As he steps out of his vehicle, snow crunches underfoot, the crispness of the air irritates his sore throat, this is the time of year he does not mind wearing the bullet proof vest despite the bulkiness, it adds to keeping warm a bit, coughing slightly he heads into the imposing structure preparing to start his workday.
The doors close behind him but this is not where he stops being just a member of the public, that happened years ago, when he joined the force. That day was the last day that he could ignore the problems of others if he wished, or speak out openly about his workplace, or bosses, just to give a couple examples of how life changes in the pursuit of the desire to serve the public. That day he swore to uphold the law.
Over the years he has been shot, stabbed, beaten, threatened, had various disgusting liquids thrown at or on him, more than a few Officers die in the line of duty or the ones who took their own lives, and those are just the things I know, there are others I can guess at, but you see it’s not often discussed. Work mainly stays at work.
When you hear someone bad mouthing the Police, you want to point out to them what they don’t see. You know he won’t. They don’t. In some instances they can’t.
It is not that they exclude others from their day, so much as they need a break from it, home is a happy place and well there are just things you can’t share, if there were not, there would be no rules about what Police were allowed to say when not on the job about the job. Would there?
How was work? Gets you a raised eyebrow and “it was work, the usual.”
Yes, that is why you have bruises, cuts and other Officers are calling to say “hi” (check on you more like).
It is not that he does not wish to share, but unless your working in the same type of environment, your reactions are not going to be theirs, grounded, accepted, and less emotional.
Yes dear, two guys came at me with knives, bit of a scuffle but it all came out right in the end…your not going to calmly ask if he wants a coffee and tell him how soon to dinner.
That only makes the next day more difficult because he is going to step out that door again, to go to work and he doesn’t need you envisioning imminent demise or fussing at him to change career.
The most interesting trick, is when you stop worrying as they leave, because it is possible you will never see them again, but you trust them and their fellow Officers, to do their best so they, more importantly he, will return home.
You depend on them to make sure they look after themselves, in whatever situation they face, so that they come home.
That is a big word trust.
Years ago when he took the oath, put on the uniform, the public trust in him as a member of the Police was established, but also his trust in those he protected, others who issued the orders, and the ones who make the laws…it’s a circle…of which he willingly became a member, a public servant.
I can not speak for everyone, I would never dream of it, everyone lives, performs their jobs and enjoys the world differently…this is just a small slice of…this one ant, in the throng of thousands…not to be confused with any other worker ant.
What people do not see, or think about, is the intense firm belief in public service that he feels. He is not alone, but everyone will have it in different hues. He did not leave the military to join the Police force to make money, or gain prestige, he wanted to make a difference and he saw this as the way he could.
Of course the reasons that people do things, vary from person to person, this is merely what is so, in this instance. Ahh you see, it has trickled in, the awareness of how someone reading this views the Police and what they might say….shoo that’s not wanted here. This is my post, my blog and I am allowed to say things that he can not.
He is a Police Officer, a LT no less, and unless he is on deaths door, or shot/stabbed/put in hospital, he goes to work.
He is very grounded, he does not take things personally that are said/done to him because he is a Police Officer, wearing the uniform. Sometimes the teflon slips and you see hurt but he shakes it off and continues his day.
He is a good person, he is not perfect, but he is good…he cares.
On the way home from work, stopping on the expressway to grab up a dog before it gets hit and taking it to it’s owner, a worried senior who feared her sole companion was gone forever.
Having neighbors rush out to him to get their dog from under the porch, because she is a senior citizen, she can’t and that dog is her life.
Calling the fire department before rushing into a neighbors house who has fallen asleep and set his chair on fire, getting both seniors out of the house and into his while the fire department sorts out the rest.
Going to work, as the higher ups cut back on staff and conditions deteriorate, meaning your Officers are at risk and some start getting hurt because someone higher up, does not know what they are doing.
During the heat wave, he goes out to do wellness checks, in winter it’s pulling people out of stuck cars during blizzards.
He goes to work when others are purposely staying off to protest the seriously unsafe conditions, not because he is not in agreement with his Officers but because he joined to be a Police Officer, and the public are his first concern.
He swore an oath.
