Friday, May 22, 2015

#Mylifematters

The controversy over whose life matters with hashtag #blacklivesmatter and #bluelivesmatter is stupid.  You know whose life matters? Mine.  My life matters.  

I’m more than the thin blue line I walk, the badge I wear, the uniform and agency I represent.  I’m also a mom, wife, daughter, sister, mentor, and friend.  I do my best to make the right decisions, to help others, and to make this world a safer place.  I matter because of all of those things.  I matter because those things matter to me.  I matter because I choose to.  

Justice is blind.  People are not.  We judge by what we see and hear, and what we see is from a narrowed perspective, what we hear is what we are told.  It takes more than one person to make a nation so violent and unforgiving.  It will take more than one person to make our nation peaceful and able to forgive.

#Mylifematters.  Does yours?






Friday, March 6, 2015

To my non-LEO husband...

To my non-LEO husband,

I see social media posts from several police wives cheering on their husbands who wear the badge and vest every day protecting their communities.   I see wives wear shirts or necklaces with some sort of “proud police wife” logo, read blogs by other LEO wives, and have forums just for them.  It’s heartwarming and a welcome sight to know my fellow officers have this support. 

What I don’t see is the public support for police husbands.  It’s not a traditional role to have just the wife as the law enforcement officer.  There’s usually the husband as the LEO or both spouses wearing the badge.  I don’t see “proud police husband” on shirts or coffee mugs.  They’re made to order perhaps.    

You sacrifice so much more as my husband because of my job than any of our friends could understand.  Over the years you've watched me put on my gun and badge, kiss me goodbye, and tell me every time I leave for work, “I love you, be careful.”   

You've had family and friends question how you deal with knowing the dangers of my job.  I've been asked numerous times if you were also a cop.  When I tell them “no” the next question is usually, “Really?  What does he think of you being a cop?”  There’s no simple answer so I just say, “You’d have to ask him.”    

You've listened to sirens in the distance and wondered if it was me headed to a call in progress, or my zone partners headed to me for backup.  You've paced for hours unable to reach me after hearing that a female deputy was shot on our very street, and had to keep your bearing for the sake of our boys until you knew I was okay.  You've watched breaking news of violence against police officers across the nation then watched me get ready for work to respond to similar threats of violence in our own community. 

You've been woken in the middle of the night by me having to leave for a call out even on days that I wasn't supposed to be on call.  You've dealt with last minute cancellations for dinner or plans with friends because I ended up with a late arrest.  You've had to leave work early to get our boys because I'm stuck on a crime scene.

You've put up with squad parties surrounded by cops talking in ten-codes you don’t understand, and see me laughing with them about inside jokes you “had to be there” to find funny.   On holidays I've had to work, you've made your homemade sauce and baked ziti for my zone partners knowing it would be our only hot meal that day. 

You've listened to me talk about calls for service that would give most people nightmares.  You've watched me struggle with my own nightmares from certain calls that I couldn't talk about.  You've accepted my career choice and told me numerous times you’re proud of me.  You understand why I do this job.  


I see this.  All of this.   Thank you for your constant support, your sacrifices, and for keeping faith and God in our family.  I love you more. 




Tuesday, January 27, 2015

#coplife

You can hash tag anything on social media and it will invariably lead you to a world wide web of similar posts/articles/pictures etc.  The one I look up often is #coplife.  It brings up a plethora of police memes and a few anti-law enforcement rants.  It also brings up a few real stories of real police officers who wear the badge each day to ultimately be a part of something bigger, something that makes a difference.

The difference it makes isn't just in the community.  It's also in us.  Sometimes good, sometimes bad.  Each of us sacrifice a piece of ourselves on every call for service.  One day we look in the mirror and see a faded version of the hotshot rookie who thought they were invincible.  The spark has left our eyes, the newness of the job worn off with a layer of crass and criticism formed.  Our response to certain crimes becomes desensitized.

Eventually you get to a level where there's more politics involved in a decision than there is toilet paper to wipe up the crap that follows.  It becomes harder to make the best decision for the people on the front lines and more about what the immediate response will be if we don't "do this now to appease the public".  Our actions have become governed by the media and restrained by our own fear of being the next headline racist even when we act under the color of law....even if we bare the same color of skin.  

