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Wife of former LAPD Sgt. shares perspective on law enforcement

Published: Sep. 21, 2020 at 12:37 AM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - October 10, 2010, is a day Jan Duke will never forget. It was the day she witnessed her husband, former LAPD Sergeant Charles Duke, die of a heart attack. Jan lives in Reno where she mourns the loss of her best friend, but she is left with an idea of what law enforcement is about.

Charles Duke served 29 years of his life in the Los Angeles Police Department. He spent the majority of his career as an officer and a sergeant on the SWAT team. Jan said many people do not understand what officers go through on a daily basis, from the traumatic experiences, to instances where they weren’t sure if they would make it out alive.

“They have to be cautious, they have to be prepared all the time,” said Duke. “Someone that is not related or around police that much or if they were brought up to hate the police, I think that what they see, they just see the negative and not the positive.”

Duke said an officer who is properly trained should understand a different kind of use of force, the use of a gun is their last resort and officers do not want to go there. She added her husband did not let race get involved in his job.

“He’s always told me, you don’t look at the color, you look at the body, and if the body has the gun,” Duke said. “He almost doesn’t see the color, it has to do with his life, with what he was taught, it has to do with going out, and doing his job.”

Duke said when she saw what an officer did to George Floyd back in late May, she was disgusted. She added officers should be held accountable for their actions.

“Every officer that goes beyond what they are taught, if they take their own opinions out of line and get aggressive, police brutality is not allowed anywhere in here,” Duke explained.

Duke said police play a major part in keeping society in line, but they must work hard to earn their authority.

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