Above and Beyond the Line of Duty: Officer Robert Wilson

On Thursday March 5, 2015 Officer Robert Wilson, a nine year veteran of the Philadelphia Police Department, was killed during a shootout with two would-be robbers. Given the recent national tension between the police and a growing number of Americans, this senseless killing was as likely to be a blurb on page three as a headline above the fold, but that would have been a mistake because it would have missed the rest of the story.

Everyone can agree that being a police officer is inherently dangerous. Some believe that this danger was what LEOs “signed up for” or that it is the price they pay for “living off the tax payer.” Others know different. They understand that although being injured, or even killed, is a possibility during every shift, it is never something an officer believes will happen today. Unfortunately, every day officers nationwide face that possibility, and when they do, they earn every cent they have ever received in taxpayer money. Sometimes they behave in a manner which can never be repaid, a manner which should be honored by every American who understands what it means to give your life for another. That is what Officer Wilson did.

Officer Wilson did not walk into the local Game Stop hoping to stop a robbery, or looking to be a hero. He went into that store to buy his young son a present for doing well in school. He was Above and Beyond Sideprobably as surprised as anyone when Carlton Hipps and Ramone Williams, brothers and career criminals who never should have been walking the streets, burst in and announced a stick up. After all, it was broad day light and there was a marked police cruiser parked outside. Who in their right mind would attempt a stick up? But when that happened, Officer Wilson did what he was paid for and then some. By all accounts, he announced himself and attempted to stop the two would-be robbers. After seeing that both brothers were armed and an immediate threat to the other patrons, Officer Wilson not only engaged the armed suspects but he moved away from cover, putting himself in greater harm so he could draw the robbers’ fire away from the innocent bystanders.

Officer Wilson paid the ultimate price for his bravery, laying down his life so that others in that store would not be harmed. He left behind a family, including the 10 year old son he was buying the video game for and another infant son, and a grieving department which honored him on Saturday March 14, 2015 by not only promoting him posthumously to sergeant but also awarding him the City’s Medal of Valor and Medal of Honor. In announcing the awards, Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey described Officer Wilson’s actions by saying “I’ve been in policing for 46 years and I have never witnessed an act of bravery like I saw that day-never.”

Fortunately, Officer Wilson’s story was not limited to a blurb on page three. Despite the negative attitude many citizens and journalists have for law enforcement, many have realized the rare courage showed that fateful afternoon. It started with widespread coverage focusing on Officer Wilson and not as a platform to discuss the negatives of modern policing. This was soon followed by an announcement that Game Stop had quietly donated a “sizable amount” to the Wilson family which recent reports claim to be $50,000. Game Stop also made it possible for customers to make donations at any store, money which will also be forwarded to the family. Finally, over 8000 fellow officers traveled from throughout the nation to the City of Brotherly Love to show their final respects to a brother of their own.

Next time you hear someone bad mouthing the police or complaining because an officer was doing their job, remember that Officer Robert Wilson was doing his job too.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Tom Burrell

Tom enlisted in the US Marine Corps Reserves in 1987. Following service in Desert Storm, he transitioned to active duty with the US Coast Guard. In 1997 he left the USCG to pursue a position in conservation & maritime law enforcement. Tom is currently a Captain and he oversees several programs, including his agency investigation unit. He is also a training instructor in several areas including firearms, defensive tactics and first aid/CPR. In 2006 Tom received his Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Harrisburg Area Community College and in 2010 a Bachelor’s Degree from Penn State University.
Tom Burrell

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