­ing on.  I sat down to write this post to exor­cise the demons of hatred, ani­mos­ity, con­fu­sion and rage.

I’ve already thanked the spe­cific peo­ple in my life directly, but I wanted to reach out to you to let you know you aren’t just read­ing this silly lit­tle blog and get­ting the occa­sional chuckle.  You have impacted me.  You have propped me up when I needed support.

Please con­tinue to keep all the involved offi­cers in your prayers as well as their fam­i­lies and co-workers.  The Cal­i­for­nia High­way Patrol and sur­round­ing juris­dic­tions are already back on duty keep­ing a watch­ful eye out for you.  To pro­tect you.  To serve you.

Because that’s what we do.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive, off-topic, or just simply stupid. Snark, however, is not only welcome, but encouraged. Cheers...

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7 thoughts on “Youngstrom Anniversary

  1. I re-read your orig­i­nal post and it still man­ages to bring a lump to my throat. I will be think­ing of Offi­cer Youngstrom and his fam­ily and I will think­ing of you and yours. You ‘re a good man MC. Take care my friend.