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Editorial, 8/28: Officer's shooting a reminder of debt we owe

Editorial, 8/28: Officer's shooting a reminder of debt we owe

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2 arrested in officer's shooting to be charged with escape

Lincoln police and fire rescue respond to a police officer being shot on Wednesday, Aug. 26 2020, at 33rd and Vine Streets in Lincoln, Neb. (Francis Gardler/Lincoln Journal Star via AP)/Lincoln Journal Star via AP)

Imagine your job involves typing on a keyboard – not a stretch for most us.

Now imagine that every routine keystroke could injure or kill you. It probably won’t, but imagine you had to keep that possibility in the back of your mind every day.

That’s the reality of law enforcement, played out to tragic results Wednesday with the shooting of Lincoln police officer Mario Herrera, who was serving an arrest warrant.

Hererra remained in critical condition Thursday afternoon, and two suspects are each being held on $1 million bond. One of the suspects was being served the warrant for second-degree assault in connection with a March 8 homicide.

In a summer when interaction between the police and public has been under scrutiny nationwide, it’s vital to note none of those issues were involved here. An officer serving a warrant was attacked without provocation or justification.

Everyone says it – including Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird and Gov. Pete Ricketts in this case – but these sworn law enforcement officers do, in fact, put their lives on the line every day to make our community safer.

Herrera is a 23-year veteran of the force. He has devoted close to a quarter century to Lincoln’s residents, and his family and friends have lived every day of that time understanding the risk he has accepted.

So what do we do?

We can, as hundreds have done on social media already, think about and pray or hope the best for Herrera, his family and his co-workers. They may have understood the risks involved, but they are living a nightmare.

We can say thanks. If you see an officer on patrol, wave. If you know someone in law enforcement – or formerly in it – thank them for their service. It’s a hard job that brings with it life-or-death decisions on every shift, and the work is often thankless.

We can recognize what we all have in common – a desire for a peaceful and safe community – and understand what role we can play in it.

Ultimately, as we have been reminded this week, “the police” are really people, our fellow residents. While conversations continue – nationally and locally – we must remember that law enforcement is an essential part of the community.

And officers make real sacrifices and take very real risks. Be grateful for them.

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