You should thank them for standing out in the freezing cold for 40 of 48 hours of a snow emergency directing traffic, pushing cars out of stuck places, and setting up a warm haven for us to take shelter in. You should thank one of your cops for calmly ignoring irate citizens who berate them for things out of their control and quite often directly caused by the person who is blaming the officer. Meanwhile that same officer is on alert, always watchful for the verbal assault to turn physical as it so often does. A normal day on the job could quite possibly involve being spit on, touching things that no one should ever have to touch, seeing things that no one should ever have to see, being called a racist or bigot or pig, watching innocent children’s lives being ripped apart by their drug addicted parents, and knowing that every move they make is probably being recorded and then scrutinized by those who hate them the most. Please consider they are under no obligation to keep this career. They are free to choose another life, being an officer of the law is just one of thousands of ways to be a contributing member of society while getting the bills paid. We should be thankful that smart, compassionate, problem solving, common sense filled, brave men and women are still choosing to do this for us.
Today I am going to pray for the police officers. For the ones who make routine traffic stops with full knowledge that is one of the most dangerous things they will do in their career. For those who pull over to talk to the man who is laid up behind a drug store. The officer is there to assess what scenario is taking place: perhaps a medical emergency, perhaps just a human looking for a warm spot to rest or perhaps a person whose mind is not well and who at this very moment is lying in wait to retaliate against an imagined threat. I pray that if and when the officers of our great country are verbally mocked, physically assaulted, plotted against, shot at, or punched as they most surely will be, they will each have the exact, perfect, split second decision making skills that saves their life, protects the innocents around them, upholds their vows, follows every one of their standard operating procedures to perfection, and will stand up to the searing scrutiny of hind site. I pray that the citizens that the police protect will not destroy one more officer’s life by their quick and misinformed judgement, mindless lemming mentality, and easy calls of injustice and broken systems. I pray that the officers who are out there doing what we ourselves would never do, will not come home one day from completing their duties the way we ask them to in the way they were trained to do, knowing their career is over, their family is going to be at great risk, and their character, moral capacity and humanity will be drug through a wildly prejudiced public judgement potentially ending in a demand for time in prison.
Today was the first time in years I wrapped my arms around my husband and looked in his eyes and told him to be careful. Today he wore a uniform because the department wants all in their ranks to be able to spring to action and fully serve the citizens they vowed to protect. I desired for him to not only wear his plain clothes but to also leave his badge, belt and weapon out of site and to stay in the office as much as possible. I wonder why today he must put a target on his back everywhere he goes, knowing that those who desire passionately to destroy him could be in every location he visits. If he stops at the gas station to refill his tank, if he gets some fast food for lunch, if he goes to his son’s basketball game tonight, he makes a conscious decision to wear that uniform with honor, commitment to his duty, and inherent risk. I ask this because I think like a citizen and not like a sworn and responsible officer of the law. When the weather is bad, I go inside to stay warm and avoid danger. When angry mobs are on the street, I turn on the TV and watch from my safe and cozy family room couch. When there is a homicide reported on the news, I take the time to say, “That poor family” and move on with my day. If only all of us could see these situations through their lens, perhaps we would begin to appreciate their life-giving, law-supporting, community-developing, country-upholding career choice.
Today, maybe you have an officer who you can buy lunch for or a local department you can pray for. Today you can teach your children to respect the police and when confronted by an officer, do what is asked without delay or argument, understanding their demands are educated by a different view of the situation. Today you can take a minute to see “every day” situations through the lens of those who serve us and protect us. Today, I hope that you will appreciate all that a law abiding society demands of our officers and that they chose to accept and claim as their responsibilities. Today, you should thank an officer.
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