My daughter joined the *** Police Department in 2003. She had recently graduated with a degree in Criminal Justice. I had asked her several times what she planned to do with the degree (she was initially in the nursing program) and she replied, “Oh, there are lots of places you can work with this degree.” I was not given anything more specific than that although I knew she had it already planned out. A few days after graduation she told me that she was moving to ** and that she had found a job as a policeman. I asked her why she had wasted time in college because that job did not require a degree. She knew that I was opposed to this career, but I had always told my children that they would choose their own career path. Since I had vetoed her first option to go to the military because I did not want her in such a dangerous job, I would have to deal with her choice. I didn’t like it at all.
Well, it’s been twenty years and some of them have been very stressful. Once she was in her patrol car and met a man with a smoking gun who had just shot several people. He stared at her but kept moving. Another time she went into a store to investigate a robbery, her partner joined her later. As they were walking out, the mob thought her partner had arrested her and started to get violent. She had to speak up and let them know that she was a policeman too. Along with the many field experiences that were potentially very dangerous were the bad cops and low morale she faced inside the department.
Since the Breanna Taylor, George Floyd, Tyre Nichols and many other murders and aggressive acts by policemen, I have had many “straddle the fence” moments. I thought defunding the police departments would make them start over and possibly get better staff, but I knew deep down that that would create lawlessness everywhere. I switched my thinking and felt that if the officers were better trained and held accountable for their acts it would be safer for everyone. In addition, there must be laws which regulate guns and the people who are allowed to purchase them. I knew that it was dangerous for my child and other law enforcers, too. I understood that there are unfit workers in any job, but public servants must be held to a higher standard. I was angry because I had already heard stories of how some policemen felt they were above the law and were bent on hurting citizens because they were more powerful with their badges and guns. I had also heard stories about policemen who were helping their communities by respectfully enforcing the law.
No, I was never at ease. Only once did I think she should quit though, and it involved internal department problems. I knew that she believed God would be with her and so did I. I am grateful that she didn’t have to convince another policeman to take his knee off someone’s neck because I know she would have tried and suffered repercussions because of it. I am glad she chose to do what makes her happy (most of the time) and I know she has made a difference. I consider my child one of the good guys.