Today We Remain Silent

The officer whose job you just criticized . . .

He just left a call where he held a dying woman in his arms. She knew she had overdosed. She was afraid to die. The officer felt helpless. Then he watched as the medical team loaded her into “the box.” He was the last person to ever see her alive.

His next stop was pulling over a speeding car. This person informs him he pays his salary and doesn’t hesitate to scold him how he should be out catching criminals instead of silly things like stopping people who are driving a little too fast.
By definition, a criminal is relating to, involving, or being guilty of a crime. Crime is defined as an illegal act for which someone can be punished by the government. The officer IS doing his job. You’re welcome.

But today, he remained silent.

The officer whose job you just criticized . . . 

She just rescued a person who had come to the end of their rope. A person who felt helpless, hopeless, and desperate. A person who was filled with an uncontrollable sadness. It became her job to not only save this person from a dangerous situation, but somehow, save this person from theirself. They lived to tell about it. She goes to another call.

Domestic dispute. When she arrives she hears a couple screaming from the street. Faint cries from a child can also be heard. When the door opens, the smell of alcohol is strong. The mother can’t bring herself to look the officer in the eye. Signs of bruising are visible on the mother. She won’t talk but claims she fell down the stairs. The child hides behind the couch because she is afraid of the “mean lady” who is going to take daddy to jail again. No charges pressed. Nothing more to be said. The officer gets in her car, closes the call, and slowly drives away.

Today, she remained silent.

The officer whose job you just criticized . . .

“Hey Officer . . . Why are you spending your time here at the convenience store? Don’t you have better things to do than waste my tax money eating donuts and being lazy?”

Little did you know . . . this was the officer’s first break in over six hours. He thought his bladder may explode and the cramps from hunger were making him feel a bit weak. A quick stop to grab a small snack to tide him over and a drink to help quench his thirst turns into a hate fest. He gets glares from people who watch as he sits silently in his car, finishes his snack, and drives away.

Another call is coming in. He must brush off the comments, maintain his composure, and move to the next call.

Today, he remained silent.

The officer whose job you just criticized . . .

A breaking story begins to spread like wildfire on social media. As with any news story, the facts are few and the speculation deep. The officers involved in the case aren’t able to share many details because they have an active case open. Little detail can be shared because it could compromise a witness, the suspect, or even the crime scene. A press conference is scheduled and the public demands answers. They share what they can, but it isn’t enough. The police are put to the fire because they do “an awful job” and should have done “this” differently.

But today, like every other day, our officers remain silent.

Because the public always knows their jobs better than they do. And they don’t hesitate to tell them. Day in and day out. Call to call. There is always another person waiting to criticize, demean, and find fault. There is always another person whipping out their camera in hopes of catching them “doing wrong” failing to see how much they do right. Every. Single. Day. I’m not discounting the major mistakes, nor am I overlooking the few bad apples out there. But as a wife behind the badge of an officer I love dearly. One who sees, hears, and knows so much more of what goes on than anyone who can even pretend to “know” the job an officer does . . .

I Refuse to Remain Silent

You don’t see the pain in their eyes, or understand the turmoil a body goes through having to be “on” everywhere you go. You haven’t listened through tears as they share the horror they witness. Moreover, you haven’t had to shield yourself from hate from people who want to do you harm, hunt you down, find your family, and wreak havoc or even death. Simply because of a job and a badge.

I likely won’t be able to influence the media. I likely won’t make an impact to the masses of protestors and general public who are hell-bent in thinking the ill decisions of a select few reflect on the entire crew. Furthermore, I may not even make an impact on you. But I won’t let it stop me from trying by the avenues I’m afforded. And I won’t let it stop me from speaking life into my officer and our family in blue. It won’t mean I always take it to the comments section on social media, but it will always mean I take it to my knees to Someone higher than me who can fight my battles for me. And for us.

And with that, I will never remain silent.

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer” (Romans 12:12).

– Melinda Merritt