Tuesday, December 9, 2014

They Also Serve Who Only Stand and Wait

Police spouses and partners - they are a diverse group. They are used to things commonly outside of the experiences of other spouses. While everyone else celebrates Christmas they sit at home, often with little ones around them, while Dad...or Mom...works. It is an intertwined profession, so that the gruesome injuries to a bike cop in Denver reverberates among those whose "cop" patrols their city on two wheels. The travails of Ferguson and Staten Island are not lost on them. Please join me in thanking my wife Pat for her insights into this closed world.

Cop Arrested Oval Decal  The last few days have been tough. My husband and son are cops; I have many friends who are cops, and I worked in 2 different police departments (not as a cop). The tirade from the press has been difficult because my experience has not contained racist cops. Any cop who was rude, racist, or heavy-handed was politely, or firmly left go. As the wife and Mom of a cop, I have experienced having my loved ones deal with shift work (what day are we celebrating Christmas, Thanksgiving... plus the sleep deprivation), emotional and physical stress, and second-guessing decisions they made in a nanosecond. It is a challenging job in a system where it is hard to know what the community they serve will accept, and what is taken today may change overnight. Courts may decide 10 years or more after the incident that the decision made in the nanosecond was not reasonable, even if it was a standard practice or was included in their training. There is unbelievable stress connected with providing safety in our communities, not only to the men and women who provide it daily, but also to their friends and family who support them.

Should there be some system-wide changes? There is always room to provide better service to the community, be clearer about boundaries, or be better partnerships. These types of changes take communication, understanding, conflict resolution, and time - not vilification. My hope is for productive and authentic partnerships between the community members and those men and women protect them. Let us begin those conversations. 

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