Saturday, January 30, 2010

Rest in Peace, Lt Shuhandler

Today we mourn the loss of Lt. Eric Shuhandler; he was DH's RTO (recruit training officer) during the long months at the police academy. Eric was his teacher, adviser, mentor, friend. He made a traffic stop due to an obscure license plate, & while approaching the passenger side, he was shot in the head. There was never ...time to unholster his gun. At the service, dispatch will sound his call sign over the air & listen to the painful silence for the response we know will never come, & finally sound Eric's End of Watch. An officer is killed in the U.S.A. every 52 minutes, & the chance of it being by gunfire is up 24% from 2008. It is not easy to send a peace officer spouse into the world w/those numbers, but we always say certain words to one another before each shift just in case, & give the rest to God. What else can one do?

What many people don't realize is that though officers do have life insurance through the department, there are investigations that must be done first, and this ties up the funds, typically for 3-6 months at least. Sometimes a fallen officer's surviving family loses their home because they don't have the income any longer to pay the mortgage, as often that may have been the only household income especially if there are children in the house. This is common given police work is a male-dominated field and often of the age to have a family in the home.

Here, we have the 100 Club of AZ which exists to provide immediate help to the family of a fallen officer, as in within 24-48 hours. They provide several thousand dollars that first day or two after the officer is killed in the line of duty so that the mortgage, car, utilities, and groceries can be paid for until life insurance comes through. No family should lose their home after losing their loved one.

If you wish to help Eric's wife--who is also a police officer--and their 2 children, you can donate to the 100 Club of Arizona or make a donation at any Wells Fargo bank to the Gilbert Police Department Memorial Account for the Family of Lt. Eric Shuhandler, #1359531975. Thank you!

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