Sunday, February 11, 2018

Honoring those who put their lives on the line every day

We've all heard the statement dozens of times or more: "Police officers put their lives on the line every day." And it's true, in the same sense that construction workers or taxi drivers or bartenders put their lives on the line every day, all of whom perish on the job at roughly similar rates as police officers.

But when it comes to local government employees at seriously high risk, the New York Times has a feature this weekend which highlights a larger source of municipal employee deaths: Sanitation workers, who tend to die on the job at more than double the rate of police officers.

Grits mentions the story to offer a mea culpa: Several years ago I'd made the observation that, "The people picking up your trash put their lives on the line every day and are more likely not to make it home at night than their brethren in blue. But one suspects we won't any time soon see a New York Times headline memorializing their sacrifice."

It took nearly six years, but eventually the Times did publish that article.

34 comments:

Anonymous said...

There have been six police officers murdered in the line of duty in this country in the last six days. I guess you just couldn't resist the urge to dishonor their service and memory, huh? Sad.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Does it dishonor them to acknowledge the factual reality that others have sacrificed even more?

Six officers killed in six days is highly unusual, while according to the article, "In the United States, a sanitation worker is killed every day," all year round. And their families grieve, too.

Anonymous said...

Grits, your comparison here is fallacious and I'm pretty sure you know it. That's what makes your post so offensive to many. Sure, many officers and sanitation workers are killed in accidents. But that's the point, they're ACCIDENTS. And while accidental line of duty deaths of police might get some publicity, it's the INTENTIONAL killing of police that garners the most attention. Lots of people, especially in the country, take away their own garbage. I doubt anyone considers that effort to be potentially life threatening (although I suppose anytime you get behind the wheel of a vehicle to haul off the trash there's always a chance you'll be killed). But very few of us who aren't police officers are likely to willingly walk into domestic violence situations -or even walk up to a complete stranger on a traffic stop- as part of the ordinary hazards we choose to encounter in our daily lives. The fact that you choose in this snarky fashion to belittle the media attention and public mourning of the intentional murder of police officers is especially transparent. You should be ashamed.

Anonymous said...

I suppose it's lost on you that the New York Times publishes it's articles without consulting Grits first.

Anonymous said...

Great post grits. Sometimes the uninformed masses need a dose of reality like this.

Jimmy said...

I'd echo 10:49A comments in that there are many occupations that have high or higher accidental danger/death in them, but few sanitation workers, iron workers or off shore fisherman are intentionally or otherwise targeted because of their occupation or uniform. Few sanitation workers get shot because they are doing their job.

Margaret Moon said...

The sanitation workers are killed "in the line of duty" too. Military men are killed in the line of duty, six or more to be killed in a battle is not unusual.
Although this was not the case with the six in question, law enforcement officers are often killed in car accidents caused by their own mistakes. And these are counted as "in the line of duty."
I would also like to remind readers that law enforcement officers swear "to protect and serve." And they know there is a risk, just like men and women in the military in their chosen profession. This is true of firefighters as well.

I do not discount the grief their loved ones feel, but let's keep this in perspective. When a cop is killed it's a tragedy (and it is) but when a cop kills a civilian, even if unnecessary, it's brushed under the carpet.

Anonymous said...

Law enforcement is a nobel occupation....unfortunately few police officers are nobel. They aren't the heroes a lot of people make them out to be. When someone takes a job knowing they might be shot doing their job, well then like the saying goes "that's just a part of the job".

Lee said...

I am with Grits on this. Lives should be regarded equally and kept in context. The death of a police officer is no more tragic than the death of a baker, butcher, carpenter, dentist, priest or even the invisible people whom clean your offices.

Get off of your high horses before you are thrown off of them.

Anonymous said...

Sanitation workers don't leave their employment with high rates of PTSD.

Anonymous said...

Are you sure? I bet you see some freaky stuff in people's trash.

Anonymous said...

State highway workers might have a higher death rate than the other occupations listed.

Anonymous said...

How many unarmed citizens have been snuffed out in the last six days????

Willie said...

