Thursday, January 1, 1998
Closure difficult for police families
Officers and wives feel loss of colleagues

BY TANYA BRICKING
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Her husband will remove the black slash from his badge in another week, but the symbolic end of mourning and the promise of a new year don't erase the worry for Felicia Morton.

The 30-year-old Colerain Township school teacher fell in love with a police officer and married him three years ago knowing the hardship families of officers face.

Nearly a month after the deaths of two undercover Cincinnati police officers, finding closure is a struggle for those hit hard by the tragedy.

Specialist Ronald Jeter, 34, and Officer Daniel Pope, 35, partners working an overnight shift late Dec. 5, were gunned down in Clifton Heights trying to arrest a domestic-violence suspect.

Mrs. Morton watches her husband, Cincinnati Police Officer Darryl Morton, wake up at night replaying the tragedy in his mind, wondering what might have saved them.

Spc. Jeter was a good friend. He and Officer Morton were the same age and worked in the same district.

For the Mortons and for police families across the Tristate, things haven't been the same since the shootings.

The holidays have been more somber, the routine goodbyes more meaningful, and Christmas cards have been filled with notes of sympathy.

''It's made it a lot closer to home since the shootings,'' Mrs. Morton said, ''a lot more frightening.''

Despite the worry, the days move on. A police sergeant welcomed his son on the force at last month's recruit graduation. One officer's wife organized an adoption of poor families for Christmas. Now they've made it to New Year's resolutions.

Mrs. Morton doesn't see the new year as an indicator that the aftermath of the police shootings is over. But she wants the community to keep a resolution for police in mind.

''I hope that something positive will come out of this,'' she said, ''that the community will support officers on a day-to-day basis and not just when tragedy happens.''

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