My Friend Shaggy
My friend and fellow officer Jonathan Stuart was a great police officer and an even greater person. To me he was known as "Shaggy"; A nickname he aquired in the police academy for his likeness to the Scooby Doo's character (for his looks and carefree disposition). He was also the first officer I personally knew as a friend to die.
On August 11, 2007 at about 7:00 in the morning, he was making his usual long drive home after completing an overnight shift. On a freeway south of town, he lost control of his vehicle and was killed when his car collided with another in the oncoming lane. The other driver was also killed. I don't know what caused the accident but it appears he may have fallen asleep.
The night before, my shift ended at midnight and I joked with him on my way out the door. I had no idea that as I slept comfortably in my bed at home, my friend Shaggy was being air lifted to a hospital in critical condition. The surgeons were unable to overcome his fatal injuries. He died just before I started my shift later in the day at 2:00.
Officer Stuart was a three year veteran and the most liked person at my police station. The mood among us has been subdued since his death and I find myself thinking about him many times a day. He was the hardest working cop I knew who answered up for the calls nobody else wanted. He loved being a patrol officer and wanted to work the streets for his entire career. Policework was his life and his passion for it was obvious. He treated citizens with respect and made many friends with the people he served in his patrol area. He was honorable, loyal, kind, wise, and funny. He was the kind of guy you enjoyed being around and who enjoyed being around you. He was everbody's friend and put everyone else before himself.
I'm not fully able to express what a great person he was. I miss his grin, sarcasm, friendliness, and the distinctive twang in his voice he used when announcing his call sign over the radio. I keep catching glimpses of him -rounding a corner inside my police station or driving by in a patrol car -only to realize it's some other officer.
I'm sorry another person lost his life along with Jonathan that day. I know he would be devastated by this. He lived for the protection of others and, given the chance, would have sacrificed his own life to save that of another.
I don't why such a promising and important life had to end this way. I do know one thing, however: If there really is a heaven, Shaggy is up there doing what he always did down here on Earth -working tirelessly to make it a better place for others.