At the time of this writing, the Boca Raton Police Honor Guard members are preparing for yet another police memorial service. Headlines from this past week and recent officer killed summaries are telling a bleak story.
A mournful crowd pays its respects to slain Miami-Dade officers
Walmart shooting in Wash. leaves 2 dead, 2 deputies hurt
3 Detroit cops shot at precinct
IMPD officer fights for life; police look for answers in shooting
Suspects tried to 'ambush' undercover detectives, bullets hit unmarked patrol vehicle
Since December 20th of last year, this country lost 18 officers in the line of duty, 11 killed by gunfire. As demographics shift and desperation deepens, we are seeing criminals brazenly target authority at a greater frequency.
While I constantly reinforce that we live in a safe city, there are often reminders that we are part of a larger, often violent culture.
In the early morning hours of June 8, 2010, Sgt. Shannon Wendlick was driving through a quiet neighborhood in East Boca Raton. She noticed a vehicle creeping along Spanish Trail and she ran the tag through the computer. No wants or warrants came back, but something didn’t seem right, so she continued to follow the vehicle. As the car pulled into a driveway, Sgt. Wendlick stopped behind it and got out to investigate. Before she could get on the radio, the driver, Robert Alvarez, put the car into reverse and tried to run down Sgt. Wendlick. As the vehicle continued to back past her, Sgt. Wendlick observed the front seat passenger, Ramon Rosario, raise a handgun and point it at her. Based on training and experience, Sgt. Wendlick was able to avoid the vehicle and fire several shots, striking the moving gunman. Alvarez put the car in drive and proceeded to crash into a tree. As Alvarez fled the scene on foot, a wounded Rosario got out of the vehicle and tossed his handgun into some bushes. Sgt. Wendlick arrested him and she was also able take the backseat passenger, Angel Machado, into custody.
The details of this event were not public until about two weeks ago. The capture of these suspects was a catalyst for a major investigation and many subsequent charges, to include murder, robbery and other offenses.
These thugs were planning a violent home invasion in Boca. Sgt. Wendlick stopped them and was awarded a Medal of Valor for her actions.
For officers, there is often a mere nanosecond between a leisurely patrol and armed combat. This reality does not relieve us of our obligation to be courteous and professional at all times. However, we will respond with appropriate force to those who would do us harm.
We will train to confront any and all threats. We will be always vigilant.