I’m just your average police officer.

I am from a small town. I grew up as an average, shy kid. The kid that pretty much blended in, never got in trouble and was never much of a standout. The kid you never thought could be a cop. 

I started out after serving in the United States Air Force after graduating in the lower third of high school class.

I dreamed of doing something important. I remember seeing police officers as my heroes. They would be in chaos and some how keep it under control.

So I went college. I was accepted by a large department. The proudest day of my life was wearing that uniform.

 

I was determined to make a difference. I hunted drug dealers, wanted felons, wife and child beaters, drunk drivers – anyone who crossed the line. I made numerous murder calls, suicides, traffic fatalities and regular death reports at hospitals. I’ve been assaulted and injured several times.

And even after these countless dealings of death and dangerous criminals, none of it could have prepared me for the worst day of my career. 

It was a cold December night and our shift was nearly over. An emergency tone came out for a shooting. I thought it was another gang related drive-by.

To my shock, I saw two small bodies and a large man lying on a porch. A shift mate and his probie were giving CPR to a small girl. Blood was everywhere. I’ve never seen so much… I saw an older girl lying on her back, still breathing. 

I rushed to her. 

Even now after 8 years, tears still well up in my eyes as I write this. I tried desperately to save her. I cradled her head in my lap as her life oozed out past my gauze and fingers. I stayed calm, called for blankets, had a partner push her legs to keep as much blood in her upper body as we could. I saw the swelling getting bigger above her left eye. 

Where are the paramedics?!

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I tried to get her to slow down her breathing. She was so scared.

She stopped breathing on me as the medics took over. My pants were soaked in her blood, my hands stained red.

I learned later she died. Her own father murdered her and her baby sister. Then he took the coward’s way out.

I share this because it affected me deeply. It changed me. I thought I was tough. I thought after years of facing danger, of staying calm and in control of so much chaos, that nothing could upset me so much.

I ended up sinking into a deep cold pit of depression.

I almost quit. I got help. Family members and caring people from inside the department helped me more than they could ever know. They said I am not a quitter. They refused to give up on me. They refused to let me give up on myself.

law enforcement suicides

(Courtesy DanSun Photo Art)

 

I’m pretty damn good at what I do. People need me. Good people. Innocent people. People who can’t defend themselves. Even though there are people who hate us because of their twisted perception of us, I, and many, continue to serve every single day. 

But I’m tired. I’m older and I can’t run like I used to.

My spirit isn’t as high as it was when I was a rookie. It hurts seeing the negative assaults on my profession. I fear the future because I’m a dinosaur. Cops like me are not refilling our ranks. The problems are huge and complicated and are only getting worse.  

But I still care.

 

I have and will still run toward gunfire. I will still make the arrest. I will still defend. I will still sacrifice myself to keep evil away. That part of me will never change. 

— Just an average cop.

 


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