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FELLOW OFFICERS: Don’t Forget WHO YOU Are…
These riots and protests are ripping my heart out. I find myself often angry, my wife pleading with me to “calm down.” But no sooner after I have gained my composure, I come across another story, or watch another video, and “bam” – I’m angry again.
Watching a video of the police being attacked ignites a fire in me, one that’s not easily extinguished. Sometimes I curse, sometimes I cry. I watched one out of Chicago where officers were pelted with various objects and devices. I came unglued, and once again, my wife pleaded….
I spent 35 years on the streets; five in Oklahoma and 30 in Texas. In December of 2015, I punched my card for the last time: that was enough, or so I thought.
I walked out of the station laughing and smiling, but it was a masquerade. A huge chunk of my heart stayed in the world of law enforcement.
I let my peace officer certification expire, thinking I would never need it again. However, I recently had a change of heart. And after taking all the necessary classes, as well as getting fingerprinted, I should hear from the Board soon, congratulating me on my recertification.
But I’m in a quandary: what does a 62-year old man do with a peace officer license? I got an email from someone who said Atlanta was hiring on an emergency basis. I immediately inquired, only to discover it wasn’t true.
I did apply at a department where I hoped I could at least land a “reserve officer” assignment. At the time my certification was still active, so I submitted an online application on July 7, 2016 to the Dallas Police Department. That date – July 7, 2016 – may ring a bell: Five police officers were murdered in downtown Dallas.
I have vivid memories of that night. The reason for that is because I was there. Living so close to downtown “D,” I decided to attend: not to participate, but spectate.
I sat in my truck listening and watching the crowd. The press would later report that it was a “peaceful protest turned violent.” But that was not true. The hate in that scene was thick enough to cut with a chainsaw. The whole situation was far from “peaceful.” The hate had created an atmosphere that was ripe for violence.
One of the first speakers, a preacher, had boldly declared, “May God damn white America … white America is a f———g lie.” The crowd was drunk with hate.
I took note of the officers who were there to protect them. The anxiety on their faces, most of whom were young, was clearly visible. I felt bad for them, forced to stand there and endure the abuse. When the attack began, several of those officers would throw themselves onto a wounded woman, shielding her from further harm.
What I will never forget is what I “heard” in my heart. At about 7:50 p.m., while sitting in my truck, an unexpected thought came to me: There’s a lot of anger here. There’s fixing to be a shooting.
I had no idea that this “thought” was prophetical. About an hour later, a man so filled with hate that years earlier had been kicked out of the Black Panthers, opened fire on the officers…
A few weeks ago, on the anniversary of this massacre, I made two signs – big ones. On one I painted “I SUPPORT THE POLICE”: the second one read “4 YEARS AGO TODAY … 5 DALLAS OFFICERS MURDERED … July 7.”
I put them in the back of my truck and headed for a busy intersection. For the next three hours, I stood there, proudly. Not everyone appreciated my gesture, however. I came to that conclusion after some of the passersby shouted “f—- you,” while others flipped me off. I considered it an honor to have been hated for a just cause.
“Hate” is a popular emotion these days. Since May of 2013, my partner and I, Lieutenant Colonel Dave Grossman, have been conducting what we call “Sheepdog Seminars.” If you’ve kept up with him, you know he has come under attack from different hate groups. He has been falsely accused of teaching officers to kill (I have conducted over 100 seminars with him, and have yet to hear him say anything that comes close to what he has been accused of).
Fellow officer, it is essential that you see through this present crisis that you’re stuck in the middle of. If you can get a clearer vision of what’s actually going on, you will have a better understanding of what the adversaries of law enforcement are trying to do. They have found an acceptable, and easier path, by which they can defund the police: demoralization.
Demoralization, according to the dictionary, means to…
deprive (a person or persons) of spirit, courage…
destroy the morale of…
to throw (a person) into disorder or confusion.
It is their goal to crush your spirit and rob you of your courage.
It gladdens them when they read of how cops are threatening to quit or take early retirement. That’s how they’re defunding us. They have learned that if they can create enough misery, stir up enough conflict, it will have a demoralizing affect.
A veteran officer recently told me that in his department “every supervisor below the rank of lieutenant” is seeking employment elsewhere (2000 officers work there).
Don’t get me wrong: if it’s time to go – go! Get out of there if that’s what you truly long for. There’s nothing wrong with that. You’ve earned it.
But…if you’re gonna’ stay: Give’m hell! Besides, you have the right to to leave on your time, not theirs.
But I beg you fellow officers: do not buy into the anti-police rhetoric. The truth is, the vast majority of Americans stand with you. They know you are flawed, as they are; they know you make mistakes; as they do. But that does not diminish their respect and appreciation for you.
But let’s be honest about you. Take some time to remind yourself of who you really are.
One of my favorite all-time movies is Cinderella Man, based on the true life story of James Braddock, a boxer who became the heavyweight champion. Braddock was riding high on life, winning matches, making big bucks – and then the depression hit. Injuries to his hand diminished his boxing skills, and he soon found himself working on the docks, as well as collecting government assistance just to feed his family. They had sunk into poverty.
Braddock was knocked down, but he didn’t stay there. He managed to get a fight here and there, and before long, he was in the ring with Heavyweight Champion Max Baer. He defeated Baer and regained his crown.
One of the most moving scenes in the movie is when his wife, Mae, comes to his locker room as he’s dressing and preparing to fight Baer. With a solemn look on her face, she stares into his eyes and tells him….
Maybe I understand … some… about having to fight…
So just remember who you are.
You’re the Bulldog of Bergen, and the Pride of New Jersey.
You’re everybody’s hope, and you’re your kid’s hero.
And you are the Champion of my heart, James J. Braddock…
It may sound kind of cheesy, but there’s a ton of golden truth in this. You are the hope for that victim of domestic violence. And there are certainly times when you have to be a bulldog. And yes, you are a… Champion.
Again, do not lose sight of the fact that the bulk of America is “in your corner.” You’re fighting for them! Law-abiding citizens know you’re having a tough time.
And for what it’s worth, I’m standing with you. In a few weeks I’m headed out on what you might call a “mission trip.” I’m tossing those signs in my car and driving west to California, up the coast to Washington, back east to New York – down to Missouri and further down to Georgia – then home to Texas. I’m going to the cities where the protests and riots have been prevalent. The plan is to hold my signs up high, and do so with pride.
Meanwhile, I’m not sure what I’m going to do with my renewed “peace officers license.” Who wants to hire someone three years shy of social security benefits? Please know that I am crying out to God on your behalf. I know what it’s like out there. If you need to vent, call me. My number is 817.437.9693. Besides, you might know of a department that hires old men who cry and curse, but still believe in the cause.
Written by Jimmy Meeks
Jimmy Meeks is a retired police officer, having served 35 years in law-enforcement. He has also been a minister for over 47 years. In his police career, he served as a law-enforcement instructor, hostage negotiator, field training officer, school resource officer, detective, supervisor, and crime prevention officer. He has also been a certified crime prevention specialist. Jimmy and his wife of 43 years, Julie, were married at the First Baptist Church of Daingerfield, Texas, the sight of the June 22, 1980 massacre that killed 5 – and injured 10. Jimmy was also a production assistant in the award-winning docudrama Faith Under Fire, based on the tragedy at First Baptist Church in Daingerfield, Texas. He is the owner of Sheepdog Seminars.
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