THE CHALLENGE IS THIS: TELL WHO YOUR OFFICER (OR THE ONE YOU KNOW AND LOVE) REALLY IS ASIDE FROM THE BADGE. I accept the challenge started by LEOW Davina Agee, and I challenge each and every officer spouse, partner, loved one, friend and family member to do the same. Use the hashtag #leowchallenge and continue the challenge by tagging friends, family and supporters of LE to take the challenge.
The Officer in my life is my husband, and this is who he really is....
(and being an advocate for law enforcement, I'm including who my officer is, including the badge).
Officer Bervis Littles of the Edmond, OK Police Department is a 17+ year veteran patrol officer. He is also a suicide prevention officer, and QPR (suicide prevention) instructor. He is a member of the Crisis Intervention Team. He is an FTO and LEDT instructor, a hostage negotiator, lake patrol officer, SRO and member of the honor guard team. He grew up in poverty on the south side of Oklahoma City never knowing or meeting his father. His mother worked numerous jobs to make ends meet and he spent a lot of his time being cared for by other family members while his single mother was doing her best to care for her children. He saw drugs and crime and violence on his local streets.... He worked in order to help his mother and make a way for himself to attend college. He pursued his lifelong dream of becoming a police officer and has been an officer for over 17 years. He is a father, a brother, a son, a husband, and a best friend to many. He has three grown step-children, two girls in college and a son with autism, dysphagia and seizure disorders. He has a work ethic like nothing I've ever seen. He's missed virtually every holiday, birthday and anniversary I can remember because he will do what it takes to provide for his family and he refuses to leave a shift shorthanded.
He has the biggest heart of anyone I've ever seen. There are countless times our checking account has been overdrawn while waiting for payday and he has used the last bit of security money in his pocket to put gas in the car of a stranded single mother. He has had to remove countless children from domestic situations and sickening home environments and he quickly pulls a stuffed animal from his trunk, asks the child what music he/she likes, then drives them to get a meal before having to hand them over to the state. It is those same nights you will find him lingering in the hallway of our home at 3am while he gazes into the bedroom of our son, while holding back tears for the babies he just left in a state of uncertainty. He is the officer who is approached over a decade later by a man who approaches him seemingly out of nowhere to say "You are Officer Littles, you held my sister's hand while she was dying on the roadway. She was pregnant and scared and dying and alone...... and you never left her side". He is the same officer who will choke back his emotions immediately after an encounter like that, squeeze my hand and simply say "I need to get out of here...now". You see, he's not allowed to be human in the public eye. He's just a badge. He's worthless. He's aggressive. He's violent. He's a bully. He's got a chip on his shoulder. He's looking for a reason to kill someone. Nothing is farther from the truth.
He's the big strong man whose cried in my arms after losing a child. He's the arrogant cop I've had to wake in the midst of nightmares more nights than I can remember..... and upon waking he says "I couldn't get to them quick enough". He's the officer who works over 80 hours per week, comes home exhausted and lays in the floor to play with his son. He's the big tough guy who had certain dreams and goals and hopes for his only son, only to have to accept his son is autistic... and he immediately embraced it and took on the attitude of "what do we do to help our son be all he can be?" He is the man who encouraged me to quit my job in the legal field, knowing it was more than his income, knowing how devastating it would financially be, but who put more value on me being with our son for evaluations and therapies and surgeries and homeschooling, even though it meant even more sacrifice for himself in order to pay the bills. He is the man who took his mother in to live with us and support financially so she could enjoy some sort of retirement. He is the father who still helps his daughters who are in college by paying their cell phone and insurance bills. He is the officer who will get a call from a friend while he is off duty...keys locked in a car, locked out of your house, problems with your teenager?? Call my husband....he's your man.
He's the school resource officer who will get discredited after seventeen years on the street for becoming a "babysitter", even though he has more arrests and drug busts and thefts in the schools than he ever did on the streets. He will take the time to mentor every child in those schools who were just like him growing up.....no father, no money and a feeling of hopelessness and he will encourage them and guide them and make them promise him they won't give up on themselves.
He's the officer who takes the time to talk with those he is obligated to arrest. He will ask them how they ended up in his back seat, he will not be so quick to judge them for their actions but will encourage them to ask themselves what they can do to change their own lives.
He's the love of my life. He's the man who came into my life after I was married to a bad cop. He's the one who showed me that his character defined him, not his badge. He is the man who showed me love I never thought possible. He's the man who loved me back to life. He's the father of my son, he's my best friend, he's my world. He's the one I beg and plead and pray will be returned to me at the end of his shift. He's the one I want to grow old with.....not grow old remembering.
This is who my officer truly is. Please..... please take note before hating him without knowing him.
To all the LEOWs and to those who love an officer..........please...... tell me about yours.
Melissa Littles, Founder,
The Police Wife Life.