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Editorial: APD officer’s actions louder than mere words

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A year ago, the Albuquerque Journal published an op-ed column penned by former Albuquerque Police Department Capt. Rob DeBuck.

In the opinion piece, DeBuck pointed to an increased level of violence, not just in Albuquerque but nationally, and noted that criminals were becoming better armed and more brazen. He noted that a then-recent shooting of an APD officer in the leg was relegated to the back of the Metro section, not the front page. DeBuck also acknowledged that police officers are human and do make mistakes when having to make split-second decisions, and, of course, they can do better.

His point was that the men and women who put their lives on the line every day deserve support from the community, and recognition of the dangers they face. “To those who come up to police officers and thank them for their service or merely wave – a hearty thank you,” he wrote. “Your support means more than you know!”

DeBuck retired in 2006 but returned to APD in 2008 and is now an APD school resource officer.

Now, a year after writing that column, DeBuck is in the news for saving the life of a 68-year-old hiker. The man is diabetic and had turned back from his hike on the LaLuz trail after feeling ill. He collapsed in the parking lot and had started to turn blue. An off-duty DeBuck, an avid runner who had just come down from the trail, performed CPR. The man drew a breath and opened his eyes and asked where he was.

Well, actually he was in the good hands of a police officer who knew what to do and did it. As one hiker who witnessed DeBuck’s quick action said “He is a remarkable representative of the police department.”

Indeed. Officer DeBuck, your example means more than you know.

This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned as it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than the writers.

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