Author’s note: The purpose of this new section of American Shooting Journal is to honor the lives of those law enforcement officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice. These kinds of articles are tough to write simply because of the amount of respect that I have for cops, and I loathe the pain and heartache that these officer’s families are now forced to endure. END OF WATCH is a term used by law enforcement officers to signify the day on which one of their fellow cops gave their life while on the job.
Detective Kerrie Orozco, of the Omaha, Nebraska, police department was killed in the line of duty while serving a felony warrant. In her young life, Kerrie, accomplished much, not only as a police officer, but as a mother, friend, coach, mentor, sister, daughter and wife.
Kerrie started her career with OPD some 7 and one half years ago. At the time of her death she was serving as a detective in the gang suppression unit. In addition to being a gang cop, she was also bi-lingual and served as a Spanish interpreter.
But, Kerrie was more than just a uniform. She coached baseball at the local Boys and Girls Club and she used this opportunity to help these at risk youth with more than just playing a sport. She used this as a chance to show kids how rewarding it is to have purpose, which Kerrie explained in an interview, is what many gang members are lacking. Team work, hard work, goal setting and integrity are the attributes that Kerrie looked to and instill in these kids’ lives.
Officer Orozco also volunteered at the Special Olympics, threw pizza parties at the Boys and Girls Club and was a Girl Scout leader. During the holiday season, Kerrie loved participating in “Shop with a Cop,” a program that pairs disadvantaged kids with a cop for a shopping excursion to a local retailer, where the kids get to buy clothes and toys. She also volunteered her time with the Latino Police Officers’ Easter Egg Hunt.
The most heart breaking part of this story is that Kerrie was also a wife and mother. She was married to Hector Orozco and was the stepmother to Santiago and Natalie. Kerrie gave birth to a baby girl, Olivia Ruth, on February 17, 2015. Olivia was born prematurely and was required to stay in the hospital. Olivia was due to be released from the hospital on May 21, 2015—the day after Kerrie was killed. Kerrie was also set to start her maternity leave so she could be at home with her daughter for the next few months.
Every day in this country men and women just like Kerrie put on a badge and gun to patrol our streets. They don’t do it for praise, or riches, or fame; they do it out of a sense of duty. They walk the streets dealing with the most dangerous among us so that we don’t have to.
My deepest gratitude goes out to Officer Kerrie Orozco; I didn’t know you, but I would be a better person if I had. Hector, Santiago, Natalie and Oliva, our most heartfelt sympathies go out to you. Thank you for sharing your wife and mom with us—she will never be forgotten. – ASJ