NY Times Correction: February 10, 2018
A previous version of this article misstated the number of sanitation workers killed on the job annually. It was 31 in 2016, not approximately 365, or one a day. However, 431 people in the broader waste and remediation field were killed on the job in 2016. The article also misstated the type of people killed by sanitation in trucks each year. The seven people killed by trucks include civilians, not just workers.

Some sanitation workers snuff out unarmed citizens as cited above.

doran said...

Try this, 8:53, 10:49, et all:

It is puffery to claim that ALL "Police officers put their lives on the line every day." Some certainly do, such as those responding to domestic arguments, and those stopping vehicles for traffic infractions. But it would be helpful to know how many police officers spend their on-duty hours in non-threatening work. It is my understanding (please correct me if this is incorrect) that farmers and firefighters are more likely than LEOs to be killed on the job. I think the comment about distinguishing between accidental deaths and intentional killings is on the mark. Obviously, the people running the hyperbole generators for Law Enforcement need to dispense with the puffery and come up with a more accurate statement.

Steven Seys said...

Law enforcement, like military service, is an honorable profession. But there's a saying in the military that also applies to LEOs, not all who serve deserve respect. The few LEOs who are not honorable stand out in the public eye. And when the rest of the LEOs close ranks to defend the honorless few they become tainted with the same dishonor as the ones who do dishonorable things. There's where the problem lies. Physician heal thyself applies here too. Clean up your own nest, LEOs, and you will receive the respect your service deserves.

Anonymous said...

After graduating from a Texas university with a degree in criminal justice, I sat through a one-on-one meeting with a recruiter from the Fort Worth PD. The crux of his spiel was all the free and discounted stuff I would get as a police officer. For many reasons I ended up pursuing a different career but recall that experience during discussions of this nature. The incredible sense of entitlement I took away from that meeting is, IMO, part of this unhealthy self-worship.

Kuato said...

Taxi Cab drivers and Convenience Store clerks are targeted, and murdered, for the public service they perform. And at a rate higher than police.

The propaganda of the self serving police unions, associations, PACS and lobby, promots many false beliefs. There propaganda is Orwellian. Example: Those who previously referred to as public servants and now providing a public "service" as if no one else employed is!

Public Servants have DUTIES, OBLIGATIONS, and RESPONSIBILITIES, for which, today, they are grossly over compensated.

Private Citizens have RIGHT, PRIVILEGES, and IMMUNITIES, that come from God and that our Constitutions and Laws were established by blood sacrifice from unpaid patriots.

Traitors hiding behind positions of public trust, and doing so at public expense, have convinced a large portion of our uneducated and ignorant public to believe the reverse. They would have all believe that the people who are NOT employed at public expense have duties, obligations, and responsibilities to serve those that do - in addition to absurdly high compensation they take from the public treasury. In other words; In their mind we are their slaves. And in practice, we have become to a degree that few want to admit or acknowledge.

Anonymous said...

As police officer, I am public servant who puts on a uniform, badge, and gun everyday. I do this job not for thanks, I do it for what is right. Below are the facts.

Roughly 135 cops died in 2016, making it the deadliest year for police officers in at least five years. A total of 129 officers died last year.

Since the start of 2018, at least 12 officers across the U.S. have died while on duty - with 10 of those deaths caused by gunfire.


Feb 10, 2018 -Anthony Morelli, 54 – shot - Domestic 911 hang-up

Feb 10, 2018 - Eric Joering, 39 – shot - Domestic 911 hang-up

Feb 9, 2018 -Officer Chase Maddox, 26 - shot- (2 Deputies wounded)

Feb 7, 2018 -David Sherrard, 37 - shot - disturbance call

Feb 5, 2018 - Micah Flick, 34 - shot - attempted to take the suspect into custody (bystander also shot)

Jan 24, 2018 -Glenn Doss Jr, 25 - shot – domestic violence

Jan 24, 2018 - Heath Gumm, 32 – shot - disturbance call

Jan 18, 2018 - Christopher David Hill, 45 - arresting a woman for terror threats

Jan 16, 2018 - Michael Doty, 37 - shot searching for a man (Three deputies and one K-9 officer also were injured).

Jan 7, 2018 - Daniel A. McCartney, 34 - shot - responding to a burglary

Jan 7, 2018 - Chris Beaudion, 26 - fatal injuries when his patrol car struck a tree

Jan 5, 2018 - Christopher Robateau, 49 - struck by a vehicle while responding to an accident

BarkGrowlBite said...

