A message to America from a cop: The news headlines are devastating, but today I choose positivity.

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The media headlines:

“8 Minutes and 46 Seconds: How George Floyd Was Killed In Police Custody”

“”Derek Chauvin had his knee on George Floyd’s neck for nearly 9 minutes, complaint says”

“George Floyd pleaded with police for his life. His last words should haunt us all”

“All Four Officers Charged In George Floyd’s Death”

I am horrified about what is happening across this country and the world. 

As I contemplate how precious life is, my choices, my career path, how valuable my own family and friends are, while also challenging myself to evaluate my reasoning, morals, values, and bias, I struggle to grasp how in 2020 the world can be so messed up. 

Today I questioned my decisions; today I was ashamed; today I worried.  I prayed, loved harder than I have in a long time, and today I vowed to be better than I was yesterday. 

Today, everything changed.

Today I Questioned My Decisions

In 1996, I took an oath to protect and serve. At 19 years old, I had dreams of changing the world and helping my community. I went to work everyday surrounded by colleagues who also had the same dreams.

In the past 25 years, there have been cops nationwide who have vilified the badge, and abused their power. It was easy to write those cops off as “bad apples.”

Today is different.

Today, as I look back on my career, I scrutinize my choices:

Have I always made fair decisions? Have I always tried my best?  Did I bring peace instead of chaos?  Did I act without bias?  Were my actions for the greater good?  Did my oath of office mean something? 

Today, I questioned my decisions.  I examined my role in the current negative perception of the enforcement of law.  Where did I fit into the narrative? What have I done to change my community?  Was my impact positive?

Today I Was Ashamed

The badge I swore to uphold is tarnished. There is nothing more that a good cop hates, than a bad cop.

I support law enforcement. In fact, I would consider my co-workers family. However, I do not support officers who make a horrible decision that in turn affect the lives of so many.   The actions of the four police officers in Minneapolis have robbed a family of a loved one.  Their actions have painted all law enforcement nationwide as evil. 

The trust society has in the criminal justice system is uncertain. Their exertion of force has made us all question ourselves, our actions, our beliefs, our duty. 

Being raised in a cop family and spending more than half of my life working in the field, I have always been proud of a profession so noble. 

On the contrary now, I am a broken and contrite. 

Law enforcement officers are no longer seen as protectors, but instead enemies.  Every decision an officer makes will be questioned.  Every use of force, even justified, will be scrutinized. 

Today, I was ashamed. The badge and uniform no longer are a symbol of defender and guardian but instead they are viewed only as an abuse of power.

Are we now the bad guys?

Today I Was Worried

I worried about my country.  I mourned for the loss of respect. I fret about my son growing up in the craziness of this society.   I worried about my fellow man.  I think about my law enforcement brothers and sisters who are being condemned for the actions of another. 

Is the criminal justice system that I have fought so hard to uphold not really a system of justice after all?   

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Colorado woman uses red flag law against officer who shot and killed her knife-wielding son

 

They say history continues to repeat itself. Here we are decades later still battling a race war, still not a united country, still consumed by hate.

Today I worried.  I agonized over the thought that integrity, values, morals, ethics, and loyalty are not good enough. 

Today I Prayed

Lord, we need you. We need love, compassion, and unity.

Am I the only one praying?  I am sick of the discord; tired of the fighting, back-stabbing, name calling, and blame.  There is division today like I have never seen. 

My hope is society will not condemn all law enforcement for the actions of a few.  Just as you would not wish to be judged by the actions of others, I beg that you remember every law enforcement officer is a human being.

We do make mistakes, we put our pants on one leg at a time just like you do, and we make life or death decisions in a split second. 

In the end, the vast majority of officers are trying to make this crazy world better and simply make it home to our families.

Today I prayed. I prayed hard and long for guidance and for light in the darkness. 

Let us all be reminded “God [is] our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”  Psalms 46:1

Today I Loved

Life is precious.  In the rat race of life, amid our daily routine, we seldom take a moment to really love. I cannot help but grieve for the family of George Floyd. They will not be able to hug him again, spend Christmas and holidays with him.

Pat Underwood, a security officer at the Oakland Federal Building, who was shot and killed during the subsequent protest over Floyd’s untimely death, will never get to marry his fiance.  Their families, as well as countless others, have lost the traditions and their future with the one they loved so dearly.

I mourn the loss of these men and many others as I think of their family’s incredible sense of loss and grief. 

Today I loved.  I loved my family as I again sent my husband off to work not knowing what he will have to deal with in the uncertainty of today.

I hugged my son extra hard as I worry about the world he will grow up in. I fear I am taking life for granted-my loved ones for granted.

I vow to love with all my heart, remember to step outside of routine, embrace life’s challenges as adventures, and always let my family and friends know how much they are loved.

Today I Vowed To Be A Better Person

2020 was a new decade of promise.  I started the year like I am sure many of you with thoughts of hope and excitement.  The year has thrown us some curve balls! Quarantine, sickness, loss of jobs and our economy is tanking. 

There is rioting, looting, social and political discord.  Though it has taken a U-turn and it seems as if 2020 is the year of negativity, I choose to spread positivity.

Today I vowed to be a better person. I am making a commitment to embrace equity, diversity, and inclusion. Set the example, don’t be the example. 

As the old quote says: “There is no more neutrality in the world. You either have to be part of the solution, or you’re going to be part of the problem.”

Today Everything Changed

I struggle to find reason in the pandemonium of 2020.  What is my impact on this crazy world?  There is little I can do to control others. 

On the contrary, I will control myself, my attitude, and my actions. Instead of shame, I choose love.  Instead of worry, I choose positivity.  Today I choose to embrace change.  

Today, everything changed. 

Written by Christen

Christen is a law enforcement officer and college professor by vocation, a wife and homemaker by calling, and a mother by the grace of God. Christen has been a sworn law enforcement officer for almost 25 years starting her career in 1996.

She is part of a law enforcement family having been raised by a cop and now married to a cop.  In her spare time, she loves to travel with a goal to reinvent the American dream of “having it all.”

Her dream includes collecting a lifetime of memories and experiences instead of physical belongings.

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