I have been a Police Officer since 1981 to the present. I have been around Cops, the training and the personalities for over half of my life. I can honestly say I have truly come to a good understand that the people we like to call Law Enforcement Officers, Cops or Police Officers are a rare breed of a human being, peculiar individuals with a drive inside to get the bad guy, serve, protect and make the world a better place for everyone.
They say that the average Police Officer will see more death and destruction, hatred, cruelty, pain and sorrow in their 20 plus years on the job than most people would in 10 life times. However, a Police Officer will get up every day, hug and kiss their family good-bye and go to work.
We call upon them 24 hours a day demanding protection, service, help when all the while not giving much thought about them, disliking them, and not knowing who they really are.
All Police Officers knew before joining the force, that a career in law enforcement would be tough, hard and most of all, a thankless job. They knew it would constantly wear and tear on their personal lives, health and marriages and in some cases end their lives early, but they signed up anyway and each day they proudly put on that uniform a serve their community.
The next time you meet a Police Officer, keep these three things in mind:
Police Officers are human
Much like Politicians and celebrities, Police Officers are constantly in the spotlight having to maintain a certain image all the time. The public hold Police Officers to a higher standard and scrutinize them for everything little thing they do, when the job a Cop does, is a job no one wants.
We watch Cops do their jobs and wait with anticipation for them to screw up, be too rough with a fighting dangerous person or do something wrong.
They are expected not to get angry, make mistakes, and they are not supposed to have feelings but they are humans with real feelings, just like you and me.
All Police Officers have a soft heart for the weak, oppressed and the innocent who cannot fight for themselves. For these reasons, young men and women become Police Officers to fight the battle some cannot fight for themselves.
One day while on duty, I responded to a terrible accident where a drunk driver had run through a stop sign and collided with another car. Upon my arrival, both cars were overturned. The drunk driver was screaming about her arm being broken and the other driver had a broken back. I noticed laying in the dirt near one of the cars a six-month-old infant; it was the baby of the drunk driver. I picked up the little one, held it in my arms, and tried to help it as that little child tried to breathe through a crushed face. I cannot even begin to describe how I felt that moment. However, I did my job with confidence putting my feelings aside and got those people the help they needed.
An hour later, after everyone went to the Hospital I was putting on a demonstration in front of a group of High School students and their parents. I had to switch my emotions to energetic and positive not letting on what I had just witnessed and been through just an hour before. (You will be happy to know the baby made a full recovery).
When everyone else is running away from danger, a Police Officer will be running towards it. An Officer sacrifices his/her life, so we can live in peace and without fear.
Police Officers will not show it at the time, but afterwards, an Officer’s heart is broken, some will cry, be angry an upset or even laugh at how silly some people are.
Police Officers want to make a difference
Think back in your life when you may have witnessed someone committing a crime, maybe you had to get out of the way of a reckless driver, or you saw some bully picking on a weaker person and you wished you could have done something about it. Did your blood boil? Did you want to see that crook be caught for robbing that elderly woman? Did you try to do something about it but the criminal ran and got away? Then you felt what a Cop feels. You wanted to solve a problem, help someone in need and made a difference.
Imagine patrolling the streets of your city and answering calls for help from the people in your community. Imagine actually being able to cause a change and feel what that would be like. It is a good feeling and satisfying to know that some perpetrator who takes advantage of people is now off the street because of you.
It is making a difference that feels good and keeps us coming back day in and day out.
Police Officers know the risks
Yes, Cops can appear to be arrogant but what you are seeing in them is a proud confidence. Police Officer put their lives on the line everyday and each Officer knows that every person they stop or traffic violator they pull over or even someone they cannot see could kill them. Therefore, because of this, it comes down to a matter of life and death that a Police Officer be self assured, poised and have a coolness about him/her so they can survive.
On the average, over 150 Police Officers are killed each year in the United States. On a slightly smaller scale, being a Police Officer is like going to war, except we are on our own soil in our own neighborhoods.
Because Officers face the odds of being hurt, wounded or even killed, training and tactics are extremely important, and so they become highly skilled and trained. It is their life support.
When you meet a Police Officer the next time or even for the first time, remember you are in front of a very extraordinary individual. They are someone who had to pass every physical, psychological and medical exam to be wearing that uniform. He/she is extremely skilled, highly trained and never afraid to put that to use. He/she has seen a lot and dealt with nearly every type of bad situation you could imagine. He is a father, a husband, a brother or friend of someone who loves them very much.
Regardless of how you feel or what you think about the Police, they will always be the first ones you call in time of need and without hesitation; those men and woman of Law Enforcement will respond and be there to help.
It is an honor to serve.
Article also posted on Triond.com by Scott Hallock