As I sit writing this, I think back almost nine years ago when I received notification from the Merced Police Department that my husband, Stephan Gray, had been shot and killed by a Merced gang member.
The following days were filled with tears and feelings of sadness, confusion and frustration. I sat in the recliner that Stephan used to sit in as he watched his favorite football games and wondered why he was chosen at such a young age to be killed by a gang member who celebrated when he learned that he had "killed a cop." I wondered how I was going to explain to my children that a "bad guy" had killed their daddy. My children have always been taught to respect police officers and firefighters because those are the "good guys" that always help you.
About two weeks prior to my husband's killing, he told me that because the police department was short-staffed, officers were to ride alone in order to give the appearance of more manpower on the streets.
Our police officers can no longer ride alone. The only way to give the appearance of more manpower is to have more manpower! Atwater is growing rapidly, and our police and fire departments are not growing to meet the required standards for a safe Atwater.
I don't want to attend another police funeral. I don't want to hug a grieving widow or mother and tell her it's going to be OK. That is why I have joined with the Atwater Police Officers Association, CDF and numerous community leaders to support passage of Measure H. It will add a half-cent to Atwater's sales tax and allow the city to hire additional police officers.
For the safety of our community and our police officers and firefighters, please vote "yes" on Measure H.