Sitting here trying to explain to my kids why someone would kill police officers. All I can come up with is to tell them to just pray for the policemen and their families. Pray really hard.
What happened last night in Dallas terrifies me. Police Officers are being assassinated for doing their jobs.
I originally wrote this post in 2014. And two years later I feel it’s a story that needs to be shared again. Please read and share. And Pray for all of the lives lost.
I come from a police family. And I am extremely proud of this fact. I was born, and still live, in Chicago. The murder capital of the entire universe.
Every police officer has a family who loves them. A family who worries about them every time they go to work. A family that needs them to come home safe after every shift.
My Dad was a Chicago Policeman. My brothers, Juan and Dat, are currently serving the same department. My grandpa and father-in-law were also Chicago Police. I also have countless cousins and friends who are also on the job.
In the neighborhood I live in many men and women are police officers. If someone is not actually a police officer, they are surely related to one. Or they live next to one. Or at the very least know one.
When we were little my Dad and my uncles were all policemen. We were raised to respect them. My Dad didn’t even like us using the term “cop”. It just didn’t have the respect that the word policeman does.
Some of my earliest memories are of police events. The picnics. The trips to the amusement parks. The softball leagues. It was a big family.
I can remember thinking it would be cool to shoot the bad guys. I can also remember my dad telling us how no policeman ever wants to have to shoot his gun. I didn’t understand. It would take me years to be able to understand the emotional ramifications of hurting another human being.
I knew my dad carried a gun. I knew where the gun was kept. And if we so much as looked in the direction of the room that had the closet that had the safe that housed the gun, we got in big trouble.
But when your dad is a policeman, this is all normal. You are remotely aware of the danger your dad puts himself in on a daily basis. When it was time for us to go to bed, it was time for my dad to go to work. And thankfully he was there again every morning to take us to school.
I can remember a policeman being killed in the line of duty when I was very young. He didn’t get home in time to get his kids off to school that day. Or ever again.
My brother Juan has a wife, Molleen, and four kids. He gets up in the middle of the night and goes to work while they’re all still sleeping. So that our city is a safer place.
My brother Dat is home with his four kids all day and then leaves for work when his wife, Meggy, gets home from work. He misses dinner every night. And bed time. So that people can call him when they’re in trouble and get the help they need.
Juan and Dat are smart guys. They love their wives and their families. They have multiple degrees between them. And they both work plenty of side jobs to be able to provide for their families. Turns out risking your life everyday doesn’t pay all that well.
I can’t imagine what they see on a daily basis. I don’t understand how they are able to leave their jobs behind when they get home from work.
My Uncle Larry was a homicide detective on mid-nights for years. He raised five kids. And he’s one of the funniest people I have ever met in my life. Yet he dealt with the unthinkable on a daily basis.
I can’t comprehend going to work everyday and dealing with the crime and murder. Then coming back home to be a regular old family man. Coaching your kids sports teams. Taking the family out for pizza.
My cousin Tish is also a highly educated woman on the job. She looks like an adorable stay-at-home soccer mom, yet she’s a badass policewoman. She deals with God only knows what at work and then comes home to her three little kids and drives carpool. She amazes me.
Her brother Little Fanny is also a highly educated policeman. He also just graduated law school and will now work for the police in that capacity. He’s a newlywed and now has a wife that has to worry about him every time he steps out that door to go to work.
We didn’t and still don’t celebrate most holidays or birthdays on the actual dates that they fall. Because when your family member is a police officer, they normally have to work on all the holidays. It’s nearly impossible to get everyone together for dinner at the same time.
I actually almost became a police officer. And by that, I mean, I thought about taking the test. About fifteen years ago, Shelly and I were looking for something to do with our lives. Being the police was in our blood. But when we learned it cost twenty dollars to take the test, we decided it might not be our calling after all. We drank the twenty instead.
Then last year, when I lost my job as a school counselor, there was another police test coming up. This time, the twenty dollars was waved because I was unemployed and deemed to be a financial hardship. It was a sign from the Lord above.
But then I remembered my fear of guns. And how I don’t like being out in the cold. And how blue really isn’t my color. And how I don’t care for wearing hats. And how I’m afraid of the dark.
I also thought of my husband and four kids. The thought of leaving them each day to do such a dangerous job really didn’t appeal to me in any way.
Then I thought about the poor sonofabtich that would get stuck working with me. I’m just not brave enough. I would be responsible for protecting that person’s life if the occasion should arise. Too much pressure for me. No thanks.
A few years ago we had a blizzard here. All of the schools were closed. As a teacher, I was so happy not to have to go out in the terrible weather. Policemen don’t get snow days.
Police officers work rain or shine. They never close. They miss a lot at home. Everyday there is a possibility they won’t make it home. It amazes me that there are so many men and women out there willing to do this to make my city a safer place. It’s definitely something I could never do.
I am in absolute awe of all of the things that police officers do on a daily basis. I don’t know how they do it. But I’m so thankful they do.