COMMENTARY: What about Deputy Rhyne?
By JOHN H. PHILLIPPY
Chief of Police
Borough of Greencastle
I read the news of Friday 12/9/2011 and thought about the ironies that were involved. It was the day after the latest shooting on the campus of Va Tech, and news of the tragedy appeared on most of the newspapers. Given my chosen profession, I also realized that 12/9 is also the 30th anniversary of the murder of Officer Daniel Faulker of the Philadelphia Police Department. He was shot by Mumia Abu Jamal, who has attained nothing less than folk hero status since the killing with many of our country’s celebrities coming to his aid. Earlier in the week, the Philadelphia District Attorney announced that he will no longer seek the death penalty for Jamal in this case.
I thought about this in respect to my recent attendance of a candlelight memorial at the site of the murder of WCO David Grove on the one year anniversary of his death. It was a humbling event with just other cops and families present.
Now the murder of Officer Deriek Crouse is front page on many of our nation’s newspapers. Here is a young man who leaves behind a widow and five children. He was gunned down in an unprovoked attack on a college campus with the suspect apparently committing suicide a short time later. I suspect that had this not happened on a college campus, more importantly Va Tech, we would have heard very little, if anything, about it, which brings me to my initial question.
What about Deputy Rhyne? He served the Moore County Sheriff’s Department in North Carolina. Like Officer Crouse, he was also murdered on 12/8/2011. Like Officer Crouse, the cowardly suspect committed suicide shortly thereafter. Like Officer Crouse, he leaves behind a widow and children, but there was very little media coverage of this crime.
These officers, as of today, join 148 other men and women who have given their lives in protection of their communities in 2011. I would simply ask that as this Christmas season approaches to remember them, their widows and the hundreds of children that have lost a parent this year.
For more information about these men and women you may see them at the Officer Down Memorial Page (ODMP) located at www.odmp.org
In the words of ODMP’s founder Chris Cosgriff, “when a police officer is killed it’s not just an agency that looses an officer, it’s an entire nation.”
If you wish to do something for the survivors, please consider a donation to our local chapter of Concerns of Police Survivors at P.O. Box 162, East Berlin, PA 17316.