Then there's that moment.  A moment that makes or breaks us as cops.  It makes us question our faith, our priorities, our morals.  Yes, it's fun to chase the bad guys, it's rewarding to catch them, but it's downright humbling when a true victim is able to say thank you. 

Fellow law enforcement officers have agreed to share those moments in order for me to write them down and share with others.  A few have said it was therapeutic and they were glad to have had the chance to finally talk about it.  I give full credit to the brave men and women I am so blessed to work with for opening old wounds, picking old scars, and allowing me to pry a little bit.  

More will be added in a second installment after I get the first one launched so message me if you'd like your #coplife story included.  

With each story I've edited and typed I saw a part of me in that officer/deputy.  It humbled me to know just how vulnerable we all are.  This is my #coplife.

  

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Pffflt!

All of us listen to the same news, get the same information and yet have varying opinions on what happened in Ferguson, MO, the night Officer Wilson confronted Michael Brown.  None of us know what we would've done in this situation.  If you say you do then you're a liar.  We know what we want to do, or hope we would do. Those of us in law enforcement rely on what we're trained to do.  

A split-second or less is the approximate amount of time we have to make life or death decisions based on minimal facts, visual observations, training, and experience.  These decisions are accompanied by adrenaline dumps.  Adrenaline, as defined by MedicineNet, is a stress hormone produced in the adrenal gland that quickens the heart beat, strengthens the force of the heart's contraction, and opens up the bronchioles in the lungs.  It's not uncommon to temporarily diminish your sense of hearing and touch, but also heighten your sense of smell and slowing your perception of time.  The secretion of adrenaline is part of the human 'fight or flight' response to fear, panic, or perceived threat. (Perceived is another good vocabulary word to understand: to become aware of, know, or identify by means of the senses: I perceived an object looming through the mist. 2. to recognize, discern, envision, or understand [Dictionary.com])

How often do you think the average person experiences these physiological changes then go through it again and again with little to no time for recovery in between? Two or three times in a month, a year?  Law enforcement officers experience this daily, if not multiple times a day depending on the call for service.  From neighbors arguing over a dog crapping on the lawn to shots fired with multiple victims, we respond to every call with the same expectation...we go home safe at the end of shift.

I was saddened by the public outcry for an indictment of Officer Wilson, and angered by their  reactions to the grand jury's decision.  They didn't want justice, they were gathered like a lynch mob wanting a public hanging.  

The celebrity reaction didn't surprise me: "Celebrities expressed sadness, frustration and disappointment across social media Monday after a grand jury in Missouri declined to bring charges against police officer Darren Wilson for the Aug. 9 shooting of unarmed black teen Michael Brown." Then the articles drone on with tweets and postings from the Hollywood liberals.

The media continues it's pot-stirring and racial divide with their use of "unarmed black teen". Face it people, Michael Brown was of age to fight for his country and vote, which is what we call an ADULT.  But that just wouldn't be newsworthy, would it?  I don't care if he was blue with red polka dots.  I don't care if he had a cell phone or an UZI in his waistband.  Michael Brown was no child, no "teen" without direction, no victim of a hate crime.  He was an adult who made a decision that cost him his life.

What vexes me with this case isn't the the actions of the suspect or the officer's reaction to the perceived threat, it's not even the protesters and political asshats showing up for their 15 minutes of fame.  It's the combination of: 1) the public's sense of entitlement and lack of common sense, and 2) that we rely on a biased media to tell us the truth.

Had it been a female officer of any race, her skills and abilities would have been questioned based on gender and the story would've died within 24 hours.

Had it been a black male officer, the political jackhats would've said "tisk tisk, more black on black violence" and this case would've never made national news.

Had Michael Brown been an "unarmed white teen" or a female of any race, it may have been aired once on a local station then forgot about because frankly it just doesn't pull in the ratings.  Go ahead, disagree.  Then you can just stand there in your wrongness and be wrong.

We cry for justice then denounce the very system we put in place to decide it.  We cry for help, then condemn the men and women who respond to provide it. "To change the hearts and minds of men you must learn to listen; otherwise your words will fall on deaf ears, for the opinions of fools are always louder. ~L.S. Buckley"