I know this is long… But its also very good… Worth the Read… And something to think about.
I am a police Officer:
You only think you know me
I am a police officer. When I get to work, my civilian clothes come off
and my uniform goes on. It’s uncomfortable and hot, dark colored and
made of wool. I have to put on a bulletproof vest. I have two pairs of
handcuffs, a small flashlight, a Taser, a baton, some extra magazines of
bullets and a gun. I am trained to defend myself and others from serious
harm or death. The uniform itself makes me a target for violence.
Artists rap about killing me. Gangsters write on walls about doing the
same. But I love this uniform.
I am the person who comes when someone calls 911. I come with lights and
sirens, driving fast, putting myself in danger, not knowing what I am
driving to; a child just playing on the phone, husband or boyfriend
beating his wife or girlfriend, neighbors arguing over a parking spot,
or a parent whose child is acting up and they are so frustrated and
desperate that they call us for the answer.
Will I be taking someone to jail, mediating a dispute, or playing a
parent? Will I be yelled at, cursed at, spat on or attacked? Will they
be happy to see me or angry that I’m there? I have put a tarp over a
seven-year-old who stepped in front of a vehicle going at least 40 miles
an hour. I watched his blood wash away as it started to rain. I stood
over the body of a middle-aged man who was riding his bicycle home from
work on the sidewalk and was struck by a teen driver who had two other
teens in the car when she lost control.
I get called when someone dies, even if it wasn’t a crime. I have sat in
houses with dead people for several hours, waiting for a family member
if I was able to find on, or a coroner’s representative if I was not.
Sometimes the family doesn’t want to come at all. Sometimes they cry.
Sometimes it seems they are annoyed that they now have to make funeral
arrangements. I have looked at the bodies of people who have overdosed
on drugs, choked, hung themselves, shot themselves, cut themselves. I
have had to tell a sister that her little brother was shot in the back
of the head while walking home. He died half a block from home, killed
by a Hispanic Gangster because he was a Cambodian Gangster.
I have had people jump out of a second-floor window to get away from me.
I have found people under beds, in closets, and in a shower after she
told me, “I swear he’s not here. I’m the only one inside.” I have found
people in attics and garages. I have had people run from me, ride off on
a bike, or not pull over when I put on my lights and siren. I pursued a
wanted parolee and a gangster for half an hour. He had methamphetamine
in his system and in his pants. He had stolen a 9mm handgun.
People have run from me because they had drugs, guns, a warrant, or they
just didn’t want a ticket. I have had to check people’s back yards at
night when they think they saw someone or heard a strange noise. I took
a report on a Gangster who was shot in the face and lived. I saw him
again a year later and listened to him brag about how he could not be
killed. He was shot and killed less than two weeks later at a party.
I have arrested a 14-year-old girl for prostitution and an 80-year-old
man for Domestic Violence. He had made his wife sleep in their cold
garage with the dogs. They were both alcoholics. I kicked an alcoholic
dad out of a hotel room where he was living with his wife, three
daughters, and four sons. There was no kitchen, stove, or refrigerator;
only a cooler. An infant was being bottle fed an orange drink because
their government assistance had already been spent that month. I took
them grocery shopping.
I took a ten-month-old child into protective custody. I found her lying
on a bed with a pile of crack cocaine. I waited three hours for the
“mother” to come home so I could arrest her. I found a man bleeding
on a living-room floor, a loaded gun next to him. There were bullet
holes all over the inside of the house. There were two duffel bags full
of marijuana, a scale, and small baggiedecorations. His wife and daughters
stood outside in the cold, crying.
He survived what had been an attempted drug rip-off and is probably
dealing drugs somewhere else today.
I’ve jumped fences, kicked down a door, broken my arm in three places.
When I’m eating lunch or dinner, people have said, “My tax dollars don’t
pay you to eat.” I’ve had to throw my meal away to go to a call. I’ve
had co-workers scream for help and I have had to ask for help myself.
I’ve been scared.
I’ve worked Christmas, New Year’s Eve, Easter, Fourth of July, and
Halloween. I’ve dealt with the homeless, gangsters, drug dealers,
prostitutes, victims, suspects, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters,
city council members, doctors, lawyers, all walks of life. I have dealt
with more harm, despair, hopelessness, and death in the last four years
than you will your entire life.
When I leave work, my uniform comes off and my civilian clothes are put
back on. But my “Duty to Protect and Serve” is still there. When I go
out to dinner with my family, I have to check the restaurant for that
gangster who told me to watch my back or for the boyfriend I arrested
for beating up his girlfriend. When I go to the grocery store or the
mall, I must do the same thing.
In a public place, I will wonder why a guy is looking at me. Do I know
him? Have I arrested him before? Does he actually recognize me? Should
my family and I leave? When I walk into a bar someone always yells, “Did
somebody call the cops?” or some other smart remark they think I have
never heard before. Friends make cop jokes. My family makes cop jokes.
Someone always asks if I’ve had a doughnut even though they have
probably eaten more than me. People love to make fun of us. Some love to
hate us. I would love to tell all these people:
“I don’t enjoy writing you a ticket. I don’t get paid more if I write
more parking tickets. If I’m at your house because your party is too
loud, it’s because your neighbor called. Don’t hate the police because
you’ve been given a speeding ticket when you know you were speeding.
Don’t hate the police for arresting your boyfriend for beating you
up. Or because you got caught with drugs, a gun, in a stolen car, or
driving drunk. Don’t hate us for your mistakes or poor choices. We don’t
write the laws, the politicians you voted for do. Don’t hate us for
yelling at you; there may be a reason for it. We may be looking for a
bad guy. Or you may have said something smart to us or been drunk. Or
maybe we just had a really bad day.”
I like some of the same bands you do. I like some of the same movies you
do. I like parties and barbeques. I like hanging out with friends and
family. I like sports, traveling, camping and reading.
“Do I sound much different than you? I am different. I am a police