someone posted this in Facebook today:
An Officer’s Life
*You wonder why he pulled you over and gave you a ticket for speeding,
He just worked an accident where people died because they were going too fast.
*You wonder why that cop was so mean,
He just got done working a case where a drunk driver killed a kid.
*You work for 8 hours,
He works for up to 18 hours.
*You drink hot coffee to stay awake,
The cold rain in the middle of the night keeps him awake.
*You complain of a “headache,” and call in sick,
He goes into work still hurt and sore from the guy he had to fight the night before.
*You drink your coffee on your way to the mall,
He spills his as he runs Code 3 to a traffic crash with kids trapped inside.
*You make sure you’re cell phone is in your pocket before you leave the house,
He makes sure his gun is clean and fully loaded and his vest is tight.
*You talk trash about your “buddies” that aren’t with you,
He watches his buddy get shot at, and wounded in front of him.
*You walk down the beach, staring at all the pretty girls,
He walks down the highway looking for body parts from a traffic crash.
*You complain about how hot it is,
He wears fifty pounds of gear and a bullet proof vest in July and still runs around chasing crack heads.
*You go out to lunch, and complain because the restaurant got your order wrong,
He runs out before he gets his food to respond to an armed robbery.
*You get out of bed in the morning and take your time getting ready,
He gets called out of bed at 2 am after working 12 hours and has to be into work A.S.A.P. for a homicide.
*You go to the mall and get your hair redone,
He holds the hair of some college girl while shes puking in the back of his patrol car.
*You’re angry because your class ran 5 minutes over,
His shift ended 4 hours ago and there’s no end in sight.
*You call your girlfriend and set a date for tonight,
He can’t make any plans because on his off days he still gets called back into work.
*You yell and scream at the squad car that just past you because they slowed you down,
He’s in the driver seat of the squad car, going to cut somebody out of their car.
*You roll your eyes when a baby cries in public,
He picks up a dead child in his arms and prays that it was crying.
*You criticize your police department and say they’re never there quick enough,
He blasts the siren while the person in front of him refuses to move while talking on their cell phone.
*You hear the jokes about fallen officers and say they should have known better,
He is a hero and runs into situations when everyone else is running away in order to make sure no one else gets hurt and loses his life doing it.
*You are asked to go to the store by your parents, you don’t,
He would take a bullet for his buddy without question.
*You sit there and judge him, saying that it’s a waste of money to have them around,
Yet as soon as you need help he is there.
I like it. I’m sure doclaguna will frame this one.
“You murder someone you go to jail.
He murders someone, he gets a paid vacation.”
“You hurt yourself at work, you suck it up.
He hurts himself at work, he takes medical disability at age 50, and travel’s the world on the taxpayer’s dime with no visible sign of limitation.”
“You work your ass off to fund your 401K, but half your money goes to taxes.
He gets to retire at 20 years in with 90% pay on the taxpayer’s dime, then flees to Nevada or Idaho, assuring all that money leaves the local economy.”
Fixed that for you.
Every police officer in America knows one thing – it could have been him. Or her.
It could have been him or her, instead of Darren Wilson, who pulled that trigger on Michael Brown.
Or some such similar young man.
Every cop in America knows that, in return for choosing a career in law enforcement, the rules of the road are now that, at any minute, it all could be over and you could become hated and condemned all across the country.
No one would have your back, even the president could denounce you.
Because you defended yourself.
In a twist on biting the hand that feeds you, we are instead tying the hand that defends us. We are sending them out, and waiting for the first chance to gut them.
It is an incomprehensible act of ingratitude.
All across American law enforcement, officers know that the new reality facing them when they pull their gun is: By defending myself, I could be condemning myself.
Take Darren Wilson.
A good cop on routine patrol. He’s coming back from a call and has brief contact with two individuals. Nothing comes of it until he moves a ways down the block and gets a radio description of a wanted individual matching one of the young men he’s just seen.
Rolling back up on the two individuals, the larger of them – Michael Brown – lunges into the driver’s window of the squad car and begins assaulting Darren Wilson. Michael Brown then tries to take away the officer’s gun.
The officer gets off a round, Michael Brown attempts to flee, and then charges at the officer, twice, before being shot to death.
In the mind of witnesses and Darren Wilson, Michael Brown was set to attack and was an immediate threat to the life of Officer Wilson.
So Officer Wilson did what his training taught him to do. He did what instinct, morality and the laws of men command him to do – he defended himself.
And his life is ruined.
His career is over, his family is threatened, his name is destroyed, he has been vilified across the country and by the nation’s most prominent voices.
People have rioted demanding imprisonment for him, and there have been countless threats on his life.
His life, as he knew it, is over.
Because he was a cop and he defended himself.
An entire society has forgotten that Darren Wilson is not the perpetrator of a crime, he is the victim of a crime.
