Friday, October 14, 2011

Enlighten Me.....Job Realities

My legs were draped over the armrest of the recliner as I sipped from my water bottle and began to unwind from the long day.  The squeals of "Daddy, yay, daddy," flowed past her closed door, down the stairs, and were audible over my blaring TV show. The sheer joy was contagious.  I could picture her probably standing on her pink canopy bed shuffling her curtains to the side to catch a glimpse of him pulling into the driveway.  She had heard the garage door open.  I stood up to greet him. Arms full he made his way in through the garage. He threw his duty belt down and began peeling off the layers. I put my hands around his neck and kissed his cheek.  The little footsteps could be heard making their way down the stairs.  She rounded the bottom step and came flying into the family room. She and I smiled at each other as she flung herself at her target. He scooped her up with a kiss on the top of her shiny brown hair. We both completely adore him.  Even through her chatter about the day you could see the stress and exhaustion on his face.  His blue eyes don't hide much.  She scampered up the stairs in front of him.  She knew he would sing to her and tuck her back in, 

He was expressionless as he came downstairs, grabbed the laptop, and collapsed on the couch. 

He was quiet for some time before he spoke.

"I can't get it off my mind.... that case today."

I knew it, baby, you didn't even have to say it out loud.  It was displayed in the worry lines on your face, in the heaviness of your shoulders, the near dragging in your steps.

I moved from the recliner to the couch and put his sore feet on my lap to help relieve his concerns in the small way I was capable of.

She was a 7 year old girl and he was her uncle, they were inside a car in a parking lot, and I am sure you can figure out the rest.  Witnesses called Baytown PD and CA Cop was the first on the scene.

There really is such an ugly medley of evil that our officers must extinguish or contain each and every relentless day.  My concern is can they really remain stoic and unscathed with all the exposure? Does it slowly tear into their foundation over time or if they build the walls tall enough through God and family can they keep the fortress strong?

I guess I'm asking for some enlightenment....I would love to hear from officers and family members walking in all different stages of this life.  Are you affected by what you see? In a permanent way or is it more temporary? Have you noticed differences in your officer the more they are exposed to or as each year passes in this profession?

They just see and hear so much.....


  1. Yes I absolutely see a difference in 5ohHubby. There are TONS of books that talk about it: I love a cop, CHiP on my shoulder, Emotional Survival of a Law Enforcement Officer Can you send me your email address? I would love to email you privately about something going on in the bay area next month :-)

  2. Cop wife,
    There are obviously standouts or those officers who just are different but you are correct, this job does something to you. Courageous the new movie missed a piece of that aspect but showed it a little too.

    I've found dead children in slabs of cement, children crushed by the cars their mom/dad were drive out the drive way not knowing jimmy/sue was behind them, I've see the 15 yr old hoe'ing herself out, the twin babies born at 5 months who looked like little red devil dogs as we all tried to do CPR on them. I've watched a man slump to his death after a partner shot him dead, watch two people dismembered in a car crash and have taken kids away from homes so bad I don't want to share, all while they scream at me saying they hate me because I'm taking them away from all that they know.

    Seriously, and this is not to scare you, worry about an affair more than how the job changes us. This may be too graphic so I apologize but keep giving it to him. Encourage the romances of dating. GO TO COUNSELING even if you don't need it!!!
    Find strong christian gal friends who he also likes to husband.

    Sad to say, but in time the stories will not bother hubby as much. My dreams of shootouts with no bullets or fighting with the bad guys have come and gone. The reality of home, court and work life remain.

    Take care my friend!

  3. Mr. Police Man,

    Thank you for your comment and for sharing what you have experienced. It helps so much to gather perspective from individuals in all different phases of the LEO life. I write this blog because I really am seeking to support my cop in whatever way I can. Your advice has not fallen on deaf ears.

    Be safe, and thank you.

  4. I left out, trying to do things not cop related.

    And hang out with gals who he also likes *their* (not to) husbands.

