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The Observer paper 12/24/14

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Memorial should serve as a reminder to dangers police face

Nearly 3,000 people, including law enforcement representatives from the Union County Sheriff’s Office and the La Grande Police Department, attended a memorial last Thursday in Portland to honor Oregon City Reserve Officer Robert Libke, who was fatally shot while on duty Nov. 3.

The solemn occasion was a time for officials and residents to honor the 41-year-old, who leaves behind a wife, Wendy, who is pregnant with the couple’s second child. Libke was killed while investigating a report of an armed man around a house fire. Libke was shot in the head and died the following day after undergoing surgery. He was the first Oregon City police officer killed in the line of duty since 1906.

Though Libke served Oregonians on the other side of the state, his service is a reminder to all of us that life is precious. Just as we were reminded last Monday of our veterans and their families who sacrificed so much, Libke should remind us of the other everyday heroes who work for our safety daily. Our emergency responders — police, firefighters, EMTs — live a life on call and don’t hesitate to walk into situations to help, regardless of the cost.

Libke was posthumously awarded with a Medal of Valor, Purple Heart, Distinguished Service Medal and the Chief’s Medal of Merit for his actions during the crisis that took his life.

No one can tell us when a vehicle will crash, when a house will catch fire or when a gunman may pull the trigger. But we can rest assured knowing men and women like Officer Libke serve on our police forces and other emergency agencies. We cannot take for granted those willing to enter the unknown to protect the greater good.

Contact Kelly Ducote at 541-786-4230 or This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it Follow Kelly on Twitter @lgoDucote.

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