Friday, January 9, 2009

Akron Police officer's wife shows different side to department debate

Having seen yet another demonstration about the Akron Police Department a few days ago, I thought it might be best to get some perspective.

I asked a patrol officer's wife if she would write a guest blog for me .. and talk about what it's like from her point of view. Unless you live the life in a "blue" family, I think this may open some eyes as to what it's really like on the other side of the badge .. and to the toll that answering the call to serve can take.

Behind the shield

I was asked my Eric Mansfield if I would be interested in blogging about my experience being a wife of a police officer. So, here goes.

The image of the Akron Police Department has been on a steady decline for several years. It is disappointing to say the least. Our hard-working men and women in blue deserve more. I am certain not all officers are first-class, but the vast majority have one thing in mind when they report to roll call on the 4th floor of the Stubbs Building. That one thing is to serve and protect the citizens of the Akron and each other.

Is it the chief, the administration, the mayor, the council president, the city council, the local newspaper, or even the police union? I cannot say, but I believe all can take on some blame for the black eye that these hard working officers have had to endure. Let them do their jobs!

As police wives, we experience emotions that other wives do not. Yes, if you allow yourself to “go there” you can envision the constant threat of injury or death, but mostly this list can consist of missed holidays, cancelled days off, and varying work schedules.

But overall, for me, I would have to say that the most difficult part of being married to a police officer is that they are constantly brought down and seldom uplifted.

No one calls the police when something good has happened to them, and no, I’m not implying that they should. However, it starts a cycle of constant negativity and cynicism that changes the lives of these officers, both on and off duty. This cynicism creates a real difficulty in seeing the positive aspects in people.

Being married to a police officer is not all of the doom and gloom that many say (increased rate of divorce, extramarital affairs and your occasional frisking of a prostitute.) I have learned to respect his solitude, keep busy when he is not available, and celebrate holidays on alternate days.

I stand proud as a wife of a man who goes to work for this city of Akron every day.


cayswann said...

My heart did a double-take when I saw the Akron PD badge at the top of the page, and read your guest blog. As the *daughter* of an Akron Police Department officer, growing up on North Hill, my heart is still tied to the men and women who serve and protect. There are pictures of me and my sister, parading around the house "in daddy's boots" as toddlers. A chair in the living room usually had a flak vest slung over it when he came home. And as a teenager, I knew if I saw an officer, he'd know my Dad by name.

I've never known the struggles the officers and their wives went through, as adults taking care of their children and taking care of the city at the same time. But anywhere I go, when I see the men and women who have taken that challenge to be police officers (or military), I have huge respect, love, and affection for them. For they are my family.

Proud Daughter

Anonymous said...

I'm not a police officer's wife, but I am a sister. I can only see secondhand what it means for the wives, but for all the family, the emotions, fears, pride, missed holidays are all there for us too. Until you've been there, you don't really understand what it's like. Police officers deserve more respect for what they do and what they give up to do it.

Christy said...

Well said. I'm also married to a police officer. It is difficult to withstand the constant barrage of negativity that officers receive from both the general public and the press. But my husband loves his job and loves helping people. I wish all officers were given the respect that they deserve. And you are so right - living with constantly changing work schedules is so difficult on the entire family, but you somehow figure out a way to roll with it and make the best of it.

Pastor Steve said...

Family members of police officers may not always fully understand or appreciate the daily shift-work of police officers. Perhaps there is a need for police spouses and parents alike to gain a deeper insight into the daily events their loved ones encounter. Stories of the Street: Images of the Human Condition addresses these issues through a series of 21 ‘everyday’ stories that occur during routine patrol shifts. The integrity, courage, and compassion of their loved ones responding to daily dispatches will be informing and moving to immediate and extended family members. By the way, the question “Where is God?” in each of these stories is left to the reader to decide.
Volunteer Police Chaplain Steve Best,Emeritus