I was recently interviewed about my thoughts on the current climate for law enforcement officers. During the course of the interview, the brilliant young lady asking the questions observed, “You experienced things that have changed you forever.” Yes, yes of course she was right. This led me to think about the ways in which I, and other police officers are not normal.
Being a cop, puts one in places, in moments, a normal person will likely never be. Moments full of terror, grief, disgust and humor. Some moments are so intimate, as a cop helps someone through the worst day of their life. I will share a few experiences…
- SIDS babies – one of the worst things I have been involved in. That is about all I have to say about that.
- I have seen people die, literally twitch out their last, in front of me. I decided early, I don’t like dead people!
- Searched river banks for a drowned kid. . . hoping I could find the child, to help the family with moving forward, praying I would not find a bloated child that would haunt my dreams.
- I have attended surgeries with inmates. I dressed down, the whole nine yards! Scrubs and guns! I have been in the Operating Room as bones were screwed into place, a spleen sealed, and a police dog bite repaired. In every case, the inmate wanted my assurance, before he went under, that I would be with him the whole time. I was a cop, he was a bad guy, yet he begged me to promise I would not leave at anytime, while he was under. The dog bite guy, claims I stole his cookie while he was coming off the anesthesia, I cannot confirm nor deny. . .
- I have seen piercings in the oddest of places.
- Talked to, fought with, joked with murders, rapists, satanists, strippers, drunks, rich guys, poor guys, mentally challenged, gang members, church members.
- I was flashed, by a guy, who had breasts. This is a fun story… I will share it in a future “cop stories” post.
- One time the detectives thought it was a great idea to dry out some blood soaked clothing, evidence in a murder trial, in a couple back holding cells, for over a week… ever smelled drying blood? Ugh… you actually taste it…
- Feeling things so deeply, but having to bury the emotion to function efficiently.
So yes, these things change ya! AND the following list also affects us…
- Friends, wives, family not understanding your mindset and outlook, seeing it as paranoia, cruelty, detachment, hostility, and self centeredness.
- Seeking the back wall in any place with people – we do this, so we can see all the entry points and not have anyone to our back.
- Inability to close eyes, or relax in public and even in church. Yes, even church! Any place with people running around behind us, can make us a little twitchy.
- The effects of sleep depravation, on health and attitude – once I stepped out of law enforcement, I became a different person… Recognizable, but different… Better.
Now, in the last couple years, everything has changed. It started before Ferguson… but that shooting and the resulting statements from our race baiting president and his little minion Eric Holder, in a couple sentences cemented our nations hatred for cops. From that point on several things began to change…
- We started to see officers targeted like never before in ambushes.
- We started to see officers thrown under the bus by departments, regardless of the facts.
- We see cops around the country, pulling back. Being strictly reactive, not proactive as most departments demand. Who can blame them? No one wants to lose their house, their spouse, reputation, and get death threats for doing their job.
- They have taken all the fun out of the job.
- Because of all this, criminals are emboldened. Good Job – Pres. and Holder!! You made our nation more dangerous, and now you want our guns… AND you get to keep yours!
I loved, really loved my time as a cop. I love the people I worked with. The camaraderie is something few ever experience. I really miss training! But… Everything has changed now.
So… when bright, gungho kids ask me about becoming a cop. . . my advice is be a Firefighter!!
PS – I am an optimist… so expect a post on the “Cool Stuff I Learned as a Cop”. I really loved it when I was in!