We will never be what you want the world to be – Chuck Ragan
A police officer is nothing more than a human being who has been assigned a difficult task. They are to protect, serve, take responsibility for their actions, inactions and the actions of others. The reality is they are what the world makes of them. They can’t be anything else. They are reactive to fluid situations they’ve never experienced or ever trained for. In a moments notice they can be thrown into a stratosphere of chaos and they are expected to perform at the level of a tier one military group. They have to chase, find, protect, prevent, respond and resolve any problem you could imagine, and they need to do it yesterday. What is required of them is damn near impossible and I’ll tell you something, they make it possible. They do it daily, but that will never make the news.
They aren’t special. There is nothing biologically better in them. They are like you, nothing more nothing less. They aren’t the smartest, the fastest, or the strongest. Some of them aren’t ready to respond to a critical incident. They may not be prepared. However, there is one thing all cops will do. No matter what their skill level. No matter how afraid. No matter what equipment they have or don’t have. They show up. They rip down the road with lights and sirens blaring. The squad rumbling as it rolls over the road. They tear down that road as if one of their own family members were in trouble. They will get there and they’ll “figure it out”. NO MATTER WHAT, THEY SHOW UP. Sometimes, tragically, they will never leave that destination. So, biologically they are no different. They are not special. But, chemically they are outstanding.
Imagine the job description. Imagine it as you, compare it to your own. Is it in your standard operating procedure to put the life of a stranger ahead of your own? Is it in your job description to be exposed to the grim images of mortality? Violence? Hate? Dysfucntion? Do you bear the weight of others pain? They do!! And, that can break them. They all deal with the sights, the stress, the fear, and the loss differently. Sadly, some become lost.
So, what do we become in this job? Every bright-eyed officer is exposed to the realities of the world. The realities of our community’s. The dark secrets behind closed doors. They mold their perception to allow them to explain this reality. They see decite, lies and violence. They begin to understand the dynamics of a fight and see they aren’t pretty. They learn they can never lose. You know why? Cause they are it. Yes, they are the cavalry. After them, there is no one, just more like them. Losing isn’t an option. Retreat is unheard of.
For the first time we are seeing the raw images of the job on every social media site and some aren’t ready for it. They don’t want to see the reality outside their thick walls. They want officer friendly. They want to see a cop dance while directing traffic. This makes them feel better, safer, and allows them to dive back in to their lives. Make no mistake, we are the buffer between them and reality. Our job in most places is to keep these images out, to keep their minds clear. They don’t want to see a cop in full kit ready and trained to protect, this to them is not professionalism. Bring back that dancing cop, he makes us feel better.
We are what the world makes of us. We aren’t perfect. We’ve become this way because of our environment, a place that has molded us into the person you know will show up. Ready or not. We can’t always be that dancing cop, because sometime our task is to save your life by inflicting violence on those that wish to kill you, kill us, and destroy our community. We can’t be lap dogs chained to a post in a junkyard. We arent always the hero you want, but we are the hero you need.
With this said, I find honor in what we do. I’ve seen us crush great challenges. I’ve seen us save lives, find the lost, console the grieving. I’ve seen us run, jump,and plunge into situations we’ve never been prepared for and have come out on top. I don’t want pity, or a pat on the back. Because, honestly I am not that great and I don’t deserve it. There are greater men and women out there wearing this uniform who do. Above all I want the understanding. Understand that the world is fluid, and no situation is the same. Understanding that our lives are like yours. Yes, I wear pants and eat pizza. Understand that we don’t have all the answers. Understanding that some cops are awful pieces of garbage, that we would gladly arrest and lock away. And understand that I see people everyday that give me the motivation to continue on. I appreciate the hand shakes and the kind words of what I think is the majority of our society and this drives me forward.
We are what the world makes of us, and I hope that men and women will still choose this path. I hope we aren’t a dying breed. To all my brother and sisters out there, Keep your head up and become better everyday, improve and learn. To those who support us, you have no idea how much it means to us. Thank you and we wont let you down. And to those who wish to harm us or our communities, watch out.