I am not someone who likes to get in arguments with people on Facebook. I just figure, life’s too short. So, in the midst of the furor surrounding the Ferguson shooting and the death of Eric Garner, I have kept quiet. I don’t want to argue about racism or black vs. white or even about what happened in Ferguson. I do want to take a stand against the vilification of police officers. As the wife of a police officer, I feel I have that right. So, here’s what I know:
My husband rides to work on a motorcycle in 20 degree weather. He gives out speeding tickets, reckless driving tickets, and parking tickets- not because he thinks it’s fun, but because it’s part of his job. He is generally cussed out at least once a night. He works wrecks, writes reports, and helps direct traffic. He risked his life to shut down the interstate so some idiot protesters wouldn’t get squashed like bugs by tractor trailers. He does a job that is generally thankless and oftentimes dangerous.
Since Mike joined the police force in 2006, a police officer was shot while sitting in her car writing up a report and was paralyzed from the waist down. Another officer was shot five times during a routine traffic stop and almost died. Last May, an officer was killed while working a wreck on 1-65. Just last month, an officer was shot in the hip and will probably never walk normally again. These are just the incidents that I remember, I am sure there have been many more. This is a quote from an article in the Washington Post by a 17-year veteran of the LAPD. I think it sums up what I’m trying to say:
“An average person cannot comprehend the risks and has no true understanding of a cop’s job. Hollywood and television stereotypes of the police are cartoons in which fearless super cops singlehandedly defeat dozens of thugs, shooting guns out of their hands. Real life is different. An average cop is always concerned with his or her safety and tries to control every encounter. That is how we are trained. While most citizens are courteous and law abiding, the subset of people we generally interact with everyday are not the genteel types. You don’t know what is in my mind when I stop you. Did I just get a radio call of a shooting moments ago? Am I looking for a murderer or an armed fugitive? For you, this might be a “simple” traffic stop, for me each traffic stop is a potentially dangerous encounter. Show some empathy for an officer’s safety concerns. Don’t make our job more difficult than it already is.”
The continued disrespect and animosity towards police officers is not going to help our community. In fact, it will probably lead to more occurrences of teenage boys thinking it’s a good idea to point guns at police officers. At the end of the day, I just want my husband to come home safe. I think that’s what we all want for our loved ones.