LEO Life: One Day at a Time
One Every 52 Hours
That's not a creative subtitle. It's the statistic for 2014 on "line of duty deaths". Does it disgust you? It makes my stomach hurt. Does it shock you? I am terrified of my husband's name being added to the list. Does it upset you? I cry every 52 hours.
I have been a LEO (law enforcement officer) wife for almost eight years. When Stu and I started dating, he was a detective in another state. He took a break from law enforcement to move to Florida (spoiler: to marry me). But the call to serve and protect was strong, and within a year of being hitched, he was enrolled in the Police Academy. He was hired by a local department shortly before graduating. And he has worked hard ever since protecting and serving those in his municipality.
I am a very proud LEO wife.
I do not claim to speak for all of my fellow LEOWs... Although I feel that we are all interconnected by some of the same general emotions: pride, love, faith, fear.
Recently the country seems to have taken a real loud stance against the men and women who daily risk their lives. As a blue family, this disturbs me. I'm not going to discuss at all the two cases that appear to be fueling this inferno. I would like to pose a question to the public. Do you know that it is in fact illegal to resist arrest? Regardless of whether you are innocent of the accused crime, it is NOT ok to resist the actual arrest.
Here's the thing, police are not called to come join peaceful, everyone's getting along and singing campfire song situations... they are dispatched to problems. They show up to scenes with adrenalin pumping, and they are always anticipating trouble. They show up to chaos and have limited time to disseminate the problem. They have to make split-second decisions: lives (sometimes) literally depend on that.
I don't understand how everyone else doesn't understand that. I get it, when you're "in the moment" and things are heated, it's difficult to simply turn that off. Trust me when I am mad, red is all I see. I guess the thing I have trouble wrapping my head around is that everyone else (outside viewers and judgers like me) doesn't see that. I don't know how people expect to live in a land where law enforcers aren't respected.
You Will Be Missed
I have had an indescribably difficult time processing the recent murders of the NYPD officers and the officer in Tarpon. I have cried several times, and I didn't know any of them, neither did my husband. But when one falls, our entire community feels it. And mourns it.
I orignally wrote this on 9/16/12. My husband's closest brother in blue was killed on duty. This was something that I felt needed to be said then. And in light of all of the recent events, I feel like it might be good to share it with you, my Hub audience.
I am not sure how to really start this. I have wanted to get a few things off my chest, but I don't for one second want to sound selfish or have people read this and think that this is all about me.
It's for my husband.
As you know, my husband is a police officer. More specifically he is a motorman. In the beginning of my blogging journey, I wrote an article (on my blogspot site) called "Disturbing Trend". There was a time in 2011 when it seemed that every time we turned the news on, a law enforcement officer was killed in Florida. It was one of those months when the dangers of my husband's chosen profession was brought to the forefront of my attention.
I don't claim to speak for all in my position...
I am well aware of the risk Stu takes every morning when he rolls out of the garage. I try to talk to him once or twice during his workday. And each night, if he is even 5 minutes later than normal, my heart starts to pound a little harder. But I don't dwell on it. Actually, I really don't feel "worried" for him when he's working. Maybe it's because he's been a LEO for so many years. Maybe it's because I know how much control he can wield over that 800lb Harley. Maybe it's because I would go postal if I really thought about it.
Stu has been experiencing his own version of the "disturbing trend" recently. About a month ago, one of his good friends (a motorman from a neighboring city) passed. Not in the line of duty, but shocking and sudden. Tom's funeral was my first police funeral. It was powerful. I was overcome with emotion even before I stepped out of my car. My husband was part of the motorcade bringing Tom and his family from the funeral home to the church and then to the cemetery. So I went to the church solo and waited for Stu. I arrived early, as is my usual custom. Tom's death never made it in the news, and I was completely taken back by how many officers from all over the area came to show their support and love. If I had to guess, I would say maybe 150. Possibly more.
I cried. A lot.
Last Sunday night (2012), I was getting ready to leave the house to go pick Stu up from work. The lease was up on his Harley and his PD hadn't gotten his new one in yet, so I had to chauffeur him. He called. I assumed it was to remind me to pick him up or tell me to bring something specific. It wasn't.
It was one of those calls. I could tell immediately. Stu was using his "police voice" - the one that doesn't have any hint of emotion, the one that is forceful without being mean, the one that means "don't interrupt me this is important." He said, "Bruce has been in an accident. Come here now. We have to go to the hospital."
Maybe it's the civilian in me, but I froze needing to hear that again. Needing time for my brain to process what was happening. Needing more details.
The details are known by many around the country now. My husband's dear friend Bruce St Laurent was killed while doing Presidential motorcade duty. It was a tragic accident. It was a dark day. It still makes me cry to see Stu hurting so much.
My heart goes out to the families of both men. They were both wonderful people, great cops, and incredible friends to Stu. I pray for peace for both families, the kind of peace that only God can give.
The past month has really made me appreciate Stu. He laughs when I say it, but I just want to snuggle with him. I want to be next to him every minute that he's home. I want him to know that he is loved and needed. I don't want him to find another job. I think he is a great officer and our society needs good ones. But I want him to be safe. I want him to come home at the end of every shift. I don't ever want his Captain or Chief to call my cell phone or show up at my door. I want him to know how incredibly proud I am of him. I love my man in blue. I love him very much.