Hero officer makes ultimate sacrifice
As another horrific crime plays out, another law enforcement officer makes the ultimate sacrifice. This time it was Ventura County Sheriff Sgt. Ron Helus who was killed as he rushed in to the Borderline Bar & Grill to stop a mass shooting in Thousand Oaks, Calif.
Helus was one year from retirement. Now he’ll never see that day or his wife or 24-yearold son, Jason.
Reaction to Helus’ bravery and death in the line of duty has been widespread. The Los Angeles Police Department tweeted, “Sgt. Ron Helus donned his uniform yesterday as he did for the past 29 years. When gunfire erupted, the @VENTURASHERIFF feared no evil, rushing to unselfishly protect his community … a hero that will never be forgotten.”
President Trump also took to social media to show his appreciation, writing, “Great bravery shown by police. California Highway Patrol was on scene within 3 minutes, with first officer to enter shot numerous times. That Sheriff’s Sergeant died in the hospital. God bless all of the victims and families of the victims. Thank you to Law Enforcement.”
The police community in Massachusetts also felt the loss. Chelsea police Chief Brian Kyes told the Herald, “It’s heartbreaking to hear. … The two officers who responded to the scene were courageous. They rushed in there without knowing where the shooters were and saved numerous lives.”
An emotional Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean said, “Ron was a hardworking, dedicated sheriff sergeant. He was totally committed, he gave his all, and tonight, as I told his wife, he died a hero.” The sheriff said inside the bar, six off-duty officers shielded other patrons. “It was amazing,” he said. In 2018 Massachusetts lost two of its finest in the line of duty. Weymouth police officer Michael Chesna was shot and killed on July 15 and Yarmouth police Sgt. Sean Gannon was gunned down on April 12.
According to the Officer Down Memorial Page website, 126 law enforcement officers have died in the line of duty in 2018 — 118 men and 8 women. The average age is 42 years old.
The men and women of law enforcement risk their lives day in and day out. Every time they say goodbye to their loved ones they know it might be the last. It is reported that Sgt. Helus told his wife,“I gotta go, I love you,” as he responded to the shooting.
It is important that we as a society give law enforcement the great respect they deserve. We must make sure our elected leaders are stalwart advocates for them and that our men and women who wear the uniform are given the training and resources they need.