On Friday, I attended the funeral procession for Rainier Police Chief Ralph Painter which made its way from the city of Longview, located across the Columbia River from Rainier in Washington, to a service at the Chiles Center located on the University of Portland campus in Portland. This procession included over 500 patrol cars from members of law enforcement agencies from several states.
Chief Ralph Painter was shot and killed after responding to a local car stereo shop in which a man was attempting to take a car that did not belong to him.
When Chief Painter made contact with the man a struggle ensued. The subject was able to disarm and fatally shoot him. The man then exchanged shots with responding officers before being wounded and taken into custody. He was charged with aggravated murder. Chief Painter was married and had seven children.
The job of a law enforcement officer in this day and age is a dangerous one. When they give their families hugs and kisses goodbye and walk out the door to protect the citizens of their communities, it could be the last time they see each other. Seeing so many people along Hwy 30 saluting, taking their hats off, weeping, and classrooms of children standing outside in the rain waiving the American Flag and displaying signs they made goes to show he will be missed and how much they honored him.
I heard stories of how Chief Painter affected their lives, how compassionate he was, the charities he was involved in, and how he treated those he came into contact with. God bless law enforcement officers everywhere, and may you rest in peace Chief…