We Need You!
Sorry for the length of this post but I thought it relevant to this group.
This is who I am.
I’m a cop. To break it down further, I’m a wife, mother, grandmother, Hillary supporting, gun carrying, pro-choice, pro-death penalty, democrat. Do I fit in yet? I didn’t think so. I don’t fit in with younger generation cops either.
I entered the lucrative (that’s a joke) career of law enforcement in my forties. I’m not the only one; I went to the academy with a fifty-five year old man, and more and more people in their thirties and forties are giving law enforcement a shot. I am no longer a civilian, and I don’t think like one, but for over forty years of my life I did. The change starts at the police academy, in some ways similar to military boot camp, in other ways dissimilar.
One of the differences is we attend our “boot camp” for eighteen weeks instead of nine. The other difference is in the general principal. In the military we need young men and women to follow orders, not question those orders, and love their country. This is done by tearing down a recruit; bringing them to their lowest possible form, and then building them up again, making them a team, and filling them with pride.
This isn’t so in the police academy. We are torn down and kept down. Our chosen career will have very few prideful moments and unequivocal stress. We will be called unmentionable names, spit on and even defecated on. We must think on our feet, all alone, on a late night shift. If like me, and working in a rural area, backup can be anywhere from ten to sixty minutes away. My life depends on a split second decision, decided by no one else but me. I will see dead children and hold people in my arms as they die. I will see humans at their very worst. The pictures will remain in my head until the next more horrendous ones take their place.
My thinking has changed, to be a cop it needed to. I still hold on to many of my civilian ideologies, but my awareness is different. I am a new breed of cop. I was not a great street patrol officer but I am a very good detective. I feel I am an extremely good sex crimes and homicide detective. I still care about people and their struggles.
We are constantly attacked by the media. They can’t help it, it’s their job. In less than half the cases it’s actually deserved. In the rest (this is the cop in me talking) it’s not even close to the truth and completely undeserved.
For me the hardest aspect of becoming a cop is being hated. Yes, druggies, thieves, and rapists hate me but so does the average person I give a speeding ticket to. They’re pissed off and want to know why I’m not fighting real crime. Traffic accident death statistics trump violent crime death statistics (United Stated Crime Statistics and Department of Transportation). For every violent crime death there are approximately 2.31 vehicular deaths.
I continue to believe in American ideals. I believe every American citizen has a right to a good defense. I don’t hate lawyers; it was something else on my list of things I wanted to become. When I lose a case, it’s because of what I did wrong, not the system. I learn from those mistakes. On occasion, I have sympathy for the bad guy. I am not an elitist. I’m not better than the average Joe. I enjoy going home every night to my husband and spending time with my incredible grandchildren. I am the civilian, who made a midlife course correction, and joined an often times dysfunctional family, to help the common man.
If any of this sounds interesting to you, and I haven’t scared you away, we need you. Another good aspect is “Law Enforcement is hiring.” We need the mid-lifers, men and women who want to help, people not afraid to change the face of “Men in Blue.”