Editor’s Note: I would like to pay a special thanks to the men and women of the U.S. Border Patrol for protecting our country from those who would do us harm — nothing even close to sufficient is being done to support you. Thank you also, to Brad Mellon of the American Red Cross, who gave me permission to use the images he captured during Agent Rosas’ funeral. Lastly, I want to thank everyone in the law enforcement community who chooses to join the effort Jim and I have begun here. I cannot guarantee success, but I can promise one hell of a fight.
— Doug Wyllie, PoliceOne Senior Editor
I believe that too many citizens — among them certain specific segments of the media and some politicians — lack respect for both our borders and for our nation’s Border Patrol Agents. There is a collective blindness to the realities of what our Border Patrol Agents face at the borders, both South and North. To paraphrase myself, our borders and our Border Patrol Agents get no respect.
About 4,000 people packed a memorial service for Border Patrol Agent Robert Rosas, who was shot and killed at approximately 9:15 p.m. on Thursday, July 23, 2009. Photo courtesy of Brad J. Mellon, American Red Cross.
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Drug cartels, gangs, human traffickers, and terrorists are coming across our borders and they are altogether too ready and too willing to kill our BP Agents. But virtually no one in the media is willing to focus on this issue — no one seems interested in reporting on the very real dangers faced by Agents every day. Too often we hear from the mainstream media that the people crossing are just poor itinerant workers hoping to make an honest living and our BP Agents are violent and over reactive thugs doing the will of a soulless democracy. There are websites in existence that actually promote that ridiculous and dishonest philosophy.
Just ten short days after the publication of that article, Border Patrol Agent Robert Wimer Rosas, 30 years old with a wife, two-year-old son, and 11-month-old daughter at home, was brutally murdered by some of these nonviolent and misunderstood criminals who were illegally crossing our borders. Some accounts indicate that our brother in law enforcement was executed: repeatedly shot by — and you’ll please excuse my political incorrectness here — murderous assholes whose intent is nothing more than to commit crimes of violence in our country!
So someone tell me: where the hell is the public outcry? Where are the media types profiling this hero of ours and the circumstances that surround his death? Where are the politicians? Why are no more than a handful screaming about protecting our borders and our Agents from those making criminal incursions into our country?
Oh yeah, I forgot, we have this issue in Massachusetts that’s been keeping us busy. There was some speculation that one police officer, in one city, at one moment may have had a racist thought in his head as he encountered a subject on a possible burglary / home invasion call. So the presses came to a grinding halt in order for this national crisis to be examined and dissected. The President had to get involved and a summit was needed in order for this nonevent to be scrutinized (and beer consumed).
In the meantime, Agent Rosas’ family was dealing with his senseless murder and the thought that his young children will grow up having almost no memory of their hero father.
So, for a change, let us DO SOMETHING about this. And by us I mean those of us involved in the law enforcement profession. Let’s contact our congressmen. Let’s contact the media. Let us demand that focus be placed on this situation at our borders. Let us demand support for our BP Agents and their families. Let us insist that we no longer take it for granted that we are going to lose Agents protecting our borders and police officers protecting our streets.
Homeland Security is already addressing the reality of what the BP Agents face. Several Training Directors in different Border Patrol Sectors are being proactive in training by bringing to their agents instruction like the Calibre Press Street Survival Seminar and Communications classes that include body language, verbal cues, and pre-attack indicators. Leadership classes for supervisors and management have been conducted. Dave Smith and Betsy Brantner Smith have taught classes for families of BP Agents who must deal with the reality of living in a Law Enforcement World. And Border Patrol is partnering with schools as well as state, county, and local law enforcement agencies by bringing in Lt. Col. Dave Grossman to El Centro, Calif. on August 14th to talk about school, youth, and gang violence. If you’re interested in attending please contact John E. Ramos, Supervisory Border Patrol Agent, El Centro Sector Training Department, (760) 335-5909.
For the rest of us, it is time for the media to shine a realistic spotlight on what is happening at our north and south borders and to those protecting them. So I believe that we, as a collective law enforcement profession, through policeone.com, should make our concerns known.
Here are just two of the things we can do — the first one is easy, and the second one isn’t a heck of a lot harder. First: make your opinion known in the “comments” area below. I, with the help of my editor (and friend) Doug Wyllie, will compile your responses and send them in one package to some of the major TV news outlets in an effort to get this subject elevated to where it ought to be — national bleeping outrage. It’d be good to include your name and agency in your comments because that will help increase the impact when we deliver our message.
Second, visit this Web site, enter in your state and Zip code, and send your thoughts directly to your congressperson. You’ll probably want to tailor your comments a tad from what you write here because you are addressing someone allegedly deserving of your respect.
Here’s a template/model you can use (I’VE NOTED IN CAPS WHERE YOU’RE GOING TO NEED TO INSERT YOUR OWN STUFF). This is by no means the only way to do this, but it’ll help get you started. Remember to add your comments below, so Doug and I can pull it all together and send it to some people in “the media.”
To the Honorable FIRST AND LAST NAME HERE
House Office Building YOU’LL NEED TO GET THE EXACT ADDRESS
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Congressman (or Congresswoman) LAST NAME HERE:
First, I want to thank you for working on behalf of me and my family. Next, I come to you with an urgent request. I do so not just as a voter, not just as an American citizen, but as a law enforcement professional sworn to protect my community and our country. I need your help.
Border Patrol Agent Robert Rosas was shot and killed at approximately 9:15 p.m. on Thursday, July 23, 2009. He was shot multiple times after exiting his patrol vehicle while responding alone to a suspected border incursion in rugged, arid terrain in southeastern San Diego County. Not enough attention has been paid to the very real dangers faced by our Border Patrol Agents.
INSERT YOUR PERSONAL THOUGHTS ON THIS ISSUE HERE
Agent Rosas had served with the Border Patrol for three years. He is survived by his wife, a two-year-old son, and an 11-month-old daughter. Please do everything in your power to ensure that we will do more to protect those brave men and women who protect us, patrolling the night out there in the desert, usually with little back-up, always outnumbered, and often outgunned.
INSERT YOUR FULL NAME
INSERT YOUR STREET ADDRESS
INSERT YOUR CITY, STATE, AND ZIP CODE
INSERT YOUR PHONE NUMBER
INSERT YOUR E-MAIL ADDRESS
One parting thought: I’d tell you to send a version of this letter to your local television station or newspaper, but I fear they’d never listen...
Lt. Jim Glennon, the third generation in a family of law enforcement officers, has been with the Lombard, Ill., Police Department since 1980. Lt. Glennon has been an instructor in both the law enforcement field and private industry for more than 17 years. He teaches courses in the fields of interview and interrogations, communication skills, and leadership methods for police supervisors. Lt. Glennon is currently the lead instructor for the Calibre Press Street Survival Seminar. He has an undergraduate degree in Psychology and a Masters Degree in Law Enforcement Justice Administration.
Contact Jim Glennon