The Sheepdogs

I don’t usually like to share links to songs or videos on here because most of the time, what I find to be interesting, you might not. However, I am going to share a video this morning. Yesterday while we were at training, my partner and I got a text from one of our trainers with a youtube link. “This one’s a tearjerker” the guy told us.

I pocketed the phone, and remembered the link this morning. I watched it with my two year old son sitting on my lap, and when it was over, I did in fact have tears in my eyes. The nation is being torn apart right now. Law Enforcement as an entity is being vilified for the actions of a few individuals….some of whom might have even made the RIGHT decisions under the circumstances, some….perhaps not. None of us really know. These circumstances made this incredibly well-made video hit home this morning. Hard.

There’s some coarse language and pretty brutal clips here, so be warned, for once AD isn’t linking to a Disney Jr. cartoon.

I don’t pretend for a second that my job in a small mountain town is exactly on par with the guys you see in this video. Hell, I trained with people this week who had more “war stories” from their first month on the job than I gathered from my first year. Still, I am a member of a community that has the cross hairs on it of late- sometimes not figuratively either.

If you wonder why the last cop that pulled you over seemed like an asshole, re-watch the video from clip #1…and see that officer get killed on the side of the road in an instant, on what seems like a ‘routine’ traffic stop- much like the one that involved you the other day. If those clips, and the hundreds of others like it on the web don’t give you a small taste of what the people who pull you over deal with on every. single. traffic stop have to worry about….then there’s a disconnect there.

Pause.

I’m not defending the actions of the handful of bad apples that happen to wind up in the ranks of good people. I’m trying to defend an entire community. The ‘bad guys’ don’t run around in ski masks and black and white striped shirts anymore, and the police can’t afford to be Barney Fife because of that.

Resume.

For me, the clips with the funerals were the worst. Flag-draped caskets, white-gloved lines of hundreds of a deceased man’s brothers and sisters paying final respects to someone who didn’t make it from the last fight, or was ambushed and never had a chance. A grieving widow being handed a flag.

…all of this being watched with Mini-Me sitting on my lap watching Chuggington.

Yeah, I got weepy.

Look, we all have our opinions. Mine is going to be skewed slightly different than some poor guy who might have been profiled in his lifetime for one reason or another. Our experiences differ, every one of us. But the police aren’t the jack-booted thugs that they’re being painted to be by people who realize you can get more mileage out of a news report if you have hundreds of thousands of possible offenders wearing badges than two or three possible criminals on the street. They just aren’t. To borrow an idea from the quote at the end of the video above, what the police ARE doing, with constant presence, guns, uniforms, and sometimes stiff demeanor…is reminding everyone else that there are people out there who would do them harm on purpose. Nobody likes to be told that.

I love my job. I love the community I do it in, the people I work for, and especially the people I work WITH. The full time worker at our agency is like a sister to me. We went through six months of absolute hell in the academy at the hands of people who live what you see in that video above. We’ve spent the last year and a half working the road, learning, growing, and trying to become the best that we can at our job. The ‘old timers’ have taken us in, accepted us, and will not hesitate to help us with anything we need, and we’re doing exactly the same to the two new offices that have just been hired. Training this past week was mind-boggling, because we’re being trained by, and working alongside people with DECADES of experience in one form or another, and we’re being treated as equals.

I belong to two families. One protects the other. One works like hell to make sure I get home to the other. One is the reason I go back out to the other when my shifts come up.

Watch the video. See what your patrolmen have to live with, work with, deal with…then amplify that by several hundred. One guy I spoke to this week was involved with a subject barricaded in a room with a kitchen knife held over a six month old child. Another was a guy who spent FORTY FIVE minutes with two other officers physically fighting with a man who was messed up on some drug that blocked his pain receptors and did everything he could to take their guns.

I don’t want any recognition myself. What I do is NOT in line with these guys, and I would be a pretentious ass to pretend that it was. COULD it be? Yeah, and I need to train and prepare for that possibility. But by and large, it isn’t. What I DO want, is for people to realize what those guys and girls in the big cities and on busy highways are going through right now. As you read this. A constant hellstorm of never knowing who has the gun on a traffic stop, babies being held hostage, homicides, rapes, domestic assaults, accidental deaths, and more….all under the arched eyebrow of a watchful nation and bloodthirsty media BEGGING for someone to make even the slightest mistake in a split-second, life or death situation.

No pressure right?

If we understand that, then maybe we can understand just how idiotic we might sound comparing the police to the Nazi SS because you got pulled over for matching the description of someone who just stuck a knife in someone else, or because you happened to be doing 27 miles an hour over the speed limit.

That’ll do for now, I’ll be back with more of the usual later on. Right now though….Coffee.

~AD

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