I want to start by shining a light on an officer who laid his life on the line. Tuscaloosa police officer Dornell Cousette breathed his last breath on the night of September 16. He was only 40 years old, with so much life left to live. He left behind two daughters and a fiancee. He was an encouraging role model for the kids in the community, an outstanding officer, and a man the pure heart to care for and protect others.

I remember going out to eat with a group of friends that Monday night. I saw in the news that Cousette had been shot and taken to the hospital. I sat there praying that he would make it through because the world does not need to lose any more earthly protectors.

Yet, hours went by before I received the call that broke my heart in two. I understood what would come next. This innocent man would be laid to rest, and his family and friends would begin the mourning of their loved one. He was brutally taken away from them doing his job. Officers families pray every day that their loved ones will return home each shift, but times like this come and it shatters hope.

The families have a missing part of their unit, but the rest of the world continues on without them.

I know this.

I have experienced this.

I had my family shattered in 2004.

My dad was killed in the line of duty, much like Cousette. Three officers, including my dad, were killed that day. I lost my dad, I lost my role model, and I lost all the experiences I could have had with him.

It broke my heart to hear that Cousette had two daughters. There are two more girls out here, in the world, that will have to finish growing without their dad. In both cases, two innocent men lost their lives, their family, their futures. They were left to live on in their loved ones' memories — but I'm sure Cousette's daughters would rather have their dad here than in a memory.

The loss of a brother, a son, a husband, a dad, a friend.

It all weighs down a person's soul.

It is like a piece of them has been ripped from their life.

When officers are killed in the line duty, many bystanders forget to see past the badge. These men are more than just their profession. These men are family, they are friends, they are the people who look forward to coming home to their families. These are the men and women who protect our streets to keep us safe. Unfortunately, this is the fourth officer killed in the state of Alabama just this year. These men and women protect our streets. Maybe, for once, we should protect them. I am calling to action our turns to keep our American heroes safe. If not for our officers, but for the families that will be affected by the loss of their loved one.

I want to close with a prayer:

Dear Lord, thank you for Officer Cousette. I want to thank you for giving him the strength and courage to impact our streets. Thank you for keeping our other officers safe on the streets. I pray that our officers know they are looked over by you and your protecting hand is covering them with grace. I hope Cousette's family feels the comfort among each other at this time of trials. I hope the family is able to reflect on the good memories, instead of dwelling on the evils. I pray that the family does not feel alone, because their law enforcement family is backing them up and standing behind them. Every step of the way may be challenging, but I pray they are able to trust in your timing and guidance, Lord. I pray with my heart and all the love inside of my body that the family can feel a sense of peace. I hope they are able to see the hero officer Cousette was and is. He is watching over them in heaven. I pray they feel his presence.
Amen.