I was in public service since 1990.  Now 28 years later, I am retired and our company efforts a great many causes for law enforcement; because they won’t do it for themselves. Cops, by nature, are caretakers and protectors – they serve the public.

They don’t do the job for the notoriety, there isn’t much. They don’t do it for the glory, there’s little of that to spread around. They damn sure don’t do it for the coin… so why do they do it?

What is like being a cop? What do they do, I mean really do?

Servanthood. Cops are trained in a myriad of ways and to handle almost all things that come their way; but they simply want to serve. They want to protect others. To beat down evil.

It is often a thankless profession. You are typically loved in the moment and hated the rest of the time. The old, “there’s never a cop around when ya need one” statement is what they hear all too often… but is seldom understood by the giver of said phrase. So, before you bitch about a cop not being there, let me share a few things they do that most will never know.

Cops are – protectors – providers – targets – misunderstood – sheepdogs – broken – balanced – punished – commanded – scrutinized – helpless – light – dark – hurting – lost – complete –

See, a cop is just what you are, but with one small exception – everything they do is looked at under the largest of microscopes by opinionated armchair quarterbacks with little to no understanding of what it takes to live life .05 seconds at a time.

While you are complaining about why they are not there during your emergency (perceived or actual), they are likely dealing with one of your fellow citizens regarding something just as important to them… one call at a time, all while balancing the scrutiny of everyone.

Many perceive cops to be stupid, and there may indeed be a few, but in my experience – they are anything but. They are handed a book of statutes to memorize and know off the top of their head in a moment’s notice. They are given a policy and procedure handbook by their agency that reads like the King James bible; and they have to adhere to every letter of it.

Cops must take thousands of pages of documentation and apply it in .05 seconds or less, then get challenged on it – not just by the public and an overbearing media, but by their department leaders as well. I’d invite any ANTIFA member to walk in their shoes any day that ends in Y; they couldn’t do it. They’d go home crying after day 1 – if they made it that far.

Cops don’t just do the things you might expect, like catching bad guys such as: murderers – rapists – terrorist – active killers – burglars – pedophiles – thieves – etc etc etc etc etc etc..

They also have to witness the scene, the horrific carnage left behind by the offenders. We don’t show people jumping to their death from the Trade Center anymore because it’s deemed too graphic for viewers – except who do you think was there for the event, and the aftermath?

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See, cops don’t get to choose whether or not they’ll respond, they just go. In a second or two from the dispatched call, they are en route. Driving higher speeds to get to you, and solve your plight, your exigency and your situation. They have to make split second decisions repeatedly each and every day – have you ever had to do that?

Cops are not always the friendliest folks you say – well… how would you handle yourself after being insulted, spat at and cursed for doing what’s right? Would you be giddy and all smiles?

My last day in South Carolina before relocating to Colorado to continue my career, was a very normal one… I’ve given a short recount of it below. And I left out the nonsensical pieces.

June, 2000. Pulled up to the office at 6:30 am. Began shaking hands with all my friends and partners I’d worked with over the years; saying my goodbyes. At roughly 6:45, the tones dropped for a burglary in progress. Two minutes later I was in a pursuit on a major thoroughfare in rush hour traffic due to the suspect beating the victim.

Car was pitted, suspects caught.

7:30 am I was turning in evidence from the chase when I got called back out to an active domestic; at 7:30 in the morning – who fights with their spouse at 7:30 am? One arrest later for domestic violence with injuries, I was at the jail.

10:00 I met a good friend for a quick goodbye when the tones dropped again. An adjacent department was doing a prisoner transport to the same jail I was at, when the officer doing the transpo started screaming on the radio that she was being attacked; no specific locale given, just that she needed help.

Five minutes later I arrive to find an assaulted officer and no prisoner.

Immediately a search team is set up (in a swamp) from where he fled. Three hours later I pull the suspect from the deep kudzu in snake and gator infested waters; and walk him back the mile he’d just ran to get to dry land.

A couple hours later – I was changing a tire for a disabled motorist on the side of a busy roadway.

Was this a typical day? Pretty much yeah, it was. Every day is different – but this was standard stuff that we dealt with all the time.

I did not get the chance to say my goodbyes to all the people I’d wanted to… because duty and servanthood demanded a different course that day.

Being a cop is a great many things, and you’ll get varied opinions as to what it is really all about. A rural sheriff’s office in Texas versus the NYPD will deliver differing thoughts from cops as to their jobs; but they still all have one thing in common; from California to Maine – everything they do is for others, and every decision made in the moment, is truly in that moment.

It is in part why law enforcement funerals are so hard – they have given all they can; and only those wearing blue truly understand that cost and the prices paid that led to that final moment.

Cops are here for everyone – but themselves.

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Micah Richardson is a retired Peace Officer and Commander.  He’s a husband of 24 years and father of two amazing kids.  Micah is also a founding member at Operation Innocence, proud American and a Whiskey Patriot.  Micah is currently the Chief Operating Officer at Isaiah Systems Safety Consulting… not to mention a guy who prays … and hopes you will, too.