Our hero, our friend

May 15, 2014

By Staff

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NEW — 12:15 p.m. May 15, 2014

By Autumn Koepp Mayor John Dulcich stands with hundreds of mourners as they watch a procession of more than 450 police vehicles drive through Newcastle in honor of fallen Deputy Richard Herzog in 2002.

By Autumn Koepp
Mayor John Dulcich stands with hundreds of mourners as they watch a procession of more than 450 police vehicles drive through Newcastle in honor of fallen Deputy Richard Herzog in 2002.

May 15 is Peace Officers Memorial Day, part of National Police Week, which recognizes the men and women who have fallen in the line of duty. In honor of the day, we went through our archives and found this guest editorial penned by then-Newcastle Mayor John Dulcich in the July 12, 2002 Newcastle News issue. It is reprinted below in recognition of Deputy Rich Herzog’s sacrifice to the Newcastle community.

By John D. Dulcich

On June 22, our city witnessed a terrible tragedy in the shooting death of Newcastle Police Officer Richard Herzog. Deputy Herzog was a great friend to our community.

Deputy Herzog was well liked. Since his death, we have heard wonderful personal stories of how he took care of so many of our Newcastle residents. He was a good man, a caring man and a thoughtful man.

In our neighborhoods, he watched over our children. He patiently stopped and waited while errant balls rolled and children played on the streets. Many of us watched him smile and wave at the children as he passed by. He made us feel safe.

He was a friend to those in need. He made many calls to citizens in their homes – keeping the law and keeping the peace.

Just as his death has affected many of you who were witness to the tragedy of his shooting, it has affected our city of Newcastle staff and council, as well as his fellow police officers. Through the King County Sheriff’s Office, we offered counseling at City Hall on June 24 to many who needed help in coping with the shooting. Thank you to those of you who came, and shared your stories during such a difficult time.

I would especially like to thank the staff at City Hall. They have remained strong while continuing to serve our city. Each of our staff cared deeply about Deputy Herzog. I am proud of our police officers who have continued to come to work, and carry on their duty to protect and care for our citizens. These men and women are amazing.

The memorial on Coal Creek Parkway was beautiful. What a great way to show your appreciation to Deputy Herzog. One evening, my wife and I watched over the memorial in wonder. During the two-hour period we were present, we witnessed a constant flow of people who brought flowers, cards and mementos. Many families and individuals paused to thank the police offers that stood vigil over the memorial.

The June 27 motorcade, which passed by the site of Deputy Herzog’s shooting, was the most touching tribute I have ever witnessed. Thank you to the more than 1,000 people who came to Coal Creek Parkway to stand and acknowledge those men and women of service.

The memorial service at the Christian Faith Center included Honor Guards, U.S. Army Special Service and tributes from Gov. Gary Locke and Sheriff David Reichert. It was estimated that over 3,500 people attended the awesome service. City of Newcastle staff, council, as well as many citizens were in attendance.

Thank you to our Newcastle McDonald’s for the July 1 fundraiser for the Herzog family. Countless people attended, and the event was extended an extra hour due to the number of individuals who came to buy meals. Special thanks go to Sheriff David Reichert, who greeted each and every person who stood in line Monday night. Sheriff Reichert has dedicated many hours to Newcastle in our time of crisis. All of our Newcastle businesses have extended their support to the Herzog family as well as our Newcastle community in the last week and a half.

We were touched by the scores of people who came to the memorial that the city of Newcastle hosted on July 3. Pastor Kevin Morris was an inspiration to many of us. Now, we are ready to begin our healing.

I have always been proud to be a part of this great city. Through the tragic loss of our friend, Deputy Rich Herzog, we have all witnessed immense love. The reason Newcastle is so special is because of our friends, our neighbors, our families and our children. We came together and we took care of each other. Newcastle is a community.

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