This week the Independence Police Department is mourning the loss of one of its own. Our hearts go out to the family of Officer James Lockard, who was laid to rest this week. When I say family, I am not just referring to his mother, father, siblings, or spouse. I am referring to a much larger family, consisting of men and woman all over the country who stand together as officers to form the "Thin Blue Line".
When looking back at the history of the term "Thin Blue Line", there is evidence of generations of those who took an oath to stand together to protect those who could not protect themselves. The term was derived from the original "Thin Red Line", which was a military action led by British Army Field Marshall Colin Campbell, in 1854. Campbell lined up his men, the Red Coats, two abreast and marched into a battle in which they were severely outnumbered. Campbell told his men, "There is no retreat from here, men. You must die where you stand." Campbell's relationship with his men was known as being like a family. The Thin Red Line was victorious, as the men stood side by side and marched into battle.
Often we see television shows and movies that depict police officers and the daily drama they are enveloped in. While these depictions provide entertainment to many, they do not edify the strong bonds that are formed between officers. You can ask any officer on the street and they will tell you some of the best friends they have ever had were fellow officers. Similar to family dynamics, there are good times and bad, times to laugh and times to cry. All of the experiences we share further strengthen our bonds with each other and we know it's more than just friendship, it's family.
Police officers take an oath to serve and protect, but what is not mentioned is the sacrifice they will make and the sacrifice their families make for the benefit of a stranger. Making these sacrifices and experiencing the most trying of situations is what draws this family closer together, as we depend on each other to get through each day and keep our heads high. While our hearts ache for Independence PD, know that we will never forget and we will continue to march on, with our heads high, as one Thin Blue Line.