To add insult to injury our officers and spouses of officers are being bombarded with frankly frightening headlines, filled with not just your typical anti-law enforcement rhetoric, but true evil intent of violence against LE and bona fide death threats from organized hate groups. It is hard to have faith.
"HOUSTON, Texas – Armed Black Panther members marched in front of the Waller County jail and shouted, “You’re gonna stop doing what you’re doing, or we will start creeping up on you in the darkness.”The statement was made just two weeks prior to the assassination of a Harris County deputy sheriff."
There are statements being released to many departments instructing their officers to be vigilant, on high alert. In the wake of the assassination of Harris County Deputy Darren Goforth, we have citizens coming to the aid of officers in parking lots, watching their six in order to allow officers to simply fuel up knowing someone is keeping an eye out. I am instantly reminded - don't lose faith.
There is also, once again, a very noticeable silence from The White House. Days after Deputy Goforth was assassinated in cold blood we heard nothing. It was on his way to Alaska that our president made a phone call to the wife of Deputy Goforth with his condolences. No public support of law enforcement, no public statement condemning the heinous act of cowardice against a uniformed officer. Nothing for the law enforcement community to encourage them in the least....and no surprise.
It all begins to wear on you. Death after death, threat after threat - your spirit begins to feel burdened. You find yourself between moments of rage, hopelessness and a mind so boggled at the level of hatred which has grown into a full fledged open war on the American police officer. This is a heavy burden for our LEOs to carry each day. It's nothing new, it's just hatred amplified with a broad brush. Many officers across this nation have watched as cities and counties have seemingly hurled their officers under the bus. They have watched as charges have been brought against their own, in some cases justifiably, yet in others it has officers hesitant to do their jobs for fear of retribution. We've seen an officer brutally beaten unconscious who later stated he feared being a target of the media, so he hesitated. Our faith waivers.
We have all seen what mainstream and social media does to our officers and their families. Regardless of fact, regardless of reality, regardless of factual evidence to the contrary, we have seen time and time again our LEOs being labeled as a whole based on the actions of a few. We have heard the chants of death wishes upon "ALL" officers from the very groups who are protesting because they are "ALL" being oppressed and labeled and targeted based on the actions of a few. And yet, even when that common sense is right before the eyes of many, it is disregarded in order to continue the false narrative of hate filled rhetoric against law enforcement as a whole.
So as spouses of law enforcement, in these times, what are we to do? There no denying many law enforcement spouses are on edge, emotionally drained, angry, frustrated and yes, justifiably fearful. I'm hear to say - allow those emotions. Each and every one of them. However, we cannot allow ourselves to wallow in any of it. There's a fine line between being vigilant and aware vs. living with an encompassing fear which leads to an abandonment of our true selves. We truly cannot lose sight of our faith.
Am I saddened, angry and fearful - yes. I am. Have I had moments where I wished my husband could and would walk away? Yes. I have. I have then asked myself how those emotions can help myself, my husband, our family and our law enforcement community. I know my husband is feeling he needs three sets of eyes and ears and must by hyper vigilant at all times, on and off duty. In addition, he is determined to keep his own family safe. Communication is key during these times. We both know we are independently experiencing emotions not necessarily typical of our everyday lives. We are there to listen to each other, support one another and reassure one another that we will not allow the evil of this world to change who we are or have ownership over our lives. You can allow it all to break you, or you can push past and empower yourselves as a united front, representative of all the positives this law enforcement family should be presenting to the public.
Through it all, there is one group out there watching us. The law abiding citizens who have never had much reason to publicly have our backs are seeing the hatred aimed at us. They see us. They are vocally speaking up for us and physically taking a stand to help us and show their respect for us. We have seen time and time again, in Memphis, in Louisiana, and recently in Texas to mention a few places. The American citizen is taking note, and they too are tired of the media driven, government supported, continual bashing of the American law enforcement officer.
So, as we begin yet another day seemingly surrounded by hate and violence, remember the words so many of those who matter have said to the law enforcement community. They are watching, they support those of us who honor this life and the duty it holds. They appreciate those who protect and serve their communities and they will stand up for us. As officers and spouses and family members of officers, now more that ever we must remember the standards we are held to. I wholeheartedly believe this applies to the spouses of law enforcement as well. Our demeanor, our appearance, the way we act and interact with the public, the voice we lend as the face of law enforcement families has a vital impact on how the public perceives us as a whole. Just as those few bad apples have such an impact of the very core of the perception of law enforcement, so do the actions of each and every one of us who identifies as a member of this blue family.
You can blame the media for skewing the views of many, you can blame social media for spreading the lies and false narratives, however, ultimately, we are our strongest hope in presenting a positive image of law enforcement. Being a law enforcement spouse is just one aspect of my life as an individual. I am a special needs mother, a legislative advocate, a woman, a friend a daughter....however, I take my vows to support my husband very seriously. I understand in this world the spotlight is on us and so many are looking for any reason to justify their judgment of us. I have the power within me to present the most positive image of a law enforcement wife to the public as I possibly can. Our officers need to do the same. We all need to consider how powerful our actions can be.
Don't allow the emotions to break you. Reach out, talk about it, have your moments. Then stand up and represent in a way which will make little girls and boys grow up saying - I want to be a police officer when I grow up. If everyone puts forth a positive, we truly can drown out a world of darkness. Have faith in us.