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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Living with the disrespect

Looking for a fool proof way to get your blood pressure up?

Go online and find a news story involving the police. This should be easy, there's something new every day. Read the article and note the negative spin and overall tone that the LEO involved was in the wrong. Then keep scrolling to the comments, sit back with some popcorn and get ready for the pressure to build.

We all know that our law enforcement community isn't the most well-liked in the world. People have one bad run-in and decide that all police are dirty and worthless. Sometimes these people haven't even had a bad experience, they're just assuming that nothing good comes from the police getting involved in anything.

Why is it so hard for our world to understand that most of those in law enforcement are good, selfless people, truly sacrificing themselves for an ungrateful community?

Every day, my husband puts on a ridiculous amount of gear and a target on his back and heads out into a world full of angry people who would love a chance to cause him harm for no reason.

A duty belt weighed down with handcuffs, pepper spray, an asp, a pistol and extra magazines.
A Kevlar vest that weighs more than you realize and doesn't allow for any air circulation (extra fun when it's summer in the South).
A badge that only weighs a few ounces, but carries more with it than anyone knows.
And he drives off in a car that is filled with even more gear. The trunk, the backseat, the passenger seat, even the little pockets in the door are all stuffed to the brim. Safety gear, protective gear, more guns and endless folders, files and notebooks of paperwork.

He spends his shift being polite with people who hate him for no reason other than the badge on his chest. His eight hour shift almost always turns into 10 or 12 hours. Even when he is home in bed, the phone has a tendancy to ring and call him back out. He works birthdays, holidays, anniversaries and most weekends. He does this for a paycheck that is much smaller than you'd probably guess and no thanks.

My husband has one simple goal every day: To come home.
It has nothing to do with speeding tickets or DUIs or anything else. He wants to help people, with the end game being to make it home. All of that gear, all of his training, all of those hours go toward making him better at his job and more likely to come home to me. If only the rest of the world understood that.

Unfortunately, the target on his back also means I have the same one. I'm so proud of my man and what he's accomplished for himself and our family on the few years that he's being in this line of work, but I can't talk about it. New people and strangers can't be told what he does for a living. I can't put a sticker on my vehicle. I can't wear shirts or jewelry that advertise my status as a police wife. I've never been more proud of anything, but I have to keep it to myself.

I get so jealous of military wives who can do all those things. They can beam with pride and tell random people in the grocery store, "My husband is in the [pick your branch]!!" They have car decals and shirts and Facebook statuses that shout with pride. Why can't I do that? What makes police service so evil and military service so honorable? How many of these hateful people realize that most law enforcement are either prior or current military members? How many people will shake a soldier's hand and thank him one day and the next day curse him online for being a police officer, without realizing that he is the same person?

The disrespect and hate that our law enforcement officers face every day can be exhausting and frustrating as a wife. And unfortunately, most days our only option is to sit quietly and bite our tongues and pray every day that the good guys make it home and that maybe one more person will learn to have some respect.

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