A Personal Discovery

In early 2010, I embarked on creating my book “Keeping a Blue Light On:  A Citizen’s Tribute to the Seattle Police Department.”  The inspiration to do it was to honor the five Seattle-area police officers who had been gunned down in late 2009, officers who were killed in the line of duty because they were police officers.

I have often wondered why I felt so passionately about and have continued to feel increasingly passionate about law enforcement.  People often ask me if I am related to anyone in law enforcement and I explain that I am not.

Well, all of that changed in the most unexpected way.  My sister, who lives in Erie, PA where we grew up, saw a story in the Erie Times last week about the new Chief of the Erie Police Department.  In the story was a reference to officers who had been killed in the line of duty, including a Sgt. Leo Waldinger.  My sister said, “do you think this was Nana’s brother?”  Nana was our beloved paternal grandmother.  Her maiden name was Waldinger.  I called my cousin, one of my few living relatives on my father’s side, and asked her – did Nana have a brother who was a police officer?  She said yes.  I said, did he die in the line of duty?  She said, yes.  His name was Leo.  I was floored.

For perspective, my father died when I was a child and my grandparents died when I was a teenager.  I never heard or at least don’t recall being told that my grandmother had a brother who was a police officer killed in the line of duty at the age of 32.  He was off duty but responded with another officer to a call of a hostage situation.  My great uncle and the other responding officer, Patrolman Walter May, were shot while trying to rescue the hostage.  The incident took place on Nov. 18, 1949 – the same date on which my father would die in 1966 at the age of 33.  The officers were taken to the hospital.  My great uncle, Sgt. Leo Waldinger, died on Nov. 26, 1949 – 64 years ago today – leaving behind a wife and child, his sister, my grandmother (who was 44), and my father, his nephew, who as 16.

I cannot tell you the impact that this has had on me.  It explains so much.  And I can’t express in words the true honor I feel to know that the brother of my beloved grandmother, my own flesh and blood, served as a police officer and died in the line of duty.

Sergeant Leo Waldinger

E.O.W.  Nov. 26, 1949

Gone But Not Forgotten


Anniversary of Officer Brenton’s murder

I wanted to share this photo I took of SPD Officer Ryan Gallagher at SPD Officer Timothy Brenton’s memorial. Tomorrow, 10.31.13, will be the four-year anniversary of Officer Brenton’s murder. Ryan Gallagher I lived in NYC during 9/11. Often, for me, it is on the night before the anniversary that I feel my most anxious and sad because of what was already in play and spend time wishing we could have stopped it. I am thinking of Tim’s family and friends, all of SPD. All the collective hearts that bleed for you now also send you love and strength and gratitude that so fine an officer served his public.

12th Annual Seattle Police Awards

I was thrilled to once again be the event producer of the Annual Seattle Police Awards which took place this year on Oct. 25th.  I was also thrilled that KING 5 did a piece about the show of support for SPD by Seattle citizens.  You can see the story here.Screen shot 2013-10-29 at 4.12.27 PM


Remembering the Lakewood Police Officers

Remembering Lakewood Officers, Officer Tina Griswold, Officer Ronald Owens, Sgt. Mark Renninger and Officer Gregory Richards, whom we lost three years ago today. End Of Watch November 29, 2009. Gone But Not Forgotten. Thoughts and prayers to their families, friends, and fellow officers.

It was this tragedy combined with losing Officer Brenton less than a month earlier that inspired me to to this book to honor the fallen — and to honor the men and women who go out there every day against all odds to protect us.

In Memory of Officer Brenton

Remembering Seattle Police Officer Timothy Brenton who was murdered three years ago today while sitting in his patrol car following a routine traffic stop.

End of Watch:  October 31, 2009.  Gone But Not Forgotten.

Seattle Police Awards Banquet 2012

I had the pleasure of being the event planner for this year’s Annual Seattle Police Awards Banquet, the event where officers who have gone above and beyond the call of duty over the past year are awarded for their dedication, commitment and sacrifice.  As a special presentation and to show the Seattle Police Department the extent to which its community supports them, we invited citizens to hold up signs with commendations that had been written over the past year — messages of thanks for what police officers do every day.

This part of the speech I wrote for the Seattle Police Foundation CEO Renée Hopkins sums it up:

“In a year like this when the tide seems against you; when the chorus of criticism rings loudly and seemingly without end, we want you to know that the number of people who support and appreciate you is actually greater than those few voices that overpower the quiet majority.  Contrary to how it may feel to you right now, there are citizens who appreciate what you do every day.”

Here are a couple photos from the citizen commendation portion.  Some read theirs from the stage and others stood proudly around the room holding their signs for all to see.  It was a moving and memorable moment.

Mayor McGinn’s reading list

The SLOG just published a list of books Mayor McGinn has on his coffee table — and it includes “Keeping a Blue Light On.”  Check it out here.

Kirkland Reporter story on upcoming reading 11/30

Stacey Sanner at Parkplace Books in Kirkland

Photo credit: Carrie Wood/Kirkland Reporter

Thanks to Carrie and Matt at the Kirkland Reporter for this great story on the book and my upcoming reading at Parkplace Books in downtown Kirkland on Wed., Nov. 30 at 7:00 p.m.