  5. We could all share horror stories of what our cops have witnessed and dealt with in their line of work. Unfortunately I think it's impossibe for our husbands to NOT get jaded in this profession. But this stuff SHOULD effect them, and we don't want them to lose that. I think we as wives/families play such a huge role in our cops surviving this career. If we don't surround them in GOOD when they are off duty, they will drown in the evil that they deal with. God, faith, family and friends remind them that there IS good in the world. So hard for them to remember after years of dealing with the evil. We've only been in this 5 years, but I know my husband will never be the same as he was before he was a cop. I don't mean that in a bad way. It's just a reality. The things they see/hear/deal with over the years chip away at them and change their view of humanity. I agree with 5ohwifey on her book suggestions! :-)

    Props to our husbands and all cops willing to do this job.

    October 21, 2011 8:18 AM

  6. Simply Complicated- I'm glad you mentioned that this stuff SHOULD effect them because you are absolutely right. I don't want to see CA Cop lose his compassion.

    CA Cop Wife

    PS. I don't know what is up with the commenting on my blog. This seems to happen quite frequently!

  7. Sometimes all you have to do is say it. Every night before I leave for work I give my kids and wife a kiss and hug. Then I ask my daughter what is Dad suppose to do. She has said it for the last several years. Be safe and catch what ever number she can think of bad guys. My favorite is when she tells me we can catch one bad guy or girl and then come straight home. She the tells me to scratch my K9 partners ears. Soon my son will add his when he gets older. The last thing I hear every ngiht is my wife saying I love you be safe some times more than once since I tend to forget something on a regular basis. Even when she is gone she will call it means alot.

    I am going to pass on something I do and teach new recruits. Have a plan to contact your loved one. I hav been involved in incidents that send me to the hospital and ones that reach the news. Some before I get home. I have my own squad so if you see it on the news you know its us. I now call,text or soemthing to just say I am ok love you. My wife has made me do it since we started down our journey. Even when I was involved in a shooting I called so it was my cell number not the depts. I said I love you I am ok I am giving my phone to another officer who passed along I was involved in a shooting but was ok. I know it is better to know I am ok before someone else calls or she sees the news.

    Good Luck

    IL K9 Cop

  8. CA Cop Wife,

    I'm a bit late on commenting, but I just found your blog tonight (very good blog btw).

    I'm a rookie (3 months on my own) and I have seen things that I guess I didn't think I would see in a city of our size (57,000) and decided after my first week of going through my FTO time that I was going to need to go to counseling just so it didn't overwhelm me.

    Although I haven't been on the job very long I have already seen things that I never thought I would and that have jaded me for the rest of my life.

    Without getting into too many gross details meth is HUGE is here (cocaine and heroin is starting to gain traction as a drug of choice too), so I knew that I was going to see things, but crimes against kids and murders weren't something that I wasn't totally prepared for.

    I decided to start counseling because I caught myself sharing my work with my wife (trying to get it off my chest) and was having a tough time sleeping because I would see a dead body or the little kid that had their trust for a family member taken away. The counseling has helped and there are still times where maybe sleep isn't as great as a person would help, but I wouldn't trade any of it for anything in this world.

    I feel that the things I have seen and gone through so far while on the job has affected me, but affected me in a way that makes me a better officer.

    Great blog!

    A western po-po

  9. K9 Cop- I am sure you saved your wife a lot of stress by the simple act of using your personal cell to make that call. Very thoughtful and great advice.

    Western Po Po- I think that it is commendable that you are utilizing all resources to help you stay whole as you enter the police world. Thank you for sharing.

    CA Cop Wife

  10. Just wanted to clear your hubbu's worry for abused kids. We survive. Some of us go on to have families of our own, and we remember those "mean cops" who saved us against our wills, when we were too young to know that there was something else, something beautiful out in the world. We would never have known without their help.
    I'm a mother of four, with a husband eagerly anticipating his law-enforcement career. It may be a comfort to him, as I sincerely hope it is to you & yours, that I pray every day for the man who saved me 20 years ago. He wasn't my hero at first, but he became my hero when he told me that there was a better life out there for me, and I could see that he knew that personally, so I believed him. I believed him with all my heart! And he was right! :)