I can't look at this photo and not smile

A few months ago, I attended National Police Week in Washington, D.C., a week-long variety of events hosted by various law enforcement and LE-supporting organizations to celebrate the lives of officers and honor the sacrifices of those who died serving.

This year was the second time I’d had the opportunity to go, and as I wrote about in a previous column in Law Enforcement Technology, it is a moving event with lots of spirit and heart.

During the Police Week events, we took a couple thousand photos, and as is the nature of photojournalism and reporting, we only ever get to publish a couple dozen. So I’d like to take the second post in my project to blog every day in August (BEDA*, as it’s also known) to share a photo I love but wasn’t able to publish, along with a bit of its story.

In this photo is DJ Faulk of the Fairfax County Police Department (Va.). I captured this candid shot of Faulk talking to his then 7-month-old baby girl Bella. Holding her is Faulk’s wife, Roxy, and in his arms is his 2 ½-year-old son Jackson. Faulk had just finished a 230-mile bicycle ride with Chapter IV of the Police Unity Tour. It was his first year riding with the Virginia-based group, and the 2012 ride was in honor of Capt. John Wayne Haddock, who was killed Oct. 7, 2011 by a vehicle as he was deploying spike sticks to end a high-speed pursuit following a burglary.

I can’t look at this photo and not smile. I took this picture before introducing myself to Faulk and his darling family, and listening to his sweet words to his baby as he cradled his son, you would never have known how tired he must have been after a nearly four-day bike ride into D.C., including riding all morning to arrive in Judiciary Square in 80-degree F heat.

The Police Unity Tour this year collected $1.65 million dollars for the National Law Enforcement Officer's Memorial Fund, a record for the ride, thanks to the hundreds of participants like Faulk from the eight chapters of the Tour.

While the photo’s composition is not perfect (my flaw; the subjects, as you see, were wonderful) it’s a memory of the sweet, generous, caring type of people I meet each year in D.C. during the law enforcement celebration and memorial.

Thanks to the Faulk family for being such good sports (and delightful folks!).

Until tomorrow (BEDA day three),


P.S. Let me know in the comments below if you enjoy photo stories like this—I have a host of other images I’d share but don’t want to bog down this feed excessively with images if we’re not into it.

*I am modifying the BEDA custom to blog every weekday in August.