May 19, 2016

In case you missed it: my op-ed in USA Today in celebration of National Police Week.
S.C. cop’s life, death reflected deep call to serve: Column
By Trey Gowdy

The celebration of National Police Week, which ends May 21, provides an ideal opportunity to reflect on the life of Greenville Police Department Officer Allen Jacobs and the lives of other police officers who were tragically killed while heroically serving in the line of duty.

Like the deaths of South Carolina officers Kevin Carper, Russ Sorrow, Eric Nicholson, Marcus Whitfield and other officers nationwide who have been killed in the line of duty, Jacobs’ death reminds us that serving and protecting in uniform is a dangerous, sometimes lethal, job. In 2015, our nation mourned the loss of 128 police officers. This year, the nation has already lost 35 officers.

Jacobs was going to be a father again. He was already the father of two precious little boys, but this summer he and his wife, Meghan, were expecting a baby girl.

Life prepared Jacobs well to be a father. He was an outstanding student and athlete growing up in the Upstate of South Carolina. He put that athleticism and intelligence to work serving our country in the U.S. Army. He was deployed to Iraq for 15 months and even volunteered to live in Baghdad, because he understood all people want to live in a peaceful and secure environment.

But the tug of fatherhood is strong, so he decided to return to South Carolina. His desire to protect and serve others never dissipated. He left the uniform of the U.S. Army for the uniform of the Greenville Police Department, and he pursued that calling with the same vigor and professionalism that epitomized every facet of his life.

Jacobs was a strong man. He survived boot camp, Iraq, Haiti and police officer training. But he would not survive an encounter with a teenage gang member just released from jail. Jacobs never even had the chance to pull out his weapon.

Greenville suffered a tremendous loss when Jacobs was killed. What we learned in the aftermath of this tragedy is that the loss was felt all across the country. Jacobs’ funeral brought officers from across the region to honor his service as well as scores of citizens paying their respect.

Law enforcement officers courageously propel themselves toward danger while others have the luxury of running from it. Officers dedicate their lives to the safety of others while putting their own lives at risk. Officers deal daily with people and incidents most of us prefer to avoid, all the while missing out on some of life’s more precious experiences because crime does not sleep so neither can they.

I urge our communities to take a moment to consider what our lives would look like without the protection of law enforcement. I also encourage people to never miss a chance to thank officers and their families for doing a job that is sometimes only fully noticed when a father like Jacobs is killed in the line of duty.
Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., is a former prosecutor.
Read the original article here.

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