Scott, here you go again with your anti-police crap. Sure you admit that police work is dangerous, but then you go ahead and say that being a sanitation worker is more dangerous and that construction workers , taxi drivers or bartenders put their lives on the line just like cops.

I do not put down sanitation workers, construction workers, cab drivers or bartenders, but to compare the danger they face to that of cops is a gross insult to police officers. Those guys picking up the garbage are not protecting the public from criminals.

So far this year 15 police officers have been killed. Some have died by gunfire in a deliberate ambush. Some have died answering calls or making traffic stops And some have died when their cars crashed. Six officers were killed just in the past week.

Your blog has a propensity to attract readers who hate cops as evidenced by such comments as, "How many unarmed citizens have been snuffed out in the last six days????" and "Taxi Cab drivers and Convenience Store clerks are targeted, and murdered, for the public service they perform. And at a rate higher than police. ... The propaganda of the self serving police unions ....."

Scott, there is a reason you attract cop haters and that is because subconsciously so do you.

Anonymous said...

Yesterday I ALMOST commented about how barkgrowlbite would be posting some psycho comment regarding this article. Guess I called that one right....

BarkGrowlBite said...

Thanks Anon 12:22, I rest my case about attracting cop haters.

Anonymous said...

Yep..and there is a justifiable reason people hate cops..and all you do is reinforce that.

Anonymous said...

You guys are wasting your time arguing with that old fool bark. If there was a video of a cop throwing a baby into a wood chipper he would form some justification for the cop doing that...or at the worst he would say it was just "bad policing"

Anonymous said...

I for one hate bad policing, the police however seem to hate that I have an opinion.

BarkGrowlBite said...

Keep it up guys. You're just proving what this 'old fool' said in my 'psycho comment.'

George said...

@BGB

I gotta hand it to you, you're one tenacious SOB if nothing but. However, the times they are a changing. The days when people would automatically feed into your line of reasoning about viewing all police officers as heroes and ones who should be honored simply because they don a uniform, badge and gun is long gone. Sure, there are some uneducated/uninformed citizens who still need a shepherd to guide them in making decisions such as who to elect and obey ( i.e. Trump election ), but there's a correction coming that will address this, hopefully.

Your rhetoric is tiring, lame and dated --- yes, some police officers are indeed heroes and most LEO's do an amazing job but we shouldn't view them as being above other vocations that have at least an equally demanding and dangerous job. This painting of LEO's that you want to project to the world is flawed although I can certainly see why you want to project this image, I mean it's worked for so long right? That image has been used for many years as a basis for holding cities and counties hostage when it comes to negotiating salaries and benefits. It's time to lay that to rest, your bark, growl and bite is nothing more than a whimpering toothless snarl that exposes you for what you are --- a reminder of days gone by and thank goodness for it.

John Crapper said...

@BGB
"...Those guys picking up the garbage are not protecting the public from criminals..."

But they are protecting the public (including cops) from sepsis and disease. Human excreta have been implicated in the transmission of many infectious diseases including cholera, typhoid, infectious hepatitis, cryptosporidiosis, ascariasis, just to name a few. Have you ever seen the results of a garbage strike? Whole cities can shut down from the trash piling up and spilling into the streets.

Anonymous said...

Taxi cab drivers and convenience store clerks are targeted and murdered for the public service they perform. We don't need police.

Anonymous said...

Ha, what a comparison. After 30 years in law enforcement, I kind of feel a bond with the sanitation crews; I always thought that we had similar duties; taking out the trash. Nobody appreciates what we do until we don't show up at your house.

Anonymous said...

What were you doing taking out the trash as a policeman? Shouldn't you have been out in the community protecting and serving your friends and neighbors? Or are we all trash until proven otherwise?

It sounds like a good thing your 30 years came to an end.

Anonymous said...

Well bark....your cop buddy just reinforced why people don't like cops.

Willis said...

I like cops, sanitation workers, taxi cab drivers and those that work for a living and/or otherwise contribute to society. I dislike those that don't contribute to society, regardless of occupation.

Anonymous said...

4:55 misses the metaphorical boat.