Are They Heroes, Or Just Cops Doing Their Jobs?

Writers' Police Academy


Ask any cop who’s been in a shootout or other dangerous situation if he/she is a hero, and they’ll probably tell you they were just doing their jobs. Knives, guns, sticks and stones? A police officer runs toward that stuff without giving the weapons or the person holding them a second thought. Why do they do it? Are their actions heroic and  brave, or an act of foolishness and stupidity? Well, there is a certain amount of bravery involved, but cops are trained early on to react instinctively to danger. If not, we’d be attending a lot more funerals with twenty-one gun salutes and bagpipes as background music.

In the days after the police shooting of Ft. Hood mass murderer, Major Hasan, media described Sgt. Kimberly Munley as a hero. They told the world that she alone faced the armed gunman – that she, while gravely wounded by the gunman’s bullets, returned fire, killing Major Hasan.

As it turns out that wasn’t the case at all. Hasan is still alive, Sgt. Munley wasn’t alone, and according to witnesses on the scene, Sgt. Munley was shot and downed and out of the action almost immediately. The witness stated that two police officers, Sgt. Munley and Senior Sgt. Mark Todd, arrived on the scene in separate vehicles, but they ran together toward the building where the gunman was reloading his weapon(s). The two sergeants then shouted their commands of, “Drop your weapon!” Hasan then fired at both officers, who then split up, with Sgt. Todd going left around the building and Sgt. Munley headed to her right. A witness on the scene said Hasan immediately shot Munley several times, which caused her to fall over backward. The witness said it appeared that Sgt. Munley had been hit in the legs and wrists.

Sgt. Munley in her hospital room with Defense Secretary Robert Gates

Sgt. Todd began to backtrack as witnesses told him of Hasan’s movements. When Todd rounded the corner of the building he again came face to face with Hasan. Munley was lying on the ground, wounded. Todd again yelled for Hasan to drop his weapon, but the gunman opened fire on the officer for a second time. That’s when Sgt. Todd returned fire, terminating the threat. Then he kicked the gunman’s weapon out of the way and handcuffed Hasan. The situation was finally over. It had lasted only 45 seconds.

Sgt. Todd initially asked to be kept out of the limelight, stating that the real heroes of that day were the medics who tended to the injured.

Senior Sgt. Mark Todd

When asked about his strategy, Sgt. Todd said he simply relied on his training – to shoot until there is no longer a threat.

Personally, I think all police officers are heroes, and it doesn’t take a shootout to make them one. That’s just part of the job. It’s what they do.

Were these two Killeen Police Department officers brave? Yes indeed.

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8 replies
  1. Falcocop
    Falcocop says:


    I always wondered why we sometimes did the things we did and I figure “crazy” helps sum things up.

    Strange though how some things happened over the years when you wern’t expecting it and there was no time to think about what you were doing, you just sort of reacted.


  2. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    That’s sort of my point, Dave. Police officers do that sort of thing as part of their EVERYDAY routine. They’re not once in a lifetime occurrences.

    You know, it takes a special person to crawl through that window not knowing what’s on the other side, especially when you could stay safe by simply turning and walking away. Or, how about running head first into those regular-as-clockwork Friday and Saturday night knife fights and gunfire? Now that’s real bravery.

    Maybe I should have added that we’re all a little “crazy,” too.

  3. D. Swords
    D. Swords says:

    Hi, Lee.

    Allow me to say that over the years I have seen many acts of great courage displayed by police officers. Most of the time, no one takes note because the incidents end peacefully with no one being hurt.

    I always used the example of the officer who has to climb through a darkended window at 3:00 AM in search of a burglar, only to find the burglar is gone, but, it took the same amount of courage to climb through in the first place.

    In other words, police office perform many acts of bravery each and every day, we just don’t hear about them.

  4. L.J. Sellers
    L.J. Sellers says:

    These two officers are definitely heroes. Anyone who risks their own life to protect someone else is a hero, which makes all police officers, firefighters, and frontline military people heroes just by doing their jobs. Many charity workers and medical personnel in hostile zones also qualify. The media sometimes throws the label around too loosely though.

  5. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    SZ – Sure, he was a hero, and so are all the soldiers, doctors, nurses, boy scouts, girl scouts, people who perform CPR, Coast Guard, EMS workers, astronauts, explorers, Abe Lincoln, Rosa Parks, dogs who rescue lost people, and many others. But The Graveyard Shift is about cops, forensics, and CSI. Oh, and we toss in a little about Castle every now and then, too… 🙂

  6. sz
    sz says:

    Police and firemen are heroes indeed. What about pilots ? Chesley Sullenberge was doing his job when he landed his plane successfully.

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