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Brock: Remembering another hero in wake of Moszer’s death

There is a marker on U.S. Highway 2 in Harlem, Mont., that whenever I drive by it, it reminds me of one of the saddest stories I ever was part of reporting during my time working at a newspaper. Blaine County Deputy Joshua Rutherford was shot and...

Harvey Brock

There is a marker on U.S. Highway 2 in Harlem, Mont., that whenever I drive by it, it reminds me of one of the saddest stories I ever was part of reporting during my time working at a newspaper.
Blaine County Deputy Joshua Rutherford was shot and killed there when he and another deputy responded to a domestic disturbance on Thursday, May 29, 2003.
Deputy Rutherford was off duty at the time but had been called in to assist at the scene of the domestic disturbance. Upon their arrival at the scene, the deputies encountered one of the subjects next to a motel. The subject was able to gain control of Rutherford’s service weapon and opened fire on the deputies, killing Rutherford and wounding his partner.
Thoughts of Deputy Rutherford came back to me Thursday morning after news broke that Fargo Police Officer Jason Moszer was shot and killed in a Wednesday night standoff. Both crimes, though heartbreaking on their own, were similar in that both officers responded to a domestic abuse call and both left behind wives and children.
Law enforcement officers respond to thousands of calls during their careers and approach just as many vehicles for traffic stops. There is no real way of knowing for sure who they are dealing with and the danger. Police officers have told me domestic abuse calls are too often the most dangerous of all those interactions with the public, still both responded without hesitation.
Rutherford wasn’t even working but rushed to the scene to help the victims and assist a fellow deputy. Moszer was establishing a perimeter to protect his fellow officers and innocent bystanders when he was mortally wounded. There are no words to describe the heroism both displayed in putting the welfare of others before their own safety, and they did it every day they served.
Last year, 39 police officers lost their lives by gunfire while serving. Counting Moszer, eight have already have died due to gunfire in 2016.
Like so many communities Blaine County and Fargo have lost their best, and the folks who call those places home will never truly be able to grasp the sacrifice men and women made to protect them. Making their sacrifice even sadder was that both officers left behind young families. Deputy Rutherford and his wife had four children. Moszer his wife had two small children.
North Dakota is a small state and Moszer’s murder reminds all of the people in our state how fortunate we are to have real-life heroes who put themselves at risk to protect us every day.
I know now every time I cross Montana’s Hi-Line on U.S. Route 2, I will remember.
Brock is the publisher of The Press. Contact him at  hbrock@thedickinsonpress.com or 701-456-1205.

Opinion by Harvey Brock
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