What Is A Policeman?

Back The Blue

My husband is a policeman. Back the Blue.

He is my hero.

And I will support him and all his brothers and sisters in blue unapologetically. Back the Blue.

 

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For some, that is hard to hear. When they look at him they don’t see honor; they see a monster.

For others, that is no big deal. When they look at him they don’t see courage; they see “just a job”.

And for others, that is respectable. When they look at him they see integrity; they see an asset to our communities.

 

Sinner, saint.

Good, bad.

Right, wrong.

 

But what all of them fail to see is the humanity, the man behind the badge. 

They think they know what it takes to be a policeman.  They think they know what it means to serve and protect. 

But they can’t understand, and will never really know because they haven’t walked a shift in his boots, under the weight of his badge.

Most won’t. 

Most couldn’t.

Because it takes a very special person to be a policeman.  This isn’t just some job.  It is a calling. Back the Blue It’s life and death every shift, every situation, every second. And those willing to answer that call are the only ones worthy enough to be called policeman.

 

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But what is a policeman?

He is a walking contradiction.

A living oxymoron called to the impossible task of being both judge and judged.

He holds himself to a higher standard, but the public holds him to a perfect standard.  If he messes up he’s corrupt.  If he doesn’t then he’s “just doing his job.”

He must enter the devil’s playground day in and day out, but must come out a saint unscathed, unblemished, and unchanged.

At any given time, a policeman is the most needed but most hated man in America.  If it’s a crisis, he is a hero.  If it’s a speeding ticket, he is a villain. He must conduct surveillance without looking lazy, like a waste of taxpayers money.  But if he is actively policing, running radar, or patrolling neighborhoods, he is entrapping citizens and is a bully.

He can’t profile; because then he is a racist.  But the public and the media profile him based on the past actions of a few.

A policeman must be firm but fair; gentle but forceful.

He must be strong enough to march into hell, to fight the demons the rest of us pretend don’t exist, but tender enough to hug a frightened child or talk a suicidal person down from a bridge. Back the Blue.

He must be tough enough to see broken bones, severed limbs, spilled blood, and violence beyond comprehension without it affecting him mentally, but he must be human enough to feel compassion and empathy for his fellow man.  He wants to remember the victims, to honor them, but he is haunted by the terrifying images that play on repeat in his mind.

Because he sees things we couldn’t handle, the evil living inside all of us manifested in reality. We need to Back the Blue.

 

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What is a policeman?

He is an ordinary man called to do extraordinary things.

He must be exceptional without being cocky; rough without being intimidating; brave without over-reacting.

He must be willing to dedicate himself, body and soul, to the community he swore to serve and protect, when it’s at its very best and when it’s at its very worst.  He must locate the lost child, catch the thief, help the elderly, deal with the homeless, and arrest the drunk. All with a smile. And all before his shift ends. Back the Blue.

A policeman must assist and heal, restore and calm, defuse and desist, no matter the call, no matter the situation.  And he must do it without using too much time, too much man power, or too much force. Back the Blue.

He must run to danger as others flee from it.  He must be fearless in the face of fear, brave in the unknown, and quick on his feet. He must shoot to stop the threat, but only if his target is the thinnest of limbs, like a hand or a leg.  And he must do it while running, and without hitting an innocent bystander.

He must make life and death decisions in a matter of seconds; decisions that others will critique, scrutinize, and analyze over days, weeks, and months, even though they weren’t there and have only a 30 second video clip as evidence.

A policeman must save the life of another at all costs but is judged brutal if he must take a life to save his own.

He must be willing to lay down his own life for a stranger but shouldn’t demand or expect respect until he’s done something to earn it.

He must stand in the heat of the day or the cold of the night to protect the protesters that are protesting…him.  They will call him names or shout for his death but he must remain silent, neutral, and stoic.

A policeman will take an oath of integrity, honor, and commitment but must be willing to have his character ran through the mud, ridiculed, belittled, and questioned-and he can’t take any of it personally.

 

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What is a policeman?

He is a father, a husband, a son, a brother, a friend, and a neighbor.

He must be a devoted family man and a doting husband but he must, above all else, be married to his job.  

He must be on call at all times, ready to react at a sudden notice, but he must do it for very little pay or compensation. And he must never complain about the hazards of his job because “he knew the risks when he signed up.”

A policeman must be willing to work 20 hour shifts should the job demand it, sleep four hours in the middle of the day, but then report to work energized, alert, and refreshed. He must be willing to work sick, tired, or hurt without having it effect his job performance.  There is no such thing as an off day.  There are no sick days. Back the Blue.

He must give up holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, parties, weekends, and special occasions.  Crime doesn’t take a break, so neither does he.  His family will learn to expect broken promises, knowing it isn’t his fault but the sting still hurts.

