Today, a man I have known for 22 years, a man with whom I attended the academy, a man who was a father, a grandfather, a slightly goofy, cowboy boot wearing, chew spitting, lifted truck driving, well intentioned country bumpkin was murdered while doing his job, because he was doing his job. He was shot in the back by a worthless piece of shit who had just shot two other cops, because they too were doing their jobs.
Bob and I were not close. He and I had different interests, worked different shifts, and had a different way of doing things. We did not always see eye to eye, but we always got along at work. Even if we did not agree on something, we were always polite to one another. I’m going to miss him, more than I ever thought I would.
This is the eighth (8th) coworker from my department I have had to bury during my career. I’ve come very close to burying several others, but by the grace of God, they are still with us, although some of them were forced to leave the job due to the extent of their injuries. Countless others have left the job due to debilitating injuries, both physical and emotional.
This job is a destroyer. It directly takes the lives of an average of 150 people every year, and those are just the people who die on the job. That does not account for those who leave the job because they are broken, either physically or mentally. That also does not include the 300 cops who take their own lives every single year. A very close friend of mine was almost part of that last statistic, but thankfully he is not only still here with us, but he sought help and even though he has left the job, he does what he can to teach others about what can happen to us that leads us down that path.
Beyond the deaths and physical injuries, this job destroys marriages, family lives and social lives. If you let it, it will take everything from you.
What thanks do we get for following this noble calling? There are organizations dedicated specifically to hating us. There are lawyers whose careers are spent suing us. We are called racists, no matter what race we are. We are called pigs, because we dare enforce laws enacted by the very people elected by those calling us pigs. We are called murderers by the families of felons, who given the chance, would have killed us instead. We are portrayed as evil humans by the media and politicians. Every single split-second action of ours is second guessed, under a microscope, for months and years.
We endure this all for a salary that, even in the best of situations, puts one in the middle class, but in most places, leaves one looking for a second job just to make ends meet.
Today, I find myself really pondering why I am still doing this. I know I am not alone.
In a few days, I will put on my dress uniform, join thousands of other officers at a church, and bury yet another coworker.
This society as a whole takes us cops for granted. While a news story about a murdered cop gets headlines, to most who see that headline, the thought of the cop’s loss vaporizes as they turn the page or click the next link. While my coworkers and I will never forget his name, most of the society he protected daily has already forgotten it.
This shit is beyond old.
I’m sick and fucking tired of burying coworkers.
We have the watch from here, bro. Thank you for your service. May you rest in peace.
This was originally posted as a submission by an anonymous source, but I actually wrote this. I had to attribute it to someone else at the time because as an actively employed deputy, I was prohibited from identifying my department due to policy. Now that I am retired I no longer need to hide my identity.
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