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2020: A [tumultuous] Year in Review

2020. What a year it's been. A year I couldn't quite put into words, hence the reason for the lack of blog posts since March. But I'll try now...

Tumultuous (adj.)

1. making a loud, confused noise; uproarious

2. excited, confused, or disorderly

Despite the quiet quarantine provided within cities across our world, so much about 2020 has seemed tumultuous. Think about the words and phrases you heard more of this past year than ever before: mask, pandemic, essential, virus, remote, social distance, quarantine, lockdown, racist/racism, privilege, defund, systemic, bias...

These are all words we've heard before, they impact all of us in some way, but many of them were likely not a part of our everyday conversations as they have become in 2020. These words and all that came with them became LOUD; they created uproar, disorder, confusion within society, and for many in their individual lives.

We were able to dig deep, see where we were lacking, and take note of what really matters. Hopefully in there we took some time to listen, reflect, seek information, & learn. We came to appreciate the roles of many we hadn't considered before, those who work the jobs that couldn't just shut down when it seemed the rest of the world had. And amid the chaos of a pandemic, social distancing, and shutdowns, we saw with the flip of a switch one of those jobs - law enforcement - went from being applauded, essential, front line to questioning the character and necessity of those sworn to uphold the order of our society.

While this year brought so many important issues to light and helped to begin normalizing conversations, words, and phrases we need to normalize in our country and our world, one of the most frustrating things about this year was the utter hypocrisy of attempting to solve the frustration and indignation of stereotyping people of color by stereotyping another group of individuals - those who wear a badge. We cannot solve stereotyping by stereotyping. We cannot fight injustice with injustice. As a wise man once said, "Returning hate for hate multiplies hate..." (Martin Luther King, Jr.)

So while I could write on and on about the tumultuousness of the year, let me instead put 2020 in review and remind you of just a few instances that may have been drowned out by the noise, confusion, and chaos. I scrolled our BLUE 815 newsfeed with the goal of finding just one story to report from each month of the year that negates the negativity that was weighted on the shoulders of law enforcement. Of course, it was impossible to find just 12 stories for the year. The least I could widdle it down to is 22 - so here are 22 various local, national, and international LE related stories from 2020 we shared this year to remind you of the humanity behind and necessity of the badge.

January 2020

Rockford, IL 01.03.20 - Heritage Credit Union Bank Standoff - Rockford Police Department held the line for nearly 7 hours throughout the afternoon & evening, negotiating with the suspect who finally let his last hostage flee to the safety of law enforcement before surrendering.

Decatur, IL 01.06.20 - Trooper, an injured Bald Eagle was rescued by Illinois State Police Troopers along Interstate 55 and taken to the Illinois Raptor Center in Decatur. She was nursed back to health and released back into the wild on February 23.

Australia 01.06.20 - A police officer from the New South Wales Police Force stopped to give a thirsty and likely dehydrated kangaroo a drink during the devastating wildfires.

February 2020

Rockford, IL 02.20.20 - Numerous officers from the Rockford Police Department, along with several other first responders, visited Welsh School in Rockford for the Frosty's Fabulous Read-In event.

Milwaukee, WI 02.26.20 - Molson MillerCoors Brewery Mass Shooting - Officers of the Milwaukee Police Department responded to a shooting at the brewery and came upon a horrific active shooter situation. It took hours for them to comb through the buildings and take a roll call of the employees before they could declare the area safe.

March 2020

Nashville, TN 03.03.20 - Nashville Metro Police Department and departments across the greater Nashville community spent days checking on residents, searching through debris, and working on security and clean-up efforts after an EF-3 tornado hit middle Tennessee.

Jonesboro, AR 03.29.20 - Jonesboro Police Department had 150 sworn officers show up within 30 minutes after an EF-3 tornado hit to help with response, security, and clean-up efforts.

March 2020 is also when most shutdowns and quarantines began in states across the US as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold. Police officers across the country continued to answer the wide variety of service calls they have with the added threat of this unpredictable disease.

April 2020

Manahawkin, NJ 04.26.2020 - A police officer arrived on scene to a vehicle fire in a Taco Bell drive thru and used his squad to push the flaming vehicle away from the building and out of the drive thru area.

Rockford, IL 04.27.20 - Deputy Chief Dalke of the Rockford Police Department helped to disspell negative experiences with police while providing fresh produce to the many community members served by Miss Carly's.

May 2020

Houston, TX 05.02.20 - Two Houston Police Department Officers were conducting a search for bodies in a bayou after what was speculated to be a "bogus call". During the search, their helicopter began to spin out of control and crashed, killing Tactical Flight Officer Jason Knox.

