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Tuesday, July 12 2016

After a year of retirement, I find that I still bleed Blue. I stared at their dead bodies on the television screen in horror before Fox News wisely switched off the camera in Dallas and went back to New York. But it was too late. A nation was shocked into the realization of what those of us in Law Enforcement already knew - police work is dangerous stuff.

I stared in numb silence at the television and there, in the safety of my living room, I cried. I cried for their families, and I cried for the officers who still held the line as they protected the very citizens who had been protesting against them earlier. And as the days passed and more stories came out, I still cried. I cried when I heard about the off-duty officers answering the call to arms, these officers who left their families, some dressed only in shorts and flip-flops, carrying rifles, raced to help their on-duty brothers and sisters. That, Dear Reader, is The Brotherhood. It is a bond that ties us all as brothers and sisters in blue. It is the very bond that so many distrust.

Perhaps unless you have been in military combat, it is hard to understand the bond between officers. As individuals, officers are not white. They are not black. They are not Hispanic. They are not Asian. Officers are Blue. If you don't believe it, watch them together in a crisis. The men and women I worked with over my career are closer than siblings, for you cannot experience some of the things we walked through together without developing an unshakeable bond.

"I've got your back."

For most civilians this statement means I'll help you move furniture. For cops, this means I'll put my life on the line to protect yours.

On some levels I can understand the mistrust of police. The Brotherhood of cops is a tightknit community and from the outside looking in, the wall we create around ourselves feels exclusive. People talk about The Brotherhood between officers as a bad thing, convinced that other officers will cover for a bad cop. Frankly, I've been involved in those investigations and an officer investigating a dirty cop is like a dog with a bone. We want to ferret them out. They make the rest of us look bad. But we want the chance to take care of our business ourselves first. We want the public to let us investigate things before the case is tried in a court of media and public opinion mere hours after it comes to light.

"Police officers are rude!"

Yes, sometimes they are. Occasionally you might run across a cop who is just an ass, but for the most part, officers are rude because they don't want to die, and they don't want you to die, and the behavior you are displaying scares him. He wants to see your hands. You know you're reaching for your insurance card. He knows there might be a gun in that glove box.

As an officer I have been on hundreds of traffic stops. I cannot count the number of guns I have pulled out of door panels, center consoles, and glove boxes. While many people get all bent out of shape because an officer has his hand resting on the butt of his gun during a traffic stop, I can assure you that for a large chunk of my career, my gun was out of my holster and pointed at someone EVERY NIGHT. That comes as a shock to most people, but in the kind of work I did, it was safer for everyone.

On some nights, that gun was the reason I came home at the end of my shift.. And my rude behavior was often the reason suspects went to jail instead of the morgue. If the gun was already out, he was less likely to do something stupid which would result in a bad night for everyone.  I was looking for narcotics and felons and if you were a small fish caught in my wide net, once I determined that you were not a danger to me or my partners, the gun was holstered, the handcuffs came off, and I apologized for your trouble and sent you on your way. People, please understand, when the cop feels safe, you are safe. If he needs a gun out to feel safe in that situation, don't be offended. Guns don't go off by themselves. Guns go off when you scare cops.

"Well, if a cop is that scared, he shouldn't be a cop."

I won't even dignify that kind of stupidity with a comment other than to say I've heard it spouted all too often by ignorant people. If you think the job is easy, you get your ass out there and do it. They're hiring.

Most citizens have few real contacts with police except for a traffic stop. No one likes getting a citation. In many cases the stop is not about the minor traffic violation itself. The violation gives the officer the probable cause to look for bigger fish. The cop is actually looking for narcotics, or warrants, or stolen goods, or any number of other greater violations.

Perhaps the person or the vehicle meets the description of a suspect in another crime and the officer needs to be able to stop the car and check it out. That traffic violation just gave him the probable cause he needed to stop the vehicle. When things go bad the media reports this as "the cop just stopped him because he had a broken tail light" or "they just stopped him because he didn't use his turn signal and now he's dead! No one should be killed over a traffic violation!"

The cop ends up looking like a nitpicky, trigger-happy racist but the reality was the shooting was never about the traffic violation. Most of the time it was about not complying with simple directions.