He lost hours with his family to uphold it, which cost him in time with wife and kids, put a strain on relationships and yet he still puts that oath first.
Over 25 years on the job but he is going to lose his house because of the housing market dropping the value of the house to 1/3 of what it was when he bought it. No perks or extra benefits, he is actually considering what he will do after retirement because his pension is not going to be enough.
He has not taken a vacation in a coons age.
Recently there was a horrific crime committed, the person accused of doing it is awaiting trial, and he was going over the reports, records and he had to stop, because the horrors he was reading upset him. He has seen and been there enough, to be able to play the pleas for mercy over in his mind, and the sadness that children had to suffer, that the victims never had a chance to call for help…never had a chance at all really…brought tears to his eyes. No you don’t get to know that because he doesn’t show it to anyone.
25 years plus on the job.
People like to generalize, tar the whole with the sins of the few, unless there is a fad or risk of seeming prejudiced.
The Police do not make the laws, that is what Politicians do, and Judges rule on.
So these people that most of us trust to protect us, to be there in crisis, usually depending on the other half to look after the family until they can get home…to enforce laws they do not make as fairly as possible, they are discriminated against due to their uniforms and career choice.
It is okay to generalize when you speak of the Police, where usually people will accept that individuals in any walk of life can and do make mistakes and it does not besmirch the whole.
It is okay to say and do things to Officers, that they would arrest you for if you did them to another private citizen. That is finally changing however, in some instances turning the other cheek has been made redundant and unsafe by false public perception and over enthusiastic media wanting to push those headlines (unless they are about the media themselves all hinted wrongs by public servants are front page news).
All Police are not bad, the majority are good.
They step out their door knowing the uniform they are wearing immediately changes the perception of everyone they come in contact with.
Lately that perception has not been so favorable.
Lets try this for a second.
Allow me to put a dress code on you, give you a job to enforce rules I make. While I cut back on what you are paid, lessen the numbers of others who are performing that job with you, “trim” your support system and silence your ability to actually make anyone aware of how I am changing things so they are not safe for Officer or public alike.
Let people call you names, abuse you, threaten you, and yet require of you polite, courteous and diligent in service and response to the public.
I shall then say things that reflect negatively on the service in general, not because you have done a bad job, but because it suits whatever ends I have in affecting the viewpoint on the service.
You see I know that you can’t stand up and say, Hey folks…look at what is going on…and give examples.
Do you know what else I know?
That the character of the majority of the people in those uniforms is such, that they will continue to do their jobs, despite everything that says its going to crap and getting more dangerous, because they actually know what honor is.
They took an oath.
Their families did not, but they support them, because that is what families do.
The Officers who take that oath, trust the public, the bosses, the politicians and the system because as they join it, support it, try to make it better, they are giving up more than just time to a career.
They are taking on what society needs them to, so the rest of us can sleep, eat, work and play in relative safety.
They do not cease to be human because they swear an oath but seeing how they are often treated, I start to wonder about that.
The public complain about the Police, but the PUBLIC are the only ones that can make the Politicians and bosses do what is necessary to allow the Officers to do their jobs to the public’s benefit.
However the public can’t make fully informed decisions because those in uniform are not encouraged to share what they know, see, and feel would make things better or complain about what is making things worse.
He is not complaining.
He knows better.
He considers it all, another day at work.
I am a member of the public, I am complaining, because if this was any other segment of the public, people would be openly discussing things from both sides, and the public would be able to be informed, and not have to trust that a politician or lackey is telling us the truth.
See I was raised to believe that they are “our” Police, and as they are responsible for our safety, we are responsible to ensure they as a part of the public, are treated fairly and are safe as well.
There is not much to be said for being in the minority, except that eventually what you ignore, like that leak in the ceiling, is going to become a bigger issue and cost you a lot more money.
And like the estimate for the roof or the medical opinion, things that matter, should not all come from one side, one evaluation or without the sharing of information.
The average Police Officer is not saying anything, for the most part they are required to be silent, or else.
Argumentum ad baculum.
When those who enforce my rights and freedoms when another is physically impeding either, or my safety for that matter, are not allowed the privilege of the rights to free speech and safe work environment…
…who do they have to go to but me, and the rest of us, to give voice where they have been silenced?