The death of a police officer in Cold Spring, Minnesota is another reminder of the dangers faced by those who make our communities safer.

Authorities in central Minnesota say Officer Tom Decker, 31, was shot and killed while making a routine check.

He had been called to check the well-being of a person who reportedly was suicidal.

It's being called an ambush.

This is yet another reminder of the dangers faced every day by those whose job it is to protect us, whether they work in law enforcement, the fire service or some other agency.

I've been a reporter in Sioux Falls for nearly 38 years, and in that time we haven't had many incidents like this, although in October a Highway Patrol trooper was seriously injured when a suspect allegedly struck him with her car.

We've seen a county deputy shot to death just in the past few years, and if you go back far enough you can read about a Highway Patrol trooper who was stabbed to death on Interstate 90 by a man he was stopping.

The point I'm making is this: Law enforcement officers deserve our thanks and respect.

Their line of work can be a very dangerous job.

Just ask Officer Tom Decker's wife and four young children.