All cops understand the risk behind the badge, that inevitable confrontation with death. Yet it often goes unspoken until a day like Wednesday, when Glendale police learned that one of their own had been shot and killed as he tried to arrest a man suspected of beating his girlfriend.
Investigator Charles Lazzaretto was the ninth Los Angeles County law enforcement officer to die in the line of duty since 1995, but the first in Glendale in 25 years. Jocular and smart, Lazzaretto, 30, was remembered by fellow officers as an avid reader, a loving father and husband and as a man whose smile rarely faded.
A cop’s death--like a cop’s misdeeds--strikes a chord somewhere. Yes, they are human, susceptible to the same dangers and temptations as the civilians they are sworn to protect. Yet we place in them so much trust and responsibility that we sometimes forget how fragile--how like us--they really are. They are just men and women doing their jobs, risking their lives.
Lazzaretto died trying to catch a violent man. He knew the risk. All cops do. But, like Lazzaretto, they take them willingly because they believe it makes a difference. It does.