Windows are busted and graffiti on walls, ghost towns now sit in once bustling strip malls.
As he turns the corner while walking his beat, he hears the pitter patter of young and old feet.
The Officer sees a dad with daughter in tow, he raises his hand to gesture hello.
A father and daughter walk by the old cop, the father looks with contempt and does not want to stop.
While passing the officer, the father decides to talk, which then begins chastising the tired old cop.
“You’re nothing but thugs with badges in blue, you’re all the same, I know others like you”.
The officer smiles, with wrinkles on his face, a tired old cop in a tired old place.
The officer has received such anger before, but decides to stop and endure some more.
While facing the father, with daughter in tow, the cop speaks softly, his years start to show.
“I can see that you’re angry, you appear to be mad, and to you everything I stand for, must truly be bad.”
“It’s easy to forget cops are individuals too, we all wear a badge that seems the same to you.”
“However, if you stop and listen to an old man’s side, you will see that I am honest and have nothing to hide.”
The father reacts with confusion, at such a reply, and then stops to listen to figure out why.
“I have seen good and evil, the years have flown by, and my face has been wrinkled by hardships of time.”
“I see you have a daughter, I have one too, and wear this gun on my hip to protect her and you.”
“This badge on my chest, I wear with pride, but we are all individuals and differ inside.”
“I know your hardships, and share in their pain, as a father myself, our fears are the same”
“You wish the best for your daughter, and I do too, that’s why I put my life on the line for her and you”
“When I put on this uniform, I do it with zeal, to combat the evil of men’s free will.”
“There are those who despise me, without hearing a word said, and would much rather see me lying here dead.”
“While some want to hate me for the uniform I wear, this is a cross I choose to bear.”
“Evil is real and unchecked roams free, unless good men stand up, to be its enemy”
“Many before me have laid down their life, only to be survived by children and wife.”
“They fought for an ideal so you could be safe, to walk down the street, anytime and any place”
“While there will always be bad along with the good, many have given their life, and remember them we should.”
“While we are not perfect and human for sure, we will risk our lives and continue to endure.”
“I hope you can forgive a tired old cop, but I had to inform you, a thug I am not.”
“I hope you can see, the relations that we share, and will stand firm with us in this cross that we bear.”
“Policing is a cause that’s not separate from you; it takes all of us together to make it through.”
“And while I may sit here, as survivor of the years, tomorrow another officer will be buried in tears.”
The father stood silent, with tears down his face, ashamed of his words, while his daughter embraced. Jaded from the past he thought his anger would not stop, until the day he listened to that tired old cop.