Over my career as a Houston Police Officer I've made hundreds of traffic stops. I have been cussed at, and screamed at, and some stops have blown up into all out fights on the side of the road. I have had to smile and be polite as citizens MF'd me and accused me of stopping them just because they were black even though I patrolled in a black neighborhood. Everyone was black.

But mainstream media doesn't want to hear that.

Statistics can be twisted and massaged to support whatever view you want to prove. My experience as an officer in a major metropolitan area gives me more credible information on the subject than someone who has had experience on a few bad traffic stops with rude officers, or someone who can quotes stats from FOX and CNN to me. In most cases I have to say, "Cite your source because your numbers don't jive with actual FBI statistics."

And I've been on the street. I have been in the hospital. I have stood over the dead cops. I know how fast 'routine' can go bad.

The extreme left can show me lists of dead citizens shot by police officers and I can show them lists of dead cops, but where does it end? In my lifetime I have never seen race relations so bad. I have never seen such disrespect and all-out hate for law enforcement. I have never seen our nation so close to anarchy.

I cannot tell you where it will end, but communication and good manners on both sides of the badge is where it should begin.

Posted by: forensicfarmgirl AT 12:25 pm   |  Permalink   |  16 Comments  |  Email
Powerful words, my friend. Thanks for giving us a glimpse. Peace to you this day, Cassie
Posted by Cassie Wade on 07/12/2016 - 12:55 PM
Awesome words and well said. Goes with a conversation I was having with my 18 y/o son today! Going to share, if you don't mind! THANK YOU for your service!!!
Posted by Janet C on 07/12/2016 - 04:16 PM
Very true words. I miss kicking back and shootin' the bull with you before my shift, however, I am glad you got out when you did. Take care my friend!
Posted by Andrew Barr on 07/12/2016 - 04:17 PM
Thank you, Andy, for being my Brother in Blue & CSU! Be careful out there. Stay safe. ((Hugs))
Posted by Forensicfarmgirl on 07/12/2016 - 04:32 PM
Thanks for serving, and thanks for using your skill at writing what we are all thinking in such clear and moving words. I'm proud to call you a friend.
Posted by cindy tennant on 07/12/2016 - 05:54 PM
Thanks for your service and insights. I retired from the US Coast Guard 20 years ago, I still say "we" when talking about the CG. You'll always be "blue" just like I'm always part of my "long blue line". Be proud of it and be proud of the service you performed. I have a ranch in Ok, I spent the morning brush hogging and afternoon building fence. I'm not at all sure why some of us think this is fun. Good luck.
Posted by Steven Conway on 07/12/2016 - 09:00 PM
Thank you for your service. I could never do your job, I'd be Barney Fife. ALL the folks in blue have my support.
Posted by Theresa Dannhaus on 07/12/2016 - 09:55 PM
Thank you for your service. I could never do your job, I'd be Barney Fife. ALL the folks in blue have my support.
Posted by Theresa Dannhaus on 07/12/2016 - 09:56 PM
Well said!You will always bleed blue. Always.
Posted by Heidi on 07/13/2016 - 03:11 AM
Good write up, Girl....I, to, cried and cried. And after reading your blog, I cried some more. You hit the nail right on the head. Take care, hope you are doing well.
Posted by Stephanie Gaithe on 07/13/2016 - 04:56 AM
Well written! I didn't know you retired! Congrats! I too am beside myself and feel helpless to fix this nation. I'm going to start learning Chinese.
Posted by April Palatino on 07/13/2016 - 07:15 AM
Excellent post, classmate!
Posted by J-Rod on 07/13/2016 - 04:18 PM
I started reading it but I cannot finish it yet. Still too many tears to keep reading, All our prayers must be for the nation to become well again, in God we trust and follow the golden rule. I salute you all-brothers and sisters in blue. Thank you for keeping our lives in your hands and may God keep your lives in his hands.
Posted by Sue in Wyoming on 07/13/2016 - 10:06 PM
Well said, sister!!!
Posted by Julie Palumbo Beckworth on 07/14/2016 - 01:21 PM
Let's make a prerequisite that any politician before running for office, be required to go through and graduate from the police academy. After that, be obligated to work the beat 40 hours a month. Then we'll see what their stance is!!!!
Posted by David on 07/14/2016 - 03:19 PM
Very well said Thank You for your service I know people don't understand the job police do an you explained it well thank you
Posted by Carol Cummings on 07/14/2016 - 06:35 PM

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