Over the summer, several officers assigned to our SWAT Team quietly stepped up to support a brother officer and his family when they needed it most. They weren’t looking for thanks or praise and tried to operate quietly – but their efforts have not gone unnoticed. The following is taken from the latest edition of Florida SWAT Magazine. Our thanks to author David Arnott for highlighting our officers and for shining a light on the bond shared by members of the law enforcement community across the country.
GIVING BACK… In early June 2015, Orlando Police Department Officer Seth James and his wife were forced to take their youngest son Brantley to Boston Children’s Hospital for open-heart surgery. Boston Children’s Hospital is considered the number one ranked hospital for the type of procedure that Brantley needed to survive. As we all know, just being involved in law enforcement is difficult enough with our desire to protect and save everyone. Now Officer James was working hard helping his youngest son survive. As word surfaced at the Orlando Police Department that the James’ family were not only facing stress from Brantley’s surgery, but would also be faced with expenses and logistics of traveling to Boston. Orlando Police SWAT Officers Billy Arocho, Tim Stanley, Jon Cute, Shawn Hayden and Lt. Goerke stepped up in a “huge” way to assist Officer James. In addition to supporting phone calls, they also did significant fundraising that enabled Officer James and his wife to focus on their son’s care and treatment. It didn’t stop at fundraising and general support, they also bridged a gap in Boston by reaching out to members of the Boston PD SWAT Team.
A few years ago, shortly after the Boston Bombings, FSA hosted several members of the Boston PD SWAT Team at SWAT Round Up. Several members of the Orlando Police SWAT Team became lifelong friends with the Boston PD SWAT Team and that relationship has fostered into a family like atmosphere. So asking for help from their brothers in Boston was an easy task. Boston PD SWAT Officer Steven Ashman reached out to Officer James prior to their trip to Boston Children’s Hospital. Officer Ashman assisted in making hotel reservations and transportation arrangements. Once the James family arrived in Boston, Officer Ashman and several of his fellow SWAT Team members (John, Rich, Billy, Jamie, Shawn, Danny & Eddie) as well as K9 Officer John Quinn all spent time at the hospital and hotel supporting the family during such a difficult time. Officer Ashman refused to allow Officer James to worry about the small details and took it upon himself to make sure whatever they needed was handled. Everything from bringing them coffee, food from restaurants, and even home cooked meals. According to Officer James, without the support of Steve Ashman and the Boston PD SWAT Team this surgery would have been a “ton to bear” and would have taken its toll on the entire family. Brantley has a new Uncle in Steve and several new friends on the Boston Police Department. As for Brantley, the Boston PD SWAT Team made him one of their own. Several opportunities to interact with them existed and Brantley was enjoying his new found friends. Officer James and his wife were overwhelmed with the support they received from the Orlando Police Department, but more so to the Boston Police Department. He mentioned “it was a debt too great to ever repay” but vowed to do everything possible to attempt to return the courtesy that was extended to his family.
Brantley’s surgery was a success and he is doing well at home with his family in Orlando. It is an honor for the Florida SWAT Association to have all of the persons mentioned in this article as members of this great association. On behalf of the Florida SWAT Association and SWAT Round Up International, thank you to the Orlando Police Department and the Boston Police Department for stepping up and giving back to your fellow Officer.