Sunday, April 05, 2009

Thank a Cop

It's not often I feel the need to let my feelings be known concerning current affairs, and when I do, I try to do it with humor. But there is nothing funny about police officers being gunned down while doing their job.

In recent weeks, 7 police officers have lost their lives in the line of duty. The first four were Oakland police officers that lost their lives in an attempt to apprehend a man that was out on parole who was hell bent on not going back to jail. This all started with a "simple" traffic stop.

Just two days ago, three police officers lost their lives in Pittsburgh during a "simple" domestic dispute call. The first two officers were shot in the head at the front door of the house. The third lost his life trying to help his brothers in blue. He had just finished his shift and was on his way home when he heard the call for help.

Being the spouse of a police officer for the past 15 years has given me a different perspective on these shootings than the general public. My first thoughts are for the spouses and children these fallen heroes may have had. When I was pregnant 9 years ago (unexpectedly, and with twins), I had a bit of a panic attack.

As I was driving home from a doctor's appointment, I suddenly became worried that the Husband might die in the line of duty with me, a stay at home mother of two young children, with twins on the way, left alone. I quickly realized that this kind of thinking would take me no where except down the road to a nervous wreck. So I have learned not to dwell on what could happen, and just try not to pick a fight with him right before he leaves for work.

In recent years there has been a resurgence of gratitude towards America's service men and women. You've seen the yellow ribbons on cars, and I'm sure a few of you have knitted socks and balaclavas to be sent to the troops protecting us from overseas threats. Please, let's not forget about the men and women keeping us safe here at home.

If you want to show your appreciation there are little things you can do. The next time you get pulled over for speeding, don't curse the police officer under your breath. He's not stopping you because he has a quota. He's stopping you because your speed could pose a potential danger for other drivers.

The next time you see the local constable, wave and say hello. Don't be surprised if he gives you a suspicious look, because no one ever does that. Better yet, you could introduce yourself, shake his hand and say "thank you for your service". Or better still, if you're feeling generous, stop by the department with gift certificates to the local eatery, they'd even be happy with McDonald's.

If you do this, you might get to know your local police officers better, and you'll learn that they are just hardworking people trying to make a living like the rest of us.

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