Thank you, Gilbert: Your support is appreciated - East Valley Tribune: Opinion

Thank you, Gilbert: Your support is appreciated

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Posted: Tuesday, February 9, 2010 11:59 am | Updated: 3:35 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

Gilbert police Chief Tim Dorn: On Jan. 28, Lt. Eric Shuhandler became the second Gilbert police officer to be killed in the line of duty in less than four years. Eric was ambushed by a career criminal during a traffic stop. Our entire community and police department was victimized by this senseless, cowardly act.

On Jan. 28, Lt. Eric Shuhandler became the second Gilbert police officer to be killed in the line of duty in less than four years. Eric was ambushed by a career criminal during a traffic stop. Our entire community and police department was victimized by this senseless, cowardly act.

The community support for Lt. Shuhandler's family and our extended family at the Gilbert Police Department has been truly amazing. As we returned to Gilbert following the funeral services, a procession of police and public safety vehicles passed the location of Eric's death and proceeded to the Gilbert Public Safety Complex, where a closing ceremony and reception was held. The procession route was lined with men, women and children who held signs, waived flags and applauded our officers and employees as we passed indicating their support.

Hundreds of residents joined public officials, officers, employees and family members at the public safety memorial where the flags were returned to full staff. Local businesses provided food and workers for the reception, which allowed officers, police employees, family members and the public an opportunity for fellowship.

Our citizens have reminded us why we are willing to do this very difficult, demanding and dangerous job. You have brought things back into perspective for us, demonstrating that the vast majority of our citizens respect and appreciate our efforts to keep this great community safe.

We have earned a reputation as being one of the safest communities of our size in the United States. This level of safety is achieved through partnership between the police and the community. I believe that I can speak for every man and woman on the Gilbert Police Department in saying, "Thank you," for being there for us. We are honored to serve this great community.

I must also thank our brothers and sisters in public safety. You fought by our side as we brought these suspects to justice in order for them to be held accountable for their actions. You demonstrated heroism and restraint. You have been there for us in our time of need, as we are always there for each other.

We will never forget the efforts of the citizens who came to Eric's aid and the firefighters and EMS workers who worked to save his life, even though it was apparent that nothing could be done.

Lastly, I must thank and commend the officers and employees of the Gilbert Police Department. Once again, you have demonstrated that you are an amazing group of people. You have supported Lt. Shuhandler's family, me and each other during a very difficult time, without any disruption in service to our community. You are a class act. I am proud and honored to serve at your side.

Tim Dorn is Gilbert's chief of police.

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