The law enforcement family in the area has lost another comrade in the line of duty, and once again it hit close to home.

The East Baton Rouge Parish sheriff’s Office lost a veteran March 18 when Sgt. Shawn Anderson died from gunshot wounds he suffered during investigation of a teen rape suspect at Classic Cuts Barber Shop on O’Neal Lane in Baton Rouge.

It put another black mark on a city which still feels the pain of the July 17 ambush shooting that killed Deputy Brad Garafola of the Sheriff’s Office, along with Officer Matthew Gerald and Cpl. Montrell Jackson of the Baton Rouge Police Department. Deputy Nick Tullier, who was critically wounded, continues rehabilitation at TIRR Memorial-Hermann in Houston.

Anderson’s murder marked the fourth in so many law enforcement shootings since July to involve a Livingston Parish resident. Ironically, it occurred the same day the St. Patrick’s Day Parade paid homage to the fallen officers from the July massacre.

His death marks the eighth slaying of a police officer since the start of 2017, and comes after a year when 63 law enforcement officers died from gunfire, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.

The shootings may have occurred in East Baton Rouge Parish. The fact the fallen officers – both from last year and last weekend – lived in Livingston Parish makes the news hit much closer to home.

Keep in mind, however, that it hits close to home even if they do not live in this parish or even this state. Law officers serve and protect, and it’s their hard work and sacrifice nationwide which help maintain order. Each killing of a law officer furthers the decay of our society.

A total of 135 officers died in the line of duty last year, the highest since 177 officers were killed. The total is still far less than the 307 in 1930, the deadliest year on record, according to the National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund.

The most painful questions stems from how we can curb the number of fallen officers.

At the same time, we must remember the survivors not only of Sgt. Shawn Anderson, but all fallen officers.

“We must never forget that 900,000 law enforcement officers nationwide risk their lives every day for our safety and protection,” Craig Floyd, the memorial fund’s president and CEO, said in a statement. “This year, 135 of those men and women did not make it home to their families at the end of their shift.”

The families of fallen officers suffer through the loss of their loved ones, perhaps the greatest sacrifice one could imagine.

It’s important for us to reach out to Sgt. Anderson’s family and the loved ones of other officers who died in the line of duty. It could come through donations or a simple offering of help as they attempt to pull themselves together after their loss.

Our sacrifices through donations or assistance pale in comparison what they have endured.

We salute and pray for Sgt. Shawn Anderson, along all of the fallen officers and their families for their enormous sacrifices.

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