COLUMN: Honoring Deputy Sheriff Darren Goforth

Submitted photo.
Ellis County Sheriff Johnny Brown.

Friday morning at 11 a.m., our local law enforcement along with deputies and officers from around the state stopped what we were doing to honor fallen Deputy Sheriff Darren Goforth of the Harris County Sheriff's Office.

Whether it was lighting up our patrol units or standing at attention along the side of the road, we wanted to recognize this man's service and the life he gave on our behalves. I want to personally thank all of those citizens who joined with us, whether you turned your headlights on as you drove by or wore something blue to work that day. It's the least we all could do.

The act of violence that saw Deputy Goforth gunned down in cold blood was senseless and beyond understanding. Here was a deputy simply working his way through a shift that was by all accounts routine until that moment he was targeted and his life taken without any warning or reason. His watch ended way too soon and in the most tragic manner possible.

I can only imagine the pain and heartbreak Deputy Goforth's wife and kids are feeling and I'm asking that you keep them in your thoughts and prayers because their lives have been shattered. They received the news that none of us in law enforcement ever want to have to deliver and they will continue to need everyone's support in the days and months ahead. We go to work every day praying that our own families never have to be on the receiving end of that kind of message.

I'm concerned when I hear people talking about how law enforcement is bad and that we're operating with little to no regard for human life. Nothing could be further from the truth. All of us have taken an oath to serve and protect and the vast majority of law enforcement professionals do just that. In any professional career, there are people who don't need to be doing that job and we don't want them around anymore than you do. If there's a bad apple turns up amongst us, we remove them. I do know we can't continue down a path where a target gets placed on all of law enforcement because of one officer's rogue action.

It's time for law enforcement and the communities they serve to come together and support each other. One way that can happen is for everyone to attend the Back the Blue candlelight vigil this Monday night at 8 p.m. on the courthouse square in downtown Waxahachie. Another Back the Blue gathering will be held at 6 a.m. Sept. 11 on the U.S. 67 frontage road by Midlothian Police Department. Please join us and let's stand together in support of each other. Don't let Deputy Goforth's life have been in vain.

We knew law enforcement's a dangerous job when we raised our hands to be sworn in. We took that oath anyway because it's our calling to stand watch and take action against the dangers our society faces. Deputy Goforth's death is a grim reminder of the price that's sometimes paid. When the public helps us by serving as our extra sets of eyes and ears, you not only help us keep you safe but you're helping keep us safe as well. While we can take every possible precaution, our lives are in your hands as much as you've entrusted yours to us.

In honor and memory of this good deputy and brother in arms, I'm asking that together we remember him as we “go forth” from this moment. Let's all continue to work with each other as we keep the peace.

Please, everyone, let's keep our military and service personnel in our thoughts and prayers. We enjoy our rights and freedoms because of their service and safekeeping of our great nation. Y'all have a Blessed Week.

Johnny Brown has served as Sheriff of Ellis County since Jan. 1, 2009, and is a graduate of the National Sheriff's Institute. He has been in law enforcement for more than 20 years and holds a Master's Peace Officer's Certificate with the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education.