Rockford, IL 05.17.20 - Super 8 Motel Stand-off - officers responded to a shooting at the Super 8 Motel to find 3 victims with gunshot wounds and ended up in an hours long stand-off with the suspect who had barricaded himself in a room at the motel.

On 05.25.20, George Floyd died while being arrested in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This incident had an immediate impact on society as a whole and directly on law enforcement.

June 2020

St. Louis, MO 06.02.20 - Retired Police Captain David Dorn was keeping watch over his friend's pawn shop in the wake of the riots and protests that ensued following the death of George Floyd. David Dorn was shot and left to die on a sidewalk while his death was recorded on a Facebook livestream as looters ran past him with stolen goods from the very pawn shop he was protecting.

San Diego, CA 06.13.20 - San Diego Police Officer Jonathan Wiese rapelled down a cliff and swam into the ocean to save a father who had attempted suicide by driving himself and his twin daughters off Sunset Cliffs.

July 2020

Sterling Heights, MI 07.12.20 - First year Sterling Heights Police Officer Cameron Maciejewski responded to a call of a 3 week old infant who was unresponsive after choking during a feeding. The officer calmly and swiftly assessed the situation and saved the baby's life.

August 2020

Philidelphia, PA 08.04.20 - Police officers and first responders rushed to help members of their community as Tropical Storm Isaias made its way up the east coast, killing at least 5 people.

Avon, WI 08.23.2020 - Three Rock County Sheriff's Deputies responded to a call of 2 people struggling in the Sugar River after dark. The deputies ran 2.5 miles through the woods until they reached them. One person was clinging to a kayak, the other to a tube, both rescued by the deputies.

September 2020

Lisle, IL 09.22.20 - Officer Bill Wise was nearby when a house fire broke out in Lisle. Upon arrival, he kicked a door in and ran into the burning home to rescue a 14-year old who was trapped. They were both treated for smoke inhilation, but both survived.

October 2020

Durand, IL 10.29.2020 - Durand Police Chief Schelling joined a preschool class for their holiday class dance party - going the extra mile to build relationships within his community.

November 2020

Chicago, IL 11.03.20 - Chicago Police Department, along with numerous police departments in large cities across the nation, stood ready to ensure the safety of residents and security of businesses during anticipated unrest on Election Night.

December 2020

New York City 12.13.20 - A gunman opened fire outside of a cathedral in NYC following an outdoor holiday choir performance on the church's steps. Police officers quickly responded and killed the suspect, locating 2 handguns and a bag filled with a full can of gasoline, rope, wire, knives, a Bible, and tape.

Nashville, TN 12.25.20 - After receiving a call for shots being fired in a poplular area of downtown Nashville, police officers of the Nashville Metro Police Department came upon an RV playing music and a recording that it would detonate 15 minutes later. They took quick action to notify nearby residents within their homes and on the streets to evacuate the area and get to safety having no idea what would actually occur. As stated on the recording, the RV did explode, causing damage for blocks, grounding flights, and knocking out power and phone lines for miles. Though 3 injuries were reported and dozens of businesses were damaged, no one was killed in this explosion thanks to the 6 officers who responded to this call.

Rockford, IL 12.26.20 - A man opened fire in what appears to be a random act in Don Carter Lanes bowling alley the day after Christmas. Rockford Police Department Officers along with Winnebago County Sheriff's deputies were first to the scene, immediately entering the building, locating the suspect as quickly as they could while getting the injured and other patrons to safety and putting an end to the chaos before more lives were lost. Three people were killed and three were injured.

Other activities of note for the year in our area: police & fire birthday parades for children in communities during quarantine, Rockford Police Department's Badges & Books and Winnebago County Sheriff's Office's Stories from Squads live read alouds for children during quarantine, numerous shopping & gifting events with and by local police agencies for families in need in our community during the holiday season...

At the end of 2020, heading into a brand new year, let us remember those helpers - the ones who run into the danger, those who hold the line between order and chaos, those who selflessly serve. These 22 stories are the bare minimum - multiply them by thousands of officers and departments across this nation and there are countless stories just like these not told or shared or seen. The negative stereotype given to police officers this year and in years past simply doesn't fit. We expect them to be superhuman, and often given what they deal with they seem to be. But really, they are human, just like me and you, but with a little something extra, something that calls them to serve their country and communities even when their country and communities aren't willing to support them.

As always, thanks for being here, for supporting us, and mostly for supporting them.

May you have safety, health, appreciation, and happiness as we head into 2021.

-Andrea, BLUE 815 chair

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