He works when others are sleeping.  He sleeps when others are awake.  He lives at home but may not see his family for several days.  He eats alone.  He sleeps alone. He enjoys his days off alone.  He can be in the middle of a crowded party and still feel isolated because his job is his life and no one else really understands that.

A policeman must be willing to kiss his family good bye, knowing there’s a good chance it may be for good, because no call is routine, no shift is ordinary, and every day he reports to battle is another day he walks the thin line between good and evil, life and death.

 

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What is a policeman?

He is a mediator, a diplomat, a pastor, a nurse, a teacher, a social worker, a caretaker, a messenger, a mentor, a negotiator, and a chauffeur.

He is a tough guy and a gentleman.

He must help the victim of a violent crime AND respect the rights of the accused.

A policeman must know everything and everyone in his surroundings but not violate the privacy of the citizens.

He must befriend the lost, the broken, the hurting, the forgotten, the homeless, the needy, the sick, the dying, the unwanted, the violent, the suspect, and the rebel.  But he can’t be too friendly because then he’s a flirt.

He is left to pick up the pieces no one else wants to touch.

On a “good” day, he is spat at, called names, threatened, assaulted, and scrutinized by the public, the media, and many times, his upper ranks for just doing his job. And he must endure all of this with a cool, calm demeanor.

On a “bad” day, he is shot, ran over, stabbed, beaten, punched, or put in the unfathomable situation to make a split second decision that could change his life, the lives of his family and a stranger’s family forever.

A policeman must respond to a call of a child being abused, kidnapped, raped, or murdered, but must push aside his feelings of disgust, repulsion, and outrage to make sure justice is served according to the law and rights of the accused, not the victim. He must then return home to his family and act like nothing happened even though he can’t get the heart wrenching images out of his head.

He will arrest a person four, five, six times for DUI because he has seen the hurt a drunk driver can do to an entire family, but he can do nothing when the violator is released by a judge, again.

He will respond to a domestic call at a home for months and months at a time, see the bruises and broken bones on a woman who refuses to press charges against her assaulter, all the while knowing he will be back to that house and will treat her wounds again, or worse, be there to bag her body.

He delivers bad news to good people when their loved one is hurt or killed unexpectedly. But he must also deliver good news to bad people when he is unable to build a solid, air tight case against someone who he knows without a shadow of a doubt committed the crime and is getting away with it.

For every crime, a policeman will have a thousand suspects but zero witnesses.  He will spend weeks investigating, interviewing, and surveying just to find probable cause for a warrant.  Then he will spend weeks filing, writing, refiling, and rewriting to see justice served only to have the case dismissed or pled out. Will you Back the Blue.

 

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What is a policeman?

He is a hero to most but a monster to some.

He serves in an endless, glamourless, thankless job for very little pay and very little commendation.

He sees the worst of humanity; things he can never unsee, no matter how hard he tries.

He doesn’t want to fight but sometimes he must.

The hours are long, the days are hard, and the work is unrelenting.

But he knows someone has to do it, and so he says, “Here I am, Lord, send me.”

A policeman is willing to stand in the gap, to be the lone warrior holding firm the thin line between right and wrong, good and evil. 

He fights when others can’t. 

He is strong for the weak.

He believes in justice and will lay down his life so that others may live.

He may feel like giving up, but he won’t because he took an oath, he made a commitment, and he will honor that promise even if it means losing everything that is important to him.

And when the job gets tough, when the calls seem too much to bear, when the cries against him get louder and more toxic, the policeman will still get up the next day, put on his uniform, polish his badge, kiss his family good bye, and enter hell all over again.

Why?

Because he is a policeman.

A simple servant called to be Superman.

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Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

John 15:13

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3 Comments

  • Reply
    Mindy
    July 27, 2017 at 7:44 pm

    Thank you for these words…it sums them up so well. My husband has been a police officer for 15 years and I am so proud of him and the calling he was willing to answer. I am thankful that the Lord watches over him and his fellow officers each shift and brings them back home to their families. Bless you!

  • Reply
    Sarah
    July 27, 2017 at 11:00 pm

    This is very beautiful! Our community has been coming together to do an Adopt-A-Cop program where these brave men and women are given little gifts, letters, and cards to show that, while we may not understand what they go through every day, they are honored and respected for the sacrifices they are making for the rest of us. I will be sharing this on the program’s Facebook page. Thank you for your openness of heart.

    • Reply
      Shilah Seale
      July 27, 2017 at 11:22 pm

      Hello Sarah! Snow (Shilah) here! I love the idea of Adopt A Cop…. is there anyway you could email me more info about your program?

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