Likewise, it has been forgotten that Darren Wilson was an officer of the law with a duty to act, and that he was on patrol that day in the name and service of the people.
And it is dispiriting to see how instantly the people have turned on him and his profession.
You get up in the morning and put on a uniform that carries with it the obligation to potentially die in the service of your community, to put yourself between the good people and whatever species of hell pops up, and then, when you are literally fighting for your life and the community’s protection, nobody has your back.
Everybody curses your name.
Millions hate you.
Much of the nation turns against you.
In the matter of some 20 seconds.
Damned if you do, dead if you don’t.
Every cop in America wakes up every day knowing that that could be his fate. By the happenstance of random probability, the unpredictability of criminality, some wild hare seizing upon who knows what thug, and that could be you.
And it wouldn’t matter who you were, or what good you had done, or how many years you had served, or what you had made of your life and to what good cause you had dedicated it.
Al Sharpton would be yelling your name, mobs would be burning your effigy, and the president would be undercutting your profession.
And who wants that?
What kind of person, having seen on the nation’s newscasts the destruction of Darren Wilson, wants to risk that?
How many law enforcement officers will think of the danger associated with their thankless job, see the risk facing themselves and their family, recognize that it is completely unfair and wrong, and quit?
How many will lay down their badge and their career and walk away?
Because that’s the kind of people most of them are. They press on. They do their duty. They don’t quit.
That’s who they are.
More at issue is: Who are we?
Are we the kind of society that looks on and does nothing, or are we the kind of society that values law enforcement and what it does, and has its back?
Are we the kind of society that can look at the matter in Ferguson and push back the anti-cop prejudices and honestly consider the situation of Darren Wilson? Can we recognize the injustice of his situation?
Not that he wasn’t prosecuted, but that he was ever suspected. That an officer of the law, the victim of a violent and felonious attack, can be forced into a fight for his life, and then be condemned for winning.
Would society have preferred he die?
We all know that if the cop had died, instead of the guy who attacked him, that none of us would have ever heard of this. The president wouldn’t have commented, the nation wouldn’t have noticed, nobody would have given a damn.
Dead cop, no problem.
Dead thug, raise holy hell.
And every cop knows that.
And carries that sad realization 24 hours a day.
The president said we need to train our police better. Maybe we need to train our society better.
Maybe we should train the Michael Browns of the world to respect the law, and maybe we should train the rest of us to respect the law enforcers.
And have their backs.
Or at least understand the horrible risk and reality Ferguson creates for them.
Because every cop knows today could be his day.
– by Bob Lonsberry © 2014
Well that put a damper on things. 🙂
Some of what Doglaguna said isn’t completely wrong.
I got into a couple of weeks ago on FB with a retired cop over some of the incidents. He’s retired on disability. I don’t think it was necessarily work related and when I responded that sometimes cops mess up and his response was “strap on the gun and do it yourself if you don’t like it.” That really irked me. Stuff like that pushes me away from being on their side. I’m sorry, you work for us, the tax payers. You enforce our laws. We do have a right to question things. So untold him to keep sitting on his rocking chair collecting the unsustainable pension.
It’s a profession where you have to take the good with the bad.
Cop culture has changed.
Not an easy job. But neither is many other jobs. That’s why I don’t do them.
I think there are good and bad in every profession, and unfortunately we always here more about the bad than the good. Sadly, a bad cop is very, very dangerous.
I think depending on our experiences with any public agency our predisposiitons are going to vary, and probably be mostly wrong unless we’re inside on a daily basis.
I would also bet that anyone who reads a news article about a topic where they know more than the reporter because of either being the subject, being inside, or being close to someone inside, finds a lot more wrong about the article than right.
Police, fire and education probably get the most flak of any public jobs in California. Although I only know one well enough to have actual fact based opinions, I do believe some of the best jobs in the state are available within these sectors. There are some teachers who attempt to make their career one of suing districts for stress, etc., but most teachers are anywhere from good to great. I’m pretty sure the same can be said for police and fire, but I don’t know for sure. I do believe pages of praise for their service is a bit overreaching,especially in light of the comp plans (applies to all three categories), but 100% negative sentiment is misplaced.
i am way thankful for the Elk Grove PD as opposed to the Richmond PD where i grew up. 60 minutes did a piece on them back in the early 80’s. not good.
Enags, where did you live there. I was born in San Pablo and lived in Richmond for several years. Last house was off Hilltop long before the Mall was there. It was a drive in theater back then…
And yeah, I agree about the police force there. It has been a mess for a long time.
A friend of mine is on the Stockton PD force. Talk about a TOUGH job! It amazes me that she can keep her positivity as well as she does with all the negative stuff flying at them every day… Hugs to all who help keep us safe!
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