I sat in my car, looking over the reflective white hood. The red and blue lights were dancing as though set to music. Only one thought crossed my mind as I sat there, ending the call, “How does this craziness end?” However, moments later, as I began to drive away, I realized what we all know. I realized that for law enforcement and other first responders, it ends with protecting and serving the public until the very end.
Most of us did not get into law enforcement solely to drive fast and have flashy lights. Often when I sit down with new officers and ask why they want to be a cop or why they became a cop, the answer is almost always some derivative of trying to help others. Often people who are drawn to public service have some underlying universal qualities. Chief among them is a drive to help others who require assistance.
Often people who are drawn to public service have some underlying universal qualities. Chief among them is a drive to help others who require assistance.
As many of us know, time on the job can change this desire to help. Years of feeling like we are ineffective, feeling like justice does not genuinely exist in the legal system, and questioning if the administration even cares about our role, can lead to becoming jaded and disgruntled. We all know “that one guy” who has been at the agency since the dawn of time and never seems happy with any decision that is made regardless of the situation.
However, one thing that I have found is that when crisis strikes, even the most jaded of cops often remember why they joined in the first place. They recall the feeling they felt when they responded to that first call, where they were able to help save a life, rescue someone vulnerable, or change someone’s day for the positive even if it was just for a moment. As cops, crisis tends to get us to go back to our core values, to remember our training, and to strive for survival. This is not only our survival but survival for the community that we serve.
In the last month, COVID-19, a term none of us would have known, was a thing that has produced a response with life-altering effects across the United States. As this virus spreads and the fear spreads even faster, crazy has once again shown its head. Fear and crazy are often found together like twins that never want to spend a moment apart. As the anxiety and panic spread amongst the civilian population, law enforcement, first responders, medical staff, National Guard, and others in similar roles are left to stand up and be ready to act.
Here is the great thing, they do and they will every time! This is what they train for, and this is why they do the job day in, and day out, they want to be ready to protect in whatever way they can. Stores may be running out of food and basic items, people may be going crazy, and citizens may not know what to do. However, I can tell you this, somewhere a cop is putting on a uniform. Somewhere he or she is planning for what to do with their family if their agency goes to Alpha / Bravo shifts. Somewhere a cop is holding his son or daughter’s hand and assuring them that when they leave for work, it is for a mission greater than either of them may understand.
They stand ready to protect and serve their community. Why? Because that is what we do.
Cops have no idea how to combat the Coronavirus other than the same guidance doctors, and medical staff are giving everyone. What they do know is that when things get crazy and the world seems a little lost as what to do a few facts remain. That regardless of how jaded that officer has become. Irrespective of how big the personal struggle maybe for them. Even regardless of their potential personal cost, they will be ready to do what they have always done. They stand ready to protect and serve their community. Why? Because that is what we do.
THIS BLOG WAS FIRST POSTED MARCH 18, 2020 AT ON THE BLUE LINE.COM