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Dear Gregory, your death was not in vain. In fact, I am convinced that as a result of your sacrifice, you are responsible for saving the lives of countless NOPD Officers that followed in your footsteps.
This is how I remember that fateful night:
I was just finishing the police academy when I was assigned to ride with members of the plain clothes Felony Action Squad (FAS). We were working the 1st District (French Quarter & Central Business District) which shared the radio channel with your 4th District (Algiers) across the MS River.
There was a huge fire at Basin & S. Claiborne that engulfed the telephone & electrical lines. As a result, hundreds of burglar alarms were triggered simultaneously.
Our beloved politicians, in an effort to save money, replaced seasoned veteran police officers that knew the streets and the job from the dispatch center with civilians that had no clue as to how to perform your job, what support from them that you needed, nor could they handle the stress of working a radio channel with multiple emergencies at one time.
When you tried to tell the dispatcher that you were exiting your vehicle, the dispatcher told you to stand-by because of the fire & multitude of alarms in the 1st. They never got your location, the reason you were exiting your vehicle, or a description of the subjects that took your life.
I fault your rank also as it is their duty to protect their officers. It wasn't until hours later that they tried to call you but by then it was too late. A roll call went out over the air & unit by unit responded except for you. We raced across the river to join in the search for you and were of the 1st to find you, again too late to help save you.
You were the 1st in everything in my career. The 1st crime scene that I went on. The 1st homicide victim that I saw. The 1st brother officer that I saw slain in the line of duty. I have never forgotten you or what your sacrifice taught me and as a result, how you ended up protecting the lives of countless officers that came after you including myself.
You taught me to never allow a dispatcher to tell me to stand-by when I was exiting my unit for any reason. When I became a Sergeant, I instructed my officers to always make sure they broadcast over the air whenever they exited their units. God help the dispatcher that ever tried to tell any of my officers to stand-by because they were to busy to get their information. I chastised many a dispatcher over the air and when needed, they got a personal visit from me. I guarantee they never did it again.
So, while your sacrifice was tragic in so many ways & probably could have been prevented if you had received the support you should have received, it was not in vain.
Thanks Gregory. May God bless you and your family. Rest in peace, brother.
Sgt. Glen Forman, Retired
New Orleans Police Department
August 28, 2015