Police put themselves on the line every single day. They see the worst of the worst and get the least amount of respect. With movies, music and media promoting an Anti-Cop society, we have become divided creating an “Us against Them” kind of struggle. How do we as citizens expect our officers to act? Have we used and abused their generosity to the point that they have lost sight of what a Peace Officer is meant to be? Have they profited from our indiscretions to the point they have forgotten who really pays their salary? I believe this issue lies at the feet of every single human being on the face of this planet. We have lost our humanity and compassion, and respect for one another across the board. We need to find our way back together. Why can we not just go back to respecting our neighbors? What happened to respecting an officer? We pay them to serve and protect us and then when they show up to serve us, we get mad because they are protecting us. They are meant to remove the unsavory characters from our streets and to provide help to those in need.
For most of us, we do not think about the police until they are pulling us over and we are cursing them. We never stop to think about what happens during their day at work.
Let us take a look at this, shall we? Let us compare my regular day to that of the average American officer.
|The morning starts out as any other American worker like myself. Wake up, coffee, breakfast, peruses the internet a little, and then it is time to get ready for work. This is where things for an officer begin to differ from that of my civilian routine.|
I struggle to pull on the latest fashion while I plan the day in my head. For Our Officer there is a shift in mentality as the uniform is assembled. Fashionable outfits do not lend themselves to a ballistics vest or a utility belt, so I leave mine at home when I leave for work. For our vigilant officer these accessories are as everyday as my wedding ring.
Next, a similar scene to my own, love and a kiss from the family, then it is off to work. At this point in my day I am jumping into my messy SUV, barely bothering to buckle my seat belt, while Our Officer is warming a patrol car and calling dispatch with a 10-8 (In Service and Ready for Duty). I roll down the window and crank up the radio, it is my “alone” time, I have no one to check in with for the next 30 minutes!
I drive along and I grow impatient with the slow driver up ahead, Our Officer sees a vehicle missing a tail light. I finally get to pass the slow driver and signal my frustration with a beep of my horn. A blip of the siren and “Missing Taillight” is being pulled over by our diligent officer. Without a thought, I am a blur to the next traffic stop. Our Officer puts the car into park, that familiar flicker of fear runs through their mind; will this be their last traffic stop?
I am jamming out at the next light as Our Officer approaches the vehicle, introduce themselves, and let the driver know about the taillight. I am pulling into the gas station for another cup of coffee before hitting the office. Our Officer informs the driver about the hazards of not having properly working running lights and issues a warning on the driver's promise to get it taken care of quickly. The conversation ends on a positive note and both officer and driver go their separate ways. Safely back in the patrol car Our Officer is relayed information about a serious car accident in the area and it's lights and sirens all the way.
I binge on the Tasty Cake I bought with my Extra-Grande Latte. I speed up, now I am running behind. Our Officer has made it to the scene and observes the chaos. Two vehicles entangled in a mass of metal and rubber. An ambulance is already on scene and paramedics are tending to the injured. One driver appears to be dazed and the firefighters are working hard to cut her out of the mangled metal. The other driver appears unresponsive and does not appear to be the priority at the moment.
As I crash into the office within seconds of needing a good excuse, Our Officer has spoken with the paramedics and confirmed the worst; the unresponsive man has not survived the accident. Controlling the crowd and securing the scene are now the main focus.
I scroll through my emails, pretending to be busy. Our Officer has passed the scene to investigators and is on the way to inform the next of kin of the accident. I have finally found a project to keep me occupied for the day. Our officer arrives at the home of the deceased man's family. I chat with co-workers about my project as Our Officer begins a conversation that will change the lives of those in the house, in this case, the man's wife and young child. Our Officer speaks to the eyes of a woman who already knows. I refill my coffee mug and count the minutes until lunch. Our Officer is comforting the heartbroken family, as I bounce out the door to grab a bite and soak up the sunshine of the afternoon.
Now back in the car relaying to dispatch a 10-98 and a 10-8, task complete and back in service, Our Officer looks for a place to get a cup of coffee to settle his nerves and provide a pick-me-up. After observing the area for a moment, Our Officer parks, and heads into the coffee shop. I am just finishing my lunch and I run a quick errand before the end of my break. Our Officer settles back into the cruiser to play catch up on some reports. A passerby gives a smile and a wave. It is a nice afternoon. Ducking back into my desk, I rush to get a hold on this project before my day is over. Only a few hours left, the afternoon can't go by fast enough.
The day is finally coming to an end and as I spend this last hour preparing for tomorrow, Our Officer has stopped to help some kids get a ball out of the tree. After a few layups and laughs Our Officer gets back to patrol. Meanwhile, I am busy making plans for after work, finding out who is going to be where, texting feverishly as I nod and smile my way out the door, care free, I head home for a date with my sweet family.
Our fearless Officer notices a truck swerving and decides to pull it over. Our Officer approaches the vehicle slowly and inside he finds an impaired middle aged man and assumes his role as investigator, time to find out what this guy’s story is.
By now, I am in my car and I taking off for home. The window is down, the radio is blaring, and I barely remember that seat belt again. As I pull onto the road, I see a truck has been pulled over and I am glad I remembered to buckle up. The coveted, solitary drive home is over all too quickly as I pull on to our street. I turn in to the drive way and jump out of the car. I reach the door and turn my key in the lock, and on the other side of town, an officer is ringing a bell and a woman who already knows is opening the door.
I guess my point is that while we are busy living our lives we do no not think about some of the most important people in our lives, most of whom we will never meet. Those that keep us safe on one side of town while the put their lives on the line on the other side. Take a little time out of your day to remember those we have lost and appreciate those who are still here to serve and protect. Teach our children to respect their elders and those in authority. We do not always have to agree but a little respect goes a long way on both sides of the line.