"Reflections of the past year"
By Sgt. Matthew Rook on Wednesday, August 17, 2011
In late 2009 I went to work for the Chattahoochee Hills Police Department in S. Fulton County. Upon arriving at the department I met numerous officers but one stuck out, Lt. Mike Vogt. Lt. Vogt quickly became a friend and a mentor. I spent countelss mornings taking to Lt. for hours on end; I learned something from him everytime we talked.
On the morning of Feburary 15, 2011, I was at the department and Lt. was working this Presidents Day shift. At about 830 he helped me study for a particularly hard class I had coming up. We finished and myself, Sgt. David Colley, Ofc. Andrew Jurchenko and Chief Damon Jones gathered in the office and began our "offical" study session for the day. Noramlly these sessions lasted about an hour or so. I remember finding it odd we were still there at 1130, little did I know a bigger task was ahead and had already been set in motion. Shortly after 1130 a call went out over the radio in the office, it was not good. Without hesitation we ran to our patrol cars and responded. We were all off work at this time, we had no bullet proof vests, it was with only resolve and great concern we responded to that fateful scene.
When we arrived my heart fell to see it was one of our officers, at this time my worst nightmare had come to life, it was Mike. Officer Tony Brown arrived on the scene at the same time. At this time the events that unfolded showed the amazing professionalism and true character of all who were present. As most of you know Lt. Vogt was airlifted to Grady Memorial where he was pronounced dead.
This set forth a string of 43 sleepless hours for me which were filled with great emotion and resolve to do my job the best I knew how and to trust in what I believe. I was lost and searching for reason, rhyme or any shred of explanation as to why this happened. In time I came to terms with what happened, even though I still have questions but I understand that in time I will have answers.
I was then tasked to be a pallbearer, I was honored. I remember only snipits of the funeral but have seen videos which tied everything together for me. I was then left to search for the answer to the eternal question...WHY? I may never know the reason for the sensless killing of Mike but I know it is all part of God's plan.
Fast forward to the week of May 13, 2011.... National Police Week in Washington D.C. I was honored to be the escort for the Vogt family. I was accompanied by my wife Charlotte and my friend and officer Sherry Conrad. During this week it stirred the emotions I had felt more than a year earlier.
One day after arriving I found myself arriving at Judiciary Square, site of the Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall. As I stepped off the escalator and into the memorial, I felt strong emotion fall over me. I quickly absorbed that this was hallowed ground, crowded but quiet, simple, yet so complex. I slowly walked as a stream of seemingly endless tears rolled down my face. I located Mike's name on the memorial wall and held my hand on the engraving of his name. I then walked around the memorial and found endless momentos, notes, cards and pictures left by brothers and sisters in blue, husbands, wives and most thought prevoking of all from the fallen officer's children. To see notes from children left for their parents and seeing the pain that the loss has caused, it again brings me to the question...WHY? I still have no answer.
The week continued and I was honored to celebrate the lives of the Officers who have gone before us. It was an emotionally rewarding experience which I will hold close to my heart forever.
I wrote this to give a glimpse into only a small fraction of the emotions involved in the past year. For the fellow officers who read this, pray you never experience this. To my friends outside the law enforcement community please understand, this is why we do the job we do, because when "The Wicked flee and no man pursueth but the righteous are bold as a lion" this is danger realized by all officers, they accept the charge and push forward. I am proud to be surrounded by the officers I serve and have served with.
Reflection of a BrotherOfficer