The Wife of a Current Police Officer shares her thoughts
Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called sons of God Matthew 5:9. This verse is the backbone to my husbands career in law enforcement and how we “manage” with the job, our marriage and raising our children. Being married to my hero, as I like to call him, has put a desire in my heart to help guide other women to not only look past the badge their husband wear but to face it dead in the eyes.
The sounds of a creaking front door and Velcro early in the morning or late at night never get old, even after fifteen years. Fifteen years in this career comes with a lot of excitement, fear, happiness, tears and a lot of faith. I met my hero three years into his career. By this time he had already been stabbed with a pick ax and severely broke his ankle leaving him desk bound for seven months with intensive therapy just to get back to what he loved doing. Most police officers when they decide this career path, do it because they want to save lives and impact society in a positive way. This was true for my hero too. He had a family to support and wanted a career that had worth. Over the years however, it became more than just saving lives, it became a mission to take bad people off the streets, protect his own, and keep his oath to enforce the law.
When I met him he was passionate about the job, excited for the next day and wanting to tell me everything that had happened. In the early years he had earned several promotions. Finally he had weekends and nights off, something most new police wives only dream of, so we thought….My husband worked two special details in the span of five years putting him in situations neither of us ever imagined would happen, I was naive. My hero worked long days and nights, working many undercover drug details that led to both of us respecting the job that much more. He worked on the gang unit sending many bad people to prison for many years. The time spent on these task forces brought us closer to other law enforcement officers families, the understanding to the real reason as to why this job was created and brought us to the great reality that this career could take his life at any minute.
When my hero left the task force and went back on patrol, the late nights took a toll on his body, his mind and our marriage. It did the same for me. He broke his foot on Christmas day and off he went with another surgery leaving more battle scars from the job. It left us wondering, is this job even worth it? We soon learned that juggling the work day and raising a family of seven only works if God is at the center of it all. God’s word always wins. When we began to look to Him for answers and His ways the job and our lives began to change. The true reality to this job is that it is hard, it is demanding, it is honorable and it is just. A lot of tears have gone in to this career but we decide to have faith and let God control the circumstance of our days. Even during the chaos of our world where police officers are anything but respected, we no longer live in fear. We don’t fear his job or what it may do to our family. We just believe in a higher power that He will bring our hero home safe every night. This is our story, one that is continuous of faith.
The Wife of a Retired Police Officer also shares her thoughts
If you are married to or your significant other is in law enforcement, you unknowingly sign up for a different path in life. That path led to a wonderful and exciting life for over thirty-eight years and I still have him in my life, he is my best friend. If people could see our Police Officers when they are not on duty they would see them in a different light. They would see past the badge and the uniform. My best friend could be tough when that was required but he was also a kind person who cared about the community he served and was passionate about his profession. My husband would always tell me as he left the house and headed out for his next shift, that he would “click a little switch” in his brain that would allow him to leave home and family behind and focus on becoming mentally alert and prepare for the shift he was about to work. He definitely focused on the job which was a necessity, especially for safety.
Over time you learn to adjust. Friends would often ask me… “how do you do it?” ” Don’t you worry about his safety?” Of course I did, but you cannot dwell on it or think of it constantly. And although I prayed for his safety every night, I knew in my heart he would come home at the end of his shift…after all, he had promised me!
My husband often said…”it is better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6.” I knew that he would make the right calls and also make the right decisions and do the uniform proud…which he did. I was always proud of the profession he chose and was proud that he was a Police Officer.
On the same token, this is not to say it doesn’t take its toll….On more than one occasion I received a phone call at home ( this was before cell phones) which started out like this.. “your husband is ok, but….” and then the explanation would follow as to why he wasn’t coming home at the end of his shift.
When I met my husband I was twenty years old and had already buried my father. I am one of seven children. We married when I was 21, and although this is a young age, I felt that I was already old due to circumstances.
Before we married I took a Women’s Self-Awareness course that was offered through the Police Department. I decided that if I was going to be married to a Police Officer and be around firearms, I surely needed to be comfortable with them and know how to handle them. The course was an eye opener and among many things that were taught, the firearms portion was the best class that I could have taken. I was taught how to load, unload and fire a weapon. This course was designed to help women better understand the job their husbands were doing.
The job takes its toll on the officer and then it is transferred to the spouse and children. There is often anger, anguish, anxiety, etc. They still come home “wounded”, mentally and physically. The majority of officers sign on for this job for all the right reasons, to make a difference. I had to learn to let him unwind when he came home after a hard day at work. There were times when I would tell our children to play quietly because daddy had had a rough day at work, but the family always came first over the job. The most important part of our marriage was that no matter what I always had his back and still do. Because of that courage, strength and resolve allowed him to continue to do the job.
Unfortunately even in retirement it doesn’t go away. Seeing an event on the evening news can reopen the deep scars in the mind of a former law enforcement officer. Those of us who are the partners, unbeknownst to them…we hurt for them too.