Friday morning an interesting scene played out in front of the Law Enforcement Center.
Our editor made the final turn of a morning run. Officer Gary Littlejohn interrupted his own conversation on the sidewalk to encourage our editor as he ran. Our editor held up one finger, cruised past Littlejohn and stopped at the memorial for fallen officers. He placed his hand on a placard bearing the name of Deputy Kurt A. Ford. OUr editor is 12 years older now, but in 2005 he was a reporter in the Kansan newsroom when Ford was shot and killed in the line of duty.
Our editor then showed Littlejohn why he was running Friday morning — a medal with the words of "The Thin Blue Line 5K" emblazoned on its face. "Today is the day for this," our editor said.
On Friday, Sedgwick County was laying to rest a Sheriff's Deputy killed in the line of duty. The flags at the Law Enforcement Center — including the thin blue line flag — were flying at half mast. On a cloudy and overcast morning, there were reminders to the dangers law enforcement officers face every minute of every day.
Law enforcement runs in when the rest of us run out and away. Law enforcement officers are asked to make sacrifices for our communities — and for that they deserve respect from all of us.
It has been 12 years since this community has been forced to witness a violent end of watch first hand. Our hearts go out to Sedwick County as they mourn the end of watch for Deputy Robert Kunze III.
— Kansan Editorial Board