Home > Stories From Small Town > Good Cop Bad Cop

Good Cop Bad Cop

“My vest went over my head. It was the last essential piece of gear needed to begin my shift. I secured the velcro tightly, the pressure on my breasts telling me I was safe, the slight odor of sweat, from weeks of wear, reminding me to wash the outer vest carrier this weekend. I turned to the door, checking my gear one last time and walked out of the room. My clunky right boot hit the rut over the door jam and I stumbled. I would fix that stupid piece of carpet someday but for now, it reminded me I am not infallible. Even cops stumble.”

I just went back and reread this paragraph written weeks ago. I had no idea that it would be profound today.

At Small Town PD, we are facing a situation involving a fellow cop. My every instinct is to defend him. He’s one of ours, he sees the worst in humanity and must somehow live with it. He has a wife and children. He attends church each week. He’s been at my back with a gun and defended my life. He is my friend.

All these thoughts run through my mind. The biggest being, “Even cops stumble.”

I became a cop during midlife, but before I wore a badge, I placed police officers on a pedestal. They were the defenders of peace, and justice for the people. The reality of being a cop is more complicated. We are human and make mistakes.

So often, the media portray situations involving cops unjustly. Yes, some are deserved but others are not. They do not relay the entire story and I’ve learned that lesson the hard way. I cringed when I saw college students being pepper sprayed. I still cringe today over the Rodney King beating, though I’ve now seen the entire video, which was left off the nightly news bites. I have faith that the scales of justice will work and if the officers are wrong, they will pay the penalty. Yes, I am naïve, but I believe, in the end, truth will prevail. Cops are not above going to prison or facing any punishment their crimes dictate.

If I take the excuses out of my friend’s equation, I’m left with this… As a police officer, I am held to a higher standard. My badge is my shield. It reminds me of the difference between right and wrong. I uphold the law and that law applies to me first. When I take my uniform off, I am still a cop. The same rules apply. I am loyal to my friends, family and fellow officers. But, I never put that loyalty above what it truly takes to do this job. Honor.

It’s a hard choice for me but it is the only one. Sadness weighs heavily upon my shoulders, though giving voice to my thoughts, makes it easier to bear.

I do not hate or dislike you. I am disappointed and hurt. My heart breaks for what you have lost and the poor choices you’ve made. You did not wear your badge with honor.

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  1. February 18, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    thank you for for airing a perspective that most people do not normally get to hear-very insightful and thought-provoking.

    • February 18, 2012 at 12:12 pm

      It was hard for me to write but in the end, it needs to be said. Thank you for commenting.

  2. February 18, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    Sometimes the best words come straight from the heart.

    • February 18, 2012 at 1:52 pm

      Thank you Nancy. It took a lode off my shoulders by putting my feelings into words.

  3. February 18, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    I’ve worked with the bad and the good, too, Suzie. Thankfully the latter far outweigh the former…not that it makes it any easier at a time like this. Hugs, sweetie…and thank you for being one of the honorable ones.

    • February 18, 2012 at 2:25 pm

      That’s such a good point and you’re right. I’ve worked with so many great cops:-)

  4. February 18, 2012 at 3:12 pm

    ((hugs)) Sounds like you’ve been having a tough, tough time mentally/emotionally.

    • February 18, 2012 at 4:21 pm

      Thank you Ellie. I’m coming to terms with my career. I truly love it but some days it’s difficult. I always want my blog to be uplifting and happy but I needed to get this out. I do promise something fun next time. Thank you for caring!

      • February 18, 2012 at 5:57 pm

        I like fun!, but do realize life isn’t all a bed of roses. 🙂 You take care.

  5. February 18, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    Honor is such a precious thing, because it is a direct reflection of each of us. We can’t dishonor something without dishonoring ourselves. And that honor, once lost, is not easily reclaimed. So sad for all concerned!!

    Sending Hugs!!!

    I knew something had to be happening, you’ve been too quiet.

    • February 18, 2012 at 4:23 pm

      I have been too quiet but burying myself in writing when I’m not working. I’ll try not to be such a stranger:-) We need a long phone conversation about good things.

  6. February 18, 2012 at 6:39 pm

    I’m sorry you’re having this tough time lately. And no need to worry about not being “up enough” for your readers~ life is full of ups & downs, good & bad, and I think it’s perfectly fine for your blog to reflect what’s really going on in those moments. Take care…

    • February 18, 2012 at 7:17 pm

      You’re wonderful Denise and thank you for the kind words. I hate feeling glum no matter what is going on. I learn lessons of strength from you so I’m off to visit your blog:-)

  7. February 19, 2012 at 10:28 am

    It’s so cliche but so true when people say, “the truth hurts”, This person will probably appreciate your honesty and learn something from it. Fingers crossed, anyway.

    • February 19, 2012 at 12:52 pm

      Oh, I wish you were right but unfortunately, this officer thinks they’ve been horribly wronged and betrayed. Maybe one day he will look back and understand. We can only hope. Crossed fingers can’t hurt:-)

  8. February 19, 2012 at 8:53 pm

    Aww. I’m awfully sorry you’re going through this right now. But would it sound selfish if I told you that at least it gives you more reason for great writing? You have such talent, I could listen to your stories all day… even the sad ones.

    On a different note, like most others I can certainly understand the disappointment we can feel when someone falls, whom we have placed on a pedestal. God bless you for being the good person (and cop!) you are, and keep on keepin’ on!

    • February 20, 2012 at 6:29 am

      Wow, your words made me feel wonderful. Thank you!

  9. February 20, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    Susie, I, too, have come face-to-face with insensitive police officers, but never blamed them all. One can easily find good and bad in anything. I am actually in the process of writing a blog about a police officer that saved us one night, while another cop could have easily followed the book to the letter. Hubby and I will never forget him.

    Thank you for sharing your story, and I realize this must not be easy for you to write about. 🙂

    Big virtual hugs, dear friend, and may God continue to take care of you!
    ~Virginia

    • February 20, 2012 at 6:49 pm

      Huge hugs back. I can’t wait to read your post about the police officer, though I love all your posts:-) Friends make everything better!!

  10. February 20, 2012 at 8:36 pm

    Your honor system will win out, but that doesn’t make the situation any easier. You are such a strong woman, and I’m glad you wrote this to take some of the burden off. Denise just wrote such a nice post about your Bad Luck Cadet book over on BlogHer, btw.

  11. February 21, 2012 at 2:54 pm

    I think it’s good for we ‘civilians’ to hear things like this – and your honesty does you enormous credit.

    • February 21, 2012 at 7:04 pm

      Thanks Gilly (I love your name)!

  12. February 28, 2012 at 4:34 pm

    *Hugs* to you, dear friend. I am sorry for the inner turmoil, but the honesty in your words defines your honor.

  13. March 4, 2012 at 10:15 am

    What turmoil you must be or have been in. Thanks for sharing your story. It’s always enlightening to see things from your perspective.

    • March 4, 2012 at 12:06 pm

      Thank you and I’m doing so much better now.

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