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Stephen Arkell, R.I.P.: Husband, father, officer

Another New Hampshire law enforcement officer has died protecting the people of his community. Like so many others before him, Officer Stephen Arkell left behind a wife and children. All of New Hampshire grieves with them now.

Arkell was shot while responding to a domestic disturbance call. Many officers tell us they dread that call. The raw emotions involved can make domestic disturbances the most dangerous situations for officers to enter. Yet they go through that door anyway. If they don’t, who will?

The murder of Officer Arkell, who worked for the Brentwood Police Department part time and coached youth sports in Exeter, is a dark reminder that all who pin on the badge do so with the knowledge that they might not come home at the end of their shift. We marvel at the bravery they show when they chase criminals or walk through a door knowing that danger hides on the other side. But the bravest thing they do is take the oath to protect and serve. There is no adrenaline making their bodies overrule their misgivings when they take that oath. It is a conscious act. They are fully aware of the risks. And they do it anyway.

Those who volunteer for front-line duty know that someone has to walk that thin, blue line between the bad guys and everyone else. Someone has to push the line outward every day. Every single day.

To all who serve on our domestic front lines, thank you. To Officer Arkell, thank you, and rest in peace. Your service will not be forgotten.

Eric Church
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