For the fourth time this year, Alabama’s law enforcement community is jarred by the death of a colleague in the line of duty. Tuscaloosa Officer Dornell Cousette, 40, was killed Monday in an exchange of gunfire with a man he was attempting to arrest.

Officer Cousette’s murder, like that of Auburn Officer William Buechner, who was killed in similar circumstances in May, underscores the unpredictable danger faced by first responders. Officer Cousette spoke with a bail bondsman who told him the suspect was wanted after failing to appear in court. As Cousette approached the man to arrest him, he produced a weapon and fired at the officer.

The work of police, fire, and rescue personnel is often mundane, but unlike the jobs many of us perform, theirs carries the unpredictable potential of danger. Any routine traffic stop or seemingly benign call can turn deadly without notice.

Our thoughts today are with the people of Tuscaloosa, their law enforcement community, and the family and friends of Officer Cousette.

We extend gratitude and empathy to the men and women of our own community’s first responders as they mourn the loss of a fellow officer.

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