When I signed up for military service, I'd never been to war prior... I was just a young 18-yr-old kid trying to find his way in life, get out of the dead-end hometown I'd grown up in, get some perspective, earn a little money (and I do mean little, at least back then), and the GI Bill.
I didn't sign up to be a hero, or for the specific purpose of potentially sacrificing my life in an armed conflict. However... by virtue of signing the contract and taking the oath - I was made well aware of the potential consequences of that decision. And I thought about that long and hard for a few weeks prior to the day that finally came for me to sign the paper and raise my right hand. Because for me - there was no backing out of that commitment after the fact.
I can't pretend to know how I would've reacted had I been deployed to a war zone. I'm guessing I would've been scared shitless, at the very least. No different from most normal and sane soldiers I served with. But (hopefully) I would've relied on my training and my fellow soldiers to get me through whatever situation I faced. We trained extensively for the sole purpose of being prepared if/when the Commander in Chief made that call. That was our primary purpose - combat.
No different from a soldier who knows and assumes those risks despite the consequences, this cop knew and understood the risks associated with his job description. And I find it difficult to believe that someone on the force that served with him, at some point during the many years of experiences shared with him, wasn't aware that this guy had reservations about his commitment. Not impossible to believe, mind you, but difficult.
Being a cop today is (imo) more dangerous than being a military soldier. Much more dangerous. They have to consider many more things because (1) the social landscape is ever-changing, (2) the dynamics of what they're allowed/not allowed to do is multi-situational and ever evolving, and last but not least - the 95% who are professional and don't abuse their power are guilty-by-association because of the 5% who are not professional and do overreact.
But make no mistake, this guy was well aware of the potential consequences. If in fact he shunned his duty to save my own son or daughter because of his desire to not be harmed or killed, I'd be livid. It goes against the entire purpose of his job to begin with, to serve and protect the public from those who have no respect for life.