Recently my wife and I had the chance for a quick getaway to the Sunshine State.  When I plan a trip my favorite motto is this: If it’s warm, there’s a beach and no one knows me, I’m there!  My wife and I were grateful for this trip to enjoy some sunshine and warm weather, especially when it was the single digits back in the Boston area.

I made a mad dash to gather some books to read while I was away. I don’t need to go too far to pick out some easy and fun reading from a collection of books I accumulate at home.  I’m fortunate that my bride is an avid reader and she works in our local library too.

I located a book I purchased for my wife during the holidays among her book stash next in our living room.  Bullets in the Washing Machine by Melissa Littles.  I placed this into my carry-on bag along other items to read.  The author is part of the Police Wife Life, a group of LEO spouses connected on social media.

Melissa Littles is married to an LEO.  The book is a collection of stories about LEOs and their loved ones.  Some stories are tragic.  What this book has given me is a different view of the dedication, fear and heart break experienced by many LEO spouses and families.

The stories allowed me some time to reflect on conversations I have had with my own family.  There have been times that my wife would discuss her own worries about my work and stories of other LEOs injured or dying.  A practice of mine would be to be an attempt to change the subject or persuade her that there was nothing to worry about.  What I’ve realized is my wife just wanted me to listen.  Yes, to LISTEN which is a vital component of communication which is key in a relationship.

Sometimes our loved ones want to express their feelings and we need to stop, listen and sometimes not say anything.  Our loved ones are our foundations and strength that help us endure the reality of policing.  It is important to discuss our duties with our loved ones, explain the tactics and the training we use.  We try to assure our loved ones that we are cautious and help calm the anxiety that everyone feels with this delicate subject.  Sometime we may not have an answer (or maybe we think we do but we may need to keep quiet) so it is o.k. just to listen.  Listening in Communication = Trust in our Relationships which is a beautiful combination for Love.

What caught my attention and respect for Melissa Littles is her opening remarks about the lack of support in our society today for the law enforcement profession.  She is taking a lead on behalf of our spouses and loved ones to advocate for us.  Littles is educating the public about the devastating effects of policing and the burdens LEOs families face daily throughout the U.S.  She is a voice for our profession.

I hope you have the opportunity to read this book to have a better understanding of our loved one’s feelings.  To learn more about this wonderful book, please click on the link below:


Sgt. Mark St.Hilaire is a 28 year veteran police officer working in a Metro-west suburb of Boston, Mass.  He is a volunteer police peer assistant with a C.I.S.M Team.  You can contact him by confidential email; [email protected].  Follow Mark on Linked-In or Twitter:@NPD3306.