Friday, July 22, 2016

I'm Married to a Cop

I'm Married to a Cop

He wasn't a cop when I met him, but I knew that was what he wanted to do. He had my full support in applying. He had my support when he went through the grueling police academy. I was there for him in spirit when he was fighting with the “Red Man” suit, running up the fireman's tower, being shot with a taser, and getting sprayed with pepper spray.

I supported him through his first few years, when he was involved in a shooting where the suspect opened fire on police. I got the call late that night. He had not shot or been shot. He was okay. That incident gave me a peak at the future. Will I always be worried about him when he vests up and walks out the door? What will our children feel when they are old enough to know the danger he is in? I made a decision then, that I would continue to support him in the work he loved. I would push aside the fear and be happy that he was able to make a difference in the community. I would let my kids see the pride I had in the choice their father had made in a career.

I supported him through the first decade of his career. He hadn't had a raise in five years and the city was finding more ways to cut the officers pay. They went on furlows. They took away raises and clothing allowances. It was hard during those furlow years, but we managed. He looked into moving out of the city, to a city that paid their officers well. In the end, he decided that he would stick it out, things would get better, it's only money, and he loved this city.

I supported him through the following years. He went into a special department, now he was working with the mentally ill. This brought a whole new group of concerns and threats. This time he had people trying to find out where he lived, suing him and his colleagues, receiving death threats, and stalking him. I was fearful for myself and my kids. I was fearful for my husband. As a family we try to always remember to watch out for cars that follow us too long, lock the doors every time you come in even if you are only coming in for a few minutes, we don't allow the kids to stray too far. The conversations we have had to have with our children have been hard. Explaining why we have to be so careful and why they shouldn't worry about daddy every time he leaves, were very difficult.

I support him now. All across America I am reading about police brutality and police shootings. I tell my children, there are bad apples in every bunch. There are teachers that abuse their position, clergy that abuse others, and politicians that are corrupt. I have never seen groups of people harassing teachers as they enter the schools, I haven't ever read about a politician being refused service at a restaurant, nor have I seen reports of snipers picking off groups of clergy as they enter their churches. It seems that the name calling, refusal of service, and sniper rifles are reserved for police.

My husband, a cop, is also a father. He is a great father. He also spends enormous amounts of his personal time and money to visit kids in hospitals. He is generous. He loves being able to help people find the resources they need to live a better life. He has a job he loves. If you have a job, you know that not every person in your position does the job the same, but that everyone has to follow company policy. If only, this group of people with hatred in their hearts, would see cops for the person they are. If you don't like the laws in place, work to change them. Leave my husband and his colleagues alone to do their job. You don't want to be a cop, I don't want to be one either, but there is a need for them. I am so proud to have a husband that is willing to do a thankless job that few want to do, so that I can feel safe to visit a park, or take a walk, or shop. Thank you to all of the cops out there, that like my husband, love your community despite not getting that love returned.
Michele Dial
Tucson, Arizona