LMPD :: Louisville Metro Police Department

Ryan's Message...

It is with deep regret and a heavy heart that I draft this correspondence.

As of October 1, 2006, I am retired from my position as a trooper with the

Ohio State Highway Patrol.  I have received an injury in the line of duty,

and this injury has ultimately forced me to accept an early medical

disability retirement.  When I began this journey nearly 8 years ago, this

certainly wasn't the ending that I envisioned, and it most certainly isn't

one I would have chosen.  I will spare you the intricacies of my injury and

retirement, for the details would most likely prove to be too ghastly for

your comprehension.  These details are my burden to carry, and mine alone,

and as such I have not shared them with even those of you who are my closest


As you are all aware, I spent my entire career working the Greater Dayton area.  National statistics have ranked Dayton, Ohio, as the seventh most violent city per capita in America, and as such it did not provide a very hospitable and forgiving work environment.  While it is true that my body

will always bear the outward scars, perhaps the most devastating scars are

those which cannot be seen with the naked eye.  I have visions which will

forever be imprinted in my mind, and I can still see each of them vividly

when I close my eyes at night.  I have held the hand of a weeping

grandmother as I tried to explain that her daughter and two grandchildren,

one of whom turned 1 year old that day, had just been killed in a traffic


I have tried in vain to make a grieving mother understand that her

daughter had not been killed in a tragic accident, but had in fact committed

suicide.  I have held my best friend's hand as he was loaded into an

ambulance after being shot in the throat, and less than an hour later I

listened in utter disbelief as the animal responsible for this heinous crime

told me he was proud of what he did and hoped "the $%*^@#$ pig dies."  These

are simply a few of the myriad of horrible incidents through which I have

suffered.  I have been involved in so many vehicle pursuits that they all

have begun to run together.  I have spent countless nights and weekends

chasing criminals through alleys and backyards and over fences, all while

the rest of the world slept soundly in their beds, completely oblivious to

the evil which surrounded them.

If I may take just a few more moments of your time, I would like to climb

up onto my soapbox and reflect on the last sentence of the previous

paragraph.  All too often we are grossly unaware of the terrible, terrible

price that is paid for the freedoms we take for granted.  Following their

return from the battle zone, our soldiers are heralded as heroes and honored

with parades and banquets.  This is exactly how it should be, for these

soldiers truly are heroes.  However, there is a war going on in the streets

right outside our front doors, yet many of us find ourselves completely

oblivious to it.  It is not out of ignorance that we are uninformed, but

rather it is because the brave men and women forming the "thin blue line"

around us are performing their calling with astonishing perfection.  It is

rather unfortunate, however, that the soldiers fighting this war (and yes,

it is very much a war) are rewarded with criticism and violence and

unfounded accusations of injustice and disservice.  If you feel safe walking

down the street after nightfall, it is because of the police officers (yes,

the very same ones you cursed out yesterday for giving you an unwanted

speeding ticket, etc.) valiantly defending your freedoms in that particular

area.  Please, the next time you pass a police officer on the sidewalk, take

just a moment of your day to thank them for the job they do on your behalf.

This moment could possibly be your last opportunity to do so, because before

you see them again, that officer may be called upon to lay the ultimate

sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.  Yesterday I buried a good friend who

gave his life in the line of duty, serving his community.  So you see, it

really may be your last chance to say thank you.  I wish I could tell Josh

"thank you" one last time...

Please feel free to circulate and forward this letter to whomever you feel

would be interested in reading it.  Thank you so much to all of you for your

thoughts and support during this time of transition in my life.

Yours In Service,

Trooper Ryan E. Elsey  Unit#109

Ohio State Highway Patrol