When I hear about police officers being shot and when I see and read all the people who are spewing ugly rhetoric about law enforcement, I take it very personally.
And before I begin singing the praises of some of these officers, many who I call very dear friends, I want to share that I haven't always had great experiences with law enforcement. So I'm not blind to the fact that, as in every other walk of life, there are some bad apples out there, even in law enforcement.
In fact, I've met a "bad cop" or two in my life. As a survivor of child abuse who witnessed, and was the recipient of, domestic violence in my home regularly, on many occasions police officers came to my childhood home. Never once did they help us, or protect us, or come back to offer any reprocussions to our abuser. And while it was a different time back then, and attitudes about domestic violence and child abuse were sadly not what they are today, the lack of empathy and the fact that the police who came to my home, joined a long list of adults who let me down with their lack of action, it didn't prevent me from getting to know and care about a great number of officers today.
In the 3 and 1/2 years since I started my non profit I have had the amazing blessing of working alongside many incredible men and women who sacrifice daily to protect the women and children who are at their most vulnerable.
I've known officers who have been the first to respond to some truly horrific scenes, and some who have rescued babies from dangerous and soul wrenching experiences. I've known officers who have pulled babies who have died at the hands of their abusers. And those images never leave them.
The law enforcement I know sacrifice time spent with their families to instead aid a victim in her journey to be a survivor. They lose sleep because of the horrifying things they witness and hear about daily. Instead of heading out to enjoy a gathering with family or friends, they are often instead pulled to a crime scene. They miss their children's baseball games, and sometimes their children's birthdays, to instead be the only source of hope for a child who has parents who hurt them, rather than protect.
So again, while I get that there are some "bad cops" out there, the majority of the officers who serve are selfless and giving, compassionate while being brave and enduring some of the most atrocious moments on a daily basis.
My concern is if so many in society continue to not just speak poorly of law enforcement, but actually take their lives, we are going to lose these amazing men and women who serve us daily. Who sacrifice for us daily. Who take on more in their hearts and minds than any one person should ever have to.
I'm frightened that we are going backwards, and that there is going to be another little girl like me, in her scary home, praying the police officer who comes will see her pain, and help her, and because we'll have a shortage and because we'll have officers who are frustrated, they won't "see" her, they won't help her and we will literally be regressing as a society.
Please take a moment to thank an officer today. And know that there are countless amazing men and women sacrificing for you today, in so many ways and I for one feel blessed to know them. And I'm so glad I didn't let my negative experiences in my past, keep me from getting to know these incredible heroes.