Today I am grateful for police officers. I know that cops have been bashed all over the news and social media these days because of a few horrible incidents, but in my experience. . .and this is MINE alone. . .I have found that police officers do their jobs with integrity, professionalism and honesty. I would love to say the same about other people I cross paths with but I can’t. Not today. Today I’m quoting Norm from the TV show Cheers when he said, “It’s a dog eat dog world out there and I’m wearing Milkbone underwear!” Maybe tomorrow.
We would still be wandering around the bowels of Philadelphia, literally, if we hadn’t had the help of some of the nicest people. . .all police officers. And boy was there a presence! Each time we asked for directions they assured us that they could help. “We don’t know which path to take to the subway that will take us to regional rail to get us back to Lansdale. Could you please help us?” We did not have a clue, either coming or going. Then we’d head out in the labyrinth following the directions provided. . .and get turned around again and have to ask another officer the same question. I had a fleeting thought that maybe we were being punked and there was a camera following us, but I haven’t seen anything on U-Tube, yet so probably not. I’m surprised we didn’t wind up in Jakarta!
On the streets, when we emerged from the subway in search of our son’s house, it was another police officer who pointed us in the right direction. During the parade, in the freezing cold, with the raw wind careening off the buildings like Chicago-in-February, an officer marched up and down the street chatting and joking with the crowd. All day! Same guy. Never, once was he impatient, or rude, or unaware. Some idiot down the block lit firecrackers and every cops head jerked to attention like beagles when the rabbit jumps out of the brush. Alert! They were friendly, kind, polite, yet very much on the job!
Male or female, heavy or thin, tall or short, young or old, black, white, Hispanic, Asian or anything else, after helping us, or answering our questions, each and every police officer said, “You have a good time and a very safe New Year!” Without fail! And they meant it. So I wished it right back at them and thanked them for their service. But it seemed inadequate. I have so much more to say.
I want to tell them how much I appreciate their going into harm’s way for me every day, knowing that a simple traffic stop can turn disastrous in a heartbeat. Maybe a last heartbeat. Maybe their last heartbeat!
I didn’t have the opportunity to mention that I think of them every time there is a heinous murder like the brutal slaughter of five innocent people, all family members from three different locations, which we just experienced in my area, knowing that they, as first responders, see crimes that no human should ever have to witness. What do they see when they shut their eyes at night? I can’t imagine.
I didn’t get a chance to tell them that I respect their choice to be in law enforcement, but wonder how their families can possibly watch them leave for work every day, knowing how crazy it is for them out there. Especially now. There are no guarantees for any of us, but the ante is ratcheted up considerably if you’re a police officer in 2015.
I am all too aware that there are bad seeds in all walks of life. . .even among teachers, parents, children, politicians, businesses and the clergy, so it would stand to reason that there would be some in law enforcement, too. But in my experience, the police officers I have met rise like cream to the surface under less than optimum, crisis situations. And I am very grateful they have my back.