We Bleed Blue. By JANELLE NEWTON, who has been married to her husband Paul since 1997, and they have four sons. Paul is a Police Sergeant.
Many outside the realm of Law Enforcement are not sure what that is all about. If you are wondering what that phrase even means, please allow me to attempt to paint a picture for you. For me, as a Texas girl who married a Law Enforcement Officer twenty-six years ago, this is what it looks like for me.
On this particular day, our family was on the second leg of a much-needed vacation. We had just driven the long haul from the beautiful mountains of New Mexico into the dry dessert. We sat down to dinner at the Cactus Café, which is the only restaurant for miles around Carlsbad Caverns National Park. My husband looked at his phone and simply muttered a soft, “No.”
“What’s wrong?” I asked. But I already knew. I may not have known any details, but I knew that face, and I knew that reaction. It meant that he had just received a notification that a brother in blue was down. We all listened around the table as he told us some brief details about the Sergeant from a Texas Sheriff’s Office who had just been killed. The people around us were having fun, but the hearts around our table suddenly became very heavy.
A few moments later, I looked across the table and saw my husband’s eyes filled to the brim with tears. He apologized and explained that it’s just harder when it is so close to home. We all struggled through dinner that night.
We lugged our suitcases up the stairs to the hotel room. The boys changed into their swim shorts and I went to the pool and watched them swim, play, and have their belly-buster competition. We left my husband in the hotel room. He just needed some time. I understood…so I sat alone by the pool and looked up the information on my phone. I read what had transpired, how the situation was still unfolding, and shots were still being fired. I prayed. I stayed at the pool with the boys till dark. My husband never came to the pool that night.
As sergeant begged for her life, spineless killers gunned her down in cold blood with her own gun
The next morning as we were all getting ready to spend the day exploring the caverns and having fun, I looked at my husband and we saw that we were both wearing our “Back the Blue” t-shirts. Without a word, we both knew exactly why we were wearing them. We were wearing them for him…the Sergeant…the one whose death we felt pain over, even though we had never met.
We bleed blue.
For us, it just means that our vacation had a little glitch in it. For the family of that Sergeant, we know it means their worst nightmare had become their reality. For every Law Enforcement family, it is the harsh realization that it could be us, on any given day. For every wife, who waits at home to hear the sound of the Velcro of his vest coming off, it is a solemn reminder that it could be her who has to face her worst fear and tell her children that Daddy is not coming home.
This is what it means to bleed blue. We are aware. We care. We pray. We acknowledge his life. We feel the loss. We realize that the majority of society will not take notice. Most media outlets will never mention his name. Many citizens will be more moved by an ad for the humane society than they are of the reports that an officer has been gunned down by a criminal. Not us…we bleed blue. We didn’t know that Sergeant, but we know he chose a career serving and protecting others. We know he ran toward a dangerous situation on that day in order to protect the lives of others. We know something about what kind of man he was…and that is why we bleed blue.
This article is in memory of Joshua Bartlett of the Lubbock County Sheriff’s Office, End of Watch July 15, 2021.
This is why Bridge to the Badge sends Honor Cards to the families of fallen Law Enforcement Officers at the one-year anniversary of their death. Find out more at BridgeToTheBadge.org.
JANELLE NEWTON has been married to her husband Paul since 1997, and they have four sons. Paul is a Sergeant with the Wichita Falls Police Department where he has worked since 2002. Janelle is the author of the book Bulletproof Home: A Mom’s Guide to Building an Indestructible House, and she speaks regularly at events for Homeschooling Moms. Janelle and Paul are the founders of BridgetotheBadge.org, a ministry to families of First Responders. She and Paul have been guest speakers at various churches and events on the topics of marriage and law enforcement life. Janelle and her family reside in Wichita Falls, Texas.