Thank you, Rockland police

By The Courier-Gazette Editorial Board | Oct 06, 2016

The story of a man who ambushed and kidnapped a young woman as she walked home in downtown Rockland this week drew statewide attention.

We are very pleased to be able to report that the young woman is safe, healthy and surrounded by supportive friends and loved ones, while knowing that this story could have had a very different, tragic ending.

Rockland Police Sgt. Matthew Lindahl spotted the erratic vehicle that the young woman had been forced into and gave chase, assisted by Officers Alex Gaylor, Addison Cox and Jacob Shirey. The 22-year-old young woman who had been walking home from work alone before the attack deserves much of the credit for her own rescue, as she bravely fought, literally tooth and nail, to escape and caused the vehicle to crash.

It is worth noting, however, that these police officers and all of the police who put their lives on the line to protect our safety, are heroes. The community should be thankful for their service and for the chase that helped free this woman from her attacker.

Over the course of the past week we have heard several people say, "I never would have thought something like this could happen in Rockland, Maine."

The reality is that criminals with bad intentions can strike anywhere. We are not convinced it was ever wise to leave the house with the door unlocked, but if it was, those days are long gone.

However, we do not see this incident as a stain or reflection on the city of Rockland. The city continues to be a great place to live and work, and this community has shown it is well protected.

No matter where you live, we encourage a sense of wise caution. If possible, we encourage people to have a friend walk with them if they are on foot at night, as many of our workers have to be. Be vigilant. Also, look out for your coworkers and your neighbors. Offer them a ride home. Look out the window when you hear some kind of disturbance and alert the police if there is a problem. Keep a cellphone handy, but don't be so absorbed in your texts that you're not aware of what is happening around you.

If you happen to run into a police officer, be thankful for his or her service.

We remember our lost sailors

Last year at this time we were a community in mourning, having lost two of our own in the sinking of the cargo ship El Faro in Hurricane Joaquinn.

The community held vigils, lit candles and said prayers together as it remembered Dylan Meklin, 23, and Danielle Randolph, 34, both of Rockland.

Dylan had played football, baseball and basketball for Rockland District High School and was well known in the area. He was also an honors student.

Both he and Danielle had studied at Maine Maritime Academy.

Danielle had also graduated from Rockland District High School. At Maine Maritime Academy she participated in the drill team and she served on the volunteer fire department for Castine. She always wanted to work on the ocean.

For the first anniversary of this devastating loss, many of the family members gathered in Jacksonville, Fla., where the El Faro was from. The Seafarers International Union held a remembrance and a monument was unveiled at the union hall, featuring a miniature lighthouse with 33 stars, for the 33 crew members lost in the sinking.

We are pleased there is a proper memorial somewhere for the families to visit and honor their lost sailors, and we know there are efforts to create a new memorial for those lost at sea in our area.

We hope it provides some small comfort to know that these sailors who have been lost are not forgotten.

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