Youngstrom Anniversary

A year ago, Ofr. Kenyon Youngstrom was shot and killed.

I was there.

This was how I felt at the time.

Today, I am remembering him and the experience.

You can read the original post below…thanks for reading.


“Officer down.”

If you’re in law enforcement, you know what these terms mean.  You know the chill it sends down your spine.  You can feel the adrenaline dump surging through your body.  You have felt the extraneous drift away and the focus settle on you.  Your throat tightens.  Your senses sharpen.

Today, I felt all of those things.

As I literally walked away from morning coffee, I heard an officer on the air ask dispatch to confirm an officer called 11-99 and then put the location out.  I didn’t wait for confirmation.  I got on the bike and responded.

Because that’s what we do.

When I arrived on scene, life saving measures were being performed on an officer that had been the victim of a gun shot wound.  Other officers were yelling the victim officer’s name.  Encouraging him to fight.  To stay strong.  To stay alive.

When Fire arrived and the victim officer was put on a backboard, my eyes focused on his left hand.  Specifically, the gold band around his ring finger.


When it came time to put the backboard on a gurney, I held that same hand.  I wasn’t in the way, but I certainly wasn’t a key component to his transport from the road to the ambulance.  But it was important to me.  I don’t really know why.

I spent the majority of my day at the hospital.  I tried to help where I could.  I tried to have a servant’s heart.  I shuttled more people from the ER to an auditorium than I can count.  I prayed with the officer that was the victim officer’s backup.  I took photos and collected evidence.  I wasn’t the only one there by any stretch of the imagination.  Officers from multiple jurisdictions were both on scene and at the hospital pitching in and doing what they could to help.

Because that’s what we do.

When all was said and done, I came home to my beautiful Wife and three MClets.  Holding my bride and seeing my kids smile defies cognitive description.  Yet, I can’t help but think about the victim officer and his family.

I didn’t get hurt today.  I showed up to do what I could for another officer I’ve never met as did dozens of others from across the county.  Circumstance led me to be in a position to be up close and personal with the aftermath of today’s shooting.  Consequently, I’ve received multiple calls, texts, and messages from fellow officers asking me how I’m doing.

How I’m doing?

This is one of the many things I love about my chosen career.  It’s this kind of caring for another person that is invasive and prototypical when the rubber meets the road.  I work with some of the most incredible men and women.

This is what cops do, my friends. We aren’t just there when it hits the fan. We are there for each other over the long haul.  I am proud to be a cop. I’m proud of the men and women I serve with.

When we are so close to tragedy, be it on the periphery or directly involved, it affects us.  We may not know it.  It may manifest in different ways for different people.  I learned a long time ago from growing up in a civil service family that bottling emotion doesn’t do any good.  It’s imperative to talk with someone.

I’m lucky enough to have a veritable multitude of people to rely on.  First and foremost, I’ve got God.  A close second is the Wife.  Both of my folks have been privy to many a tale.  Finally, there’s you.

Yes, you.

You are part of my catharsis.  When I posted on Facebook and tweeted, “I need immediate prayer for a CHP officer shot,” I was inundated with supportive responses.  LEOs and First Responders don’t always have time to deal with their emotions when it’s convenient.  It’s all about compartmentalizing and getting the job done.  I said to myself numerous times today, “Not time yet” when I felt the tears well up.  The job wasn’t done.

Now, my part of the job is done for today.  I cried when I walked in my home to the Wife’s loving embrace.  I made calls that needed to be made and checked on my partners that needed checking on.  I sat down to write this post to exorcise the demons of hatred, animosity, confusion and rage.

I’ve already thanked the specific people in my life directly, but I wanted to reach out to you to let you know you aren’t just reading this silly little blog and getting the occasional chuckle.  You have impacted me.  You have propped me up when I needed support.

Please continue to keep all the involved officers in your prayers as well as their families and co-workers.  The California Highway Patrol and surrounding jurisdictions are already back on duty keeping a watchful eye out for you.  To protect you.  To serve you.

Because that’s what we do.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic. Snark is encouraged. Being a prat is not.

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