My role was very limited in this case, but it changed my perspective on people. While I was more keenly aware of just how evil people can be, I also developed a different view of victims and their families.
It’s actually an easy thing to overlook or forget the victims. As cops, it’s often about getting the bad guy, particularly in the big cases. For most of us, we love the chase. The media also loves to focus on a good villain. Unfortunately, Danny Rolling garnered a great deal of attention.
Over the years, the Gainesville community has memorialized this terrible event with class. They made it about the victims. Trees were planted. Families continued to be honored. A portion of a wall along a busy road bears the victims’ names.
If you do this job long enough and well enough, the victims increasingly become the center of attention. They become your primary motivation.
The names do stick with you. Paules. Taboada. Wills. Story. Cornell. Randazzo. Oatley. Bochicchio. They leave a deep, lasting impression. They are exactly why we do what we do.