Behind the Badge – What You Don’t See
Behind the badge is a person who you know nothing about. There is a person who is selfless for at least 40 hours a week, who continuously tries to make the world a better place and gets very little in return. There is someone who has dedicated their entire life to the serving of their community and yet they feel like they can never actually find their place in this world. Behind the badge is someone who cannot understand how by simply doing the right thing and being there for everybody has them as one of the most hated people across the country. What you don’t know, is that this is killing them, eating them alive from the inside out.
The person behind the badge has sacrificed everything to be there day in and day out, to be the police officer they are. Their family has suffered, their friends never see them and they lack copious amounts of sleep; yet every single day they jump out of bed eager to put that uniform on to serve their role in the community. What you don’t see their spouse who spends most of their time alone, who feels more like a single parent and yet they’ll never leave their officers side. You don’t see this officer who has developed severe anxiety and when off duty, this officer barely knows their place in this world.
A police officer is someone who is many things to many people.
Behind the badge is someone who is actually quite emotional and cares about the public more than you know. Although they’ll never show it in public because they simply cannot open the floodgates they have had closed since day one of the job. A police officer is someone who is many things to many people. Oftentimes a social worker, a guardian, a counselor, a referee, the “go to” for when people don’t know who else to turn to and a shoulder to lean on for a grieving person. What you don’t know is that they need this for themselves in return, and often times don’t get it. Behind the badge is just a human being who is everything to everyone else and can still feel all alone in this crazy world.
Instead of breaking this person behind the badge down for who you think they are, talk to them in a meaningful conversation, thank them for always being there for the public and actually try to get to know the person behind the badge. Because what you don’t see is a person who has dedicated their entire life to serving others and they deserve to feels appreciated too.
Autumn Clifford is a medically retired police officer. She was in law enforcement for 6.5 years before she got hurt on duty and had to leave the job. She has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and is almost done with her masters’ degree in the field. She plans on teaching college to future criminal justice professionals. Autumn was not only a patrol officer, but is marrying a state trooper in September of 2018.
Autumn has taken her passion for law enforcement and is now helping officers and spouses to understand both sides of the badge. She runs a podcast called Sheepdog Nation to continue to support law enforcement. Autumn is available for in person and virtual trainings upon request. You can reach her by following her on Instagram @theladysheepdog.