A badge represents honor, integrity, service and dedication.
The men and women who wear a badge made a courageous decision to dedicate their lives protecting people in their community.
Behind every badge is a human being, just like me and you. A real person with emotions, feelings, families, likes, dislikes and even their very own flaws. All too often, society seems to forget that.
A small, but growing, part of the public sees law enforcement officers as just a badge, a uniform, a superhuman, and unfortunately sometimes an enemy. A big reason for this... influence from movies and media. Most civilians have very little knowledge of what a police officer actually does on the job.
While I don't know everything that happens on the job, I can tell you that most of them have seen unimaginable things, things that no human being should ever have to see. They sweat, bleed, and even cry for people that they don't even know. They wear a badge to serve a public that at times can appear thankless and ungrateful. Despite that, they still answer every call for help.
My purpose in this post is to remind you that these police officers are not just a badge or a uniform. They are not superhumans. They are just regular people that go above and beyond to keep peace in our community. They are your neighbors and friends.
In the public’s eyes, the life of a LEO and their family is just like any other, when in reality, it’s a little more complicated than one would think. It’s not seeing them for days at a time because they work different schedules, not being able to attend their children’s school functions, missing out on baseball and soccer games or whatever sport their children might be involved in, missing family dinners, birthdays, and holiday celebrations. When it comes down to it, I am a married, single mom. I deal with boo boo’s, temper tantrums, doctor’s appointments, and grouchy, tired kids all alone. I get the look of disappointment when asked if dad is going to be home or able to come to his game, all to find out the answer to those questions are no. Our children will grow up wanting their parents around for everything, but from an early age will understand that if their parents could be there, they would be.
As far as an LEO being off duty, I’m pretty certain that doesn’t really exist. There are days of phone calls with other officers pertaining to certain offenders that they are all dealing with, phone calls for moral support, days where a LEO is trying to sleep but has to get up for court, days where they get called out for extreme situations, and training and classes that they have to attend. When we go out in public, my LEO has a constant eye on our surroundings. Watching every single person who passes by in a store or comes in the door at a restaurant (especially since he never sits with his back to the door). LEO’s see and deal with situations that the rest of us don’t want to and that makes a bigger impact on them than even they notice. Sure, the physical effects of the job are obvious. Sleep patterns are always different so there are days when they are exhausted and crabby. The constant back and knee pain from wearing their heavy vest and duty belt. It’s the emotional toll that can even affect their family. There are days when I have to remind him that he’s home, he’s not dealing with the same type of people as he does at work and he kind of needs to switch gears a bit. There are days where he hardly speaks or days when he is very short tempered. This could be because he’s just tired or he’s still feeling the effects from his shift the previous night. Any instance, anywhere, can instantly remind him of a certain situation that he’s had to deal with and the emotions all come flooding back. I have seen my husband have about every type of emotion that you can name, all from his job. All of this can be here one day and gone the next. You never really know what type of a husband and father that you are going to come home to every day.
Some would ask why, as a mother and wife, I would want to live a life like that? In my eyes it’s a simple answer. There is more to my husband that him just being an LEO. He’s a wonderful husband and amazing father to our two children, Ethan 11 and Declan 1, he’s a loyal friend and confidant to many, he has a kind heart, and he works hard for our family and is willing to help all those who need it. We make the best of the time that he is home. He enjoys playing with the kids and taking Ethan hunting and fishing. The best advice that I have ever received about sharing a life with someone involved in law enforcement just so happened to come from my LEO. Early on in our relationship he told me, "Always believe that I have received the best training for my job and that my fellow officers have received the same training. They will always have my back and keep a watchful eye out for me, just as I will always do for them." In a time where a LEO is hated and targeted just for wearing the badge, I am constantly reminding myself of his words.
These men and women put on a uniform every day, by choice, to go out and fight the evils of the world. They will quickly step in to protect the people who make it widely known of the hate they have for law enforcement. LOEs should be respected, appreciated, and honored! They are real men and women, who love what they do, no matter who or what they deal with in this crazy world! - Kelly Lannom