Friday, May 15, 2015

Thoughts From An LEOS


Please take a moment of reflection for those 
who bravely served their communities.

Recently a local Police Officer was shot and subsequently died of his injuries. The community is devastated and heartbroken at such a loss. Most of you already know the story. I'm writing about a related variant: Being an LEOS (Law Enforcement Officer Spouse). Countless times I've answered questions such as: "Why does he want to do such a dangerous job?" "How do you handle it?" "Don't you worry all the time?"

The men and women who chose a career in law enforcement are one of a kind. They have to return to their jobs day in and day out after witnessing harrowing circumstances. Long hours at night and on weekends is strenuous. While the rest of us sleep they are diligently keeping watch. Regardless whether they are cussed at, spit on, or fought, they are expected to return to their watch to continue protecting and serving. Afterall, they swore to do just that. If you imagine all the different scenarios and gore they encounter (their job goes beyond those pesky traffic infractions), perhaps you can realize why they appear rough around the edges at first.

I suppose each individual has their own reasons for doing such a dangerous job each and every day, some cases night. I would say most feel that their communities are important enough to them to choose public service. They live here, too, and are making it safer for everyone, including themselves and their families.

To be frank: No, I don't worry about him all the time. He chose this profession fully acknowledging that the worst could happen and I accept that. His job is stressful enough as it is. A worrying spouse doesn't help. No one wants to hear the hallow echoing sounds of bagpipes and know it's in honor of their own loved one, but it's part of the package. I trust he is skilled to take care of himself and his comrades to the best of his ability and vise versa. Sometimes I wake up frightened in the middle of the night for no apparent reason. A quick call to hear his voice is soothing. Leaving a voice mail is comforting enough sometimes (I get to hear his voice on the greeting).

Unfortunately, once in a while, tragedy hits home. Several years ago while living in a small Idaho town we heard the pop-pop-pop of the automatic rifle that killed an officer. Due to coincidental change of events, my LEO had started with another agency only weeks before and therefore not on duty that night. I have never seen my husband weep painfully as he did that day. There is a different connection among them. Something I acknowledge, perhaps not fully understand, but I respect it.

So when another local officer was murdered, it again reminds us of the hazards they work in. I'm deeply saddened by the outcome but I'm not permanently rattled. The man was doing what he was sworn and honored to do. Obviously, I do not wish these circumstances for anyone including our family, but I must be strong-hearted to face the possibility of a final EOW (End Of Watch). How do I do it? I can't say for sure. I simply recognize the universe may call my LEO. I have no immediate control over this. We love each other and cherish our time together as anyone does.

It sickens me that there is this movement against law enforcement personnel. They're just normal people with families and feelings and bills to pay like any ordinary household. Most of them do care about communities and want citizens to be good wholesome people. Perhaps, the reason they were grumpy writing you that speeding ticket was because on the previous call they witnessed the ambulance and fire department wipe up the splattered brains of a driver off the road so the morning commute won't bear witness to it. Sure, there's no way for you to know this but I have a simple suggestion: Thank them for their service and remind them to stay safe. Your loves ones are expecting you to come home safely. We want that, too.

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