Blue lights on my Christmas tree

ROCKWALL, TX (Dec. 13, 2014) As I sit and write this under a full moon, we have at least 107 job openings in law enforcement across the country — each and every one of those vacancies is the result of a brother or sister in blue giving the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty.

This year, like many in memory, we’ve seen new threats and increasing attacks on police officers, and less and less support from the general public. People are swift to condemn an officer involved in a deadly force incident without getting all of the facts first. We’ve had video and media clips that never seem to tell the whole story, produced by ambitious news reporters who never seem to even want the real story. I am thankful for serving in Rockwall andCollinCountieswhere the support for law enforcement is strong.

A police officer’s job seems to grow more and more dangerous and challenging each and every year. Bad guys still try to shoot us, run us over, bite, stab and punch us. No one, and I mean no one, can understand this job unless they have experienced it, day in and day out.

The Officer Down Memorial Page and memorial wall in Washington tells each and every story of our fallen comrades from this year and from years past. My name was close to being on that wall. I have friends on that wall. You may have friends on that wall. That’s the life we chose, and that’s the life I’m thankful for this Christmas season, because I chose to protect and serve, just like all good honest police officers, and we wouldn’t want it any other way.

I’m thankful for my family. I’m thankful for my friends. And I’m still, after all these years, thankful for that badge on my chest, and the badge on all of this great community’s finest men and women in law enforcement.  If I’m ever in trouble, I know that one of them would be there to help me no matter what; my brother or sister in blue would be at my side.

My shift will end in a few hours, Lord willing, and I’ll be on my way home, make a cup of Joe, sit for a few moments in serenity, and stare at the blue lights on my Christmas tree – all 107 of them.

Tonight, as you reminisce listening to the sounds of the season as you prepare for the holidays, or if you are sitting around the fireplace with loved ones, take a moment to pick out one of our fallen comrades on the memorial page ( – one that especially has touched your heart, and leave a few words or a reflection so that the family of the fallen can read it and be comforted this season. You would want it. Your family would want it. Their family will need it. Merry Christmas to you and yours this season, because sometimes there is Justice, and sometimes there’s just us.

By Lt. Andrew G. Hawkes, a 24-year police veteran. After graduating from Rockwall High School in 1989, he began his career in Rockwall law enforcement and is currently Lieutenant of Community Services for the Collin County Sheriff’s office. Lt. Hawkes has worked in patrol, K9, investigations, narcotics and highway interdiction.

An author and instructor, he holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Dallas Baptist University and is a graduate of the Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas. He is pursuing a Master’s degree in Justice Leadership and Administration from the University of Texas at Dallas. He has earned state and local awards, including the Medal of Valor. 

He lives in Rockwall with his wife Tammy, and is a member of the Rockwall Lion’s Club and Lake Pointe Church.

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