There is no more dangerous and necessary profession in the United States than being a law enforcement officer.
This, unfortunately, was driven home again this week with the killing of Baltimore County Police Department Officer First Class Amy Sorrells Caprio.
Officer First Class Caprio, who had lived in Fallston since 2015, was responding to a report of a suspicious activity in a Perry Hall neighborhood that turned out to be a daytime burglary committed by teenage boys, according to police. The alleged 16-year-old lookout and driver of the getaway vehicle ran over the officer when she confronted him, fatally injuring her, police said.
The four teenagers have been charged as adults with first-degree murder. All are from Baltimore, and none of them should have been anywhere near Perry Hall on a Monday afternoon. The 16-year-old who allegedly drove into the officer should have been in state custody, according to his lengthy juvenile record, the rest should have been in school.
Police officers know the drill. They put themselves in harm’s way every minute they are on duty, and many times when they are not. That doesn’t make it any easier to accept an officer’s death, regardless of the circumstances.
Many of us in Harford County were shocked at the tragic deaths of Harford County Sheriff’s Office Senior Deputy Patrick Dailey and Deputy First Class Mark Logsdon in February 2016.
Senior Deputy Dailey responded to an apparently routine call about a suspicious person at an Abingdon restaurant, only to be fatally shot by the man as he tried to talk with him. Answering the call for a fellow officer down, Deputy First Class Logsdon was fatally shot as he chased Senior Deputy Dailey’s assailant.
The two deputies were the first with the Harford County Sheriff’s Office to be murdered in the line of duty since 1899, only the third in the 240-plus year of that agency.
Officer First Class Caprio was the first female Baltimore County PD officer to die in the line of duty and the 10th officer killed in that department’s nearly 150-year history.
There was no trial in connection with the Dailey and Logsdon murders because the man who killed them was shot to death by other officers when he fired upon them.
That won’t be the case with Officer First Class Caprio’s alleged killers. While we would like to think justice will be served in the end, Maryland’s long flawed criminal justice system – and its proclivity for siding with the victimizers and not the victims, makes it unlikely the perpetrators will get the punishments they should.
And regardless, no matter what penalties may be meted out by the state, it won’t bring Officer First Class Caprio back to her family, friends and fellow officers.
Those men and women who wear the badge will continue to go out each day and try to protect our communities from people like those accused of ending Officer First Class Caprio’s life earlier this week.
It’s a rough job, emotionally and physically, but we’d be far worse off without their dedication, bravery and sacrifices.