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|Deputy's death a tragic reminder|
It is regrettable that it took the senseless shooting and eventual death of a Ouachita Parish sheriff's deputy to galvanize a community.
That's exactly what has occurred in the past couple of weeks in light of a Ouachita Parish man needlessly shooting Cpl. J.R. Searcy while Searcy was responding to a domestic disturbance complaint. Searcy later died at St. Francis Medical Center in Monroe.
Searcy was off duty when he joined an unidentified sheriff's deputy at a residence near La. 34 in southwestern Ouachita where the tragic incident took place. Searcy was there to lend a hand in an area of the parish that he knew well.
Little did Searcy know when he arrived at the scene that Michael Tanner, a 26-year-old man who had an extensive criminal record, was armed with a large-caliber handgun. Not only was Tanner armed, he callously used it void of any concern or respect for human life, striking Searcy with the one shot he managed to discharge before the unidentified sheriff's deputy shot and killed Tanner.
Tanner committed the unthinkableŚhe took the life of a law enforcement officer. Tanner lost his life over it, too.
According to most accounts, the 33-year-old Searcy was a first-class, hard-working deputy. His boss, Sheriff Royce Toney, spoke highly of Searcy's dedication to his job, his family and the community he called homeŚWoodlawn.
Searcy left behind a wife and three children and countless colleagues, friends and family members who will miss him. Residents of Ouachita Parish who did not know Searcy personally will miss him as well. Anytime a community loses a dedicated law enforcement officer it creates a void in that community.
Earlier this week, the Ouachita Parish Police Jury formally called on the parish library board to name a new library in western Ouachita after Searcy. The library board should follow the police jury's lead. It is the right thing to do.
Searcy's death reminded us that law enforcement is a dangerous business. Each time a law enforcement officer dresses in his or her uniform, attaches a badge to a uniform and arms for work, a life could be lost.
It has been suggested that law enforcement is a thankless profession. We understand that point of view. We are reminded, though, that there are a countless number of dedicated men and women among us like J.R. Searcy. They work in law enforcement because they are dedicated men and women who desire to better the communities in which we all live.
That much and more was more than evident at Searcy's funeral at First Baptist Church in West Monroe late last week. Thousands of people attended the service, including hundreds and hundreds of law enforcement officers from all over the United States. They were there to honor one of their own.
The words dedication and loyalty come to mind.
Yet, words cannot describe the atmosphere that surfaced here shortly after Searcy was injured in the line of duty. A community came together in support of a fallen man, his colleagues and his family during a very trying time.
Sadly, it took the events surrounding Searcy's death to do it.