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Officer Mark Dallas received a standing ovation Sunday as he led Dixon High School students into their graduation ceremony. Matthew Milby, 19, brought a gun into the school and shot at a coach during graduation practice, but Dallas was able to take the shooter down as students ran for their lives, police said.
"Today would not have turned out the same without you being here, so from the class of 2018, we love you,” senior class vice president Emma Krull said from the stage. “You, Mark Dallas, are our hero, and we are all Dixon strong.”
Because of Dallas’ actions, 182 seniors were able to walk across the stage and receive their high school diplomas – each shaking their hero’s hand, and one, Dallas’ son, Josh, giving him a hug.
But, it must be said that this is the duty of any officer of the law, when confronted by a threat to citizens lives.
The long and short of it is that the highest court in the land has said that police have no obligation to protect citizens beyond that which the police themselves decide, either individually or at the departmental level. And citizens have no recourse if police fail to act, either through incompetence or conscious decision.
The duty of an officer of the law is not solely determined by the courts, nor judges, nor laws pertaining thereto. It is also determined by expectation of those whose consent permits the policing.
In 1999, in the middle of a divorce, Jessica Lenahan-Gonzales of Castle Rock, Colorado, obtained a permanent restraining order against her husband, Simon, who had been stalking her. The order required him to remain at least 100 yards from her and her four children except during specified visitations. In violation of the order, her husband took his three daughters. Jessica called the police and even went to the station in person. Despite the court order, and despite knowing where the children were, the police did nothing. A day later, Simon showed up at the police station himself, engaged in shoot-out with the officers therein, and was killed. His three daughters were found dead in his vehicle outside the station. Lenahan-Gonzales attempted to sue the police department for its failure to enforce the restraining order that was in place, but the Supreme Court ruled 7-2 against her, with Antonin Scalia writing for the majority. The opinion held that enforcement of the restraining order was not mandatory under Colorado law. Even if it were, Scalia wrote, it would not create an individual right to enforcement. And even if it did, he continued, that entitlement would have no monetary value.