There are not enough words for me to express how much gratitude I owe you. I know that if I call on you for help, you will be there. I know that you will drop what you’re doing and answer my call. If you are eating lunch, you will cut that short. If you are talking to your wife on the phone, you’ll have to tell her that you’re getting a call. If you’re wrapping up at one scene, you’ll be right on to the next, never really knowing what you’re getting yourself into.
I am terribly saddened by all the hate you all have had to endure lately. The actions of few do not represent the actions of all, but the good stories aren’t nearly as sensational, and therefore they don’t get heard. Your voices don’t get heard.
Tell us what you go through every day. What thoughts cross your mind when you get a call? What are you looking for once you’ve pulled someone over?
When you are looking for a missing child, I know you’re thinking of your own child, and hoping that you get to go home and see them safe and sound. When you’re questioning a victim of domestic violence, I know you’re thinking of your own wife, and hoping that you get to go home and hug her a little bit tighter that night. When you’re conducting a welfare check for an elderly person, I know that you’re thinking of your own parents, and hoping that you get to go home and give them a call, just to talk. When you are put in a situation where you’re scared, I know that you’re just hoping to get home at the end of the night. I know you get scared. You’re only human. You’re terrified. And yet, you still show up for work the next day. You still continue to answer those calls.
You have chosen a profession where you put your life on the line every day. That profession is scrutinized. And those who should be glorified outweigh those who should be vilified and I am sorry about that. There are not enough words to express how much remorse I feel for you.
I am sorry that more people don’t have the best experiences with police officers. I am sorry that people don’t understand the situations that you are put into. I am sorry that you’re not appreciated the way you should be. I am sorry that you are greeted with hate and glares and unwarranted attacks. I am sorry that I cannot help you. I am not brave enough. The people who are so quick to vilify you, are likely not brave enough. Let them put on a badge and throw them into the squad car. Let them make life-altering decisions in the blink of an eye. You’re only human. And I know you get scared.
Killing someone to retaliate for a killing is cowardly and ineffective. There are groups that are angry, and bitter, and scared. And then there are groups that are angry, and bitter, and scared for you.
When I was a little girl I would watch my daddy suit up, kiss his family goodbye and go to work, just like most little girls. But I had an extra step. I would watch my daddy drive away and I would say, “Dear God, please watch over my Daddy while he works, and bring him safely home because I love him.” I said it every day that I watched him drive away. And there were days when he was late from work and I would hear sirens and just keep saying that prayer. There were days when he would come home and take off his belt and I would ask you how heavy it is, because that’s a big burden to carry all day. And there were days when he would take off his vest and ask me to scratch his back, and I think taking off the vest was a much bigger weight off his shoulders.
And then there was the day that he announced his retirement, and I think my sisters and I (and I know Mom) all started to breathe a little easier, and feel a little lighter that day.
And now, I find myself praying for officers across the country, asking that God bring them safely home because we need them. And I find myself praying for the families that have lost a part of their hearts because of hate. I pray for the daughters and sons who will grow up without getting to see their daddy drive to work anymore. I pray for the wives who were woken from their sleep by a phone call, and who will have to receive a folded up flag, that they never wished to see. And I pray that the officers who gave their lives trying to protect others, can rest in peace.
And I pray for the groups who are angry, and bitter, and scared. I do not want to be divisive. I hope that the people who have had poor experiences with police officers become police officers, so that they can try to stop the cycle of fear. I hope that good police officers get the recognition they deserve but are too humble to ask for. And I hope that one day, instead of letting our differences divide us, we learn from them and let them unite us.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you for everything that you do.
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.