On Tuesday, August 8, Governor Eric Greitens released the following message to Missouri families, particularly in the law enforcement community:
“On Sunday, Clinton Police Officer Gary Michael pulled a car over for an expired registration. The door swung open. A man stepped out and opened fire. Now Officer Michael is dead.
He was an Army vet. He had three children and one grandchild. His brother said being a cop filled him with pride and purpose.
Yesterday, officers in Joplin pulled a truck over. An object flew out of the window and exploded in front of them. The cowards drove away. The cops chased them. Another bomb was thrown from the truck, and a cop car was run off the road and smashed into a tree.
Thank God no one was hurt. The suspects were caught.
That’s where the story stops for a lot of us. We mourn the dead. We wait for the news to confirm that the suspects are in custody.
There’s another part of the story I want all of us to think about.
The Michaels have an empty seat at their breakfast table. Their dad is gone.
Police departments around the state are on edge today. Hundreds of cops will start their patrols and wonder if they’ll make it home.
The families of cops saw the news too. They know that what happened to Officer Gary Michael or the Joplin police officers could happen to their loved ones—at any moment, at any time, even during a routine traffic stop.
Cops know their duty. They are trained. They are brave. But let’s not pretend they, and their families, aren’t human. They feel anger and fear about what just happened. All of us should understand how hard it is to be a law enforcement officer today. All of us should think about how hard the last few days have been on our finest.
To our police officers: We are grateful for what you do and for what your families do. Your Governor stands with you. The people of Missouri stand with you. Stay safe, and know that a whole state is riding with you.”