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Officer's wife has message for leaders

Posted at 1:43 PM, Feb 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-26 16:18:52-05

After 14 Colorado law enforcement officers were shot in the last three months in Colorado, an officer's wife is speaking out.

She's written a letter to law enforcement leaders and political leaders asking them to please not forget our law enforcement officers and their families.

"I know that the leaders of our country, states and law enforcement agencies care about my little life and that of my little blue family so here it goes."

Here is the letter she shared with us:

Dear Leaders,

If you haven’t recently, I would beg of you to ask your officers the following question, “How are you?”  They will answer with a fine, good or well (if they are grammatically astute). Now, I urge you to ask the same question again.  Look into their eyes, show you care and ask, “How are YOU, really?”  I’m confident that the second answer will not be the same.  It will likely be similar to the answer their spouses give me when I ask.  They will say, “I’m more afraid, scared and stressed than I have been in my whole life… And I’m not sure who has my back.”  Now, repeat that answer in your mind, dear leader.  Please…  What do you hear?  Here is what I hear…

We are in a horrific time where this line of work is NOT the same as it was a few years ago.  We are in a time where, in Colorado alone, 14 officers were shot in only 3 months.  I just read that in the news last night and I’m infuriated… completely and utterly infuriated.  Fellow blue families and I feel alone in that opinion.  The world doesn’t seem to care.  Our President isn’t speaking against this violence, our Governor isn’t speaking against this violence (outside of at funerals for our own), and our own Law Enforcement Leaders are not speaking out either, at least not all of them.  Why not?  Well, I would presume it isn’t the P.C. thing to do.  That is all I can think of.  After all, I’ve seen the politically correct tweets and photos.  You’ve been busy golfing for charity, rescuing animals, and showing up at large public events.  You are busy.  I get it, I wouldn’t want your job, I’m glad I don’t have your job.  But in some ways I feel like I’m doing your job.  I’m the one there on a constant basis comforting our officers’ families.  I’m the one there encouraging families who don’t know how they can go on to continue the good fight.  I’ve been there to see an injured officer who can’t even walk like you or me… and you sir or ma’am… you… are golfing.

Okay, I get that sounds harsh.  I know many of our leaders have done amazing things for our blue family.  I know a specific high level leader who reached out to me after a critical incident and was my lifeline.  I don’t use the word “lifeline” loosely.  I’m not sure how I would have gotten through the stress, emotional pain and politics of it all without an ear to listen… an ear that cared.  That individual gave me his cell phone number and instructed me to check in with him later in the week.  He cared about me and gave me his business card.  He made me feel important.  An insignificant officer’s wife with nothing to offer but tears… he made me feel important. So, I would beg of you to follow suit and act as this great leader did for me.  Here are some points in how to do so…

  1. Please ask your officers and their families how they are doing?  Then, ask again and really listen.  I believe that you will find that your officers and families are hurting.  They don’t know where to turn and they need you, dear leader.  Nine times out of ten, I bet they need an ear and to feel like they matter.  I fully understand you can’t be that ear for everyone but I know you can foster a caring community where they can find one.
  2. Please listen and take action in any way possible to help them, especially in regards to their mental health.  Train them well and have their back so they don’t fear being hung out by their own agency or government for doing their job.
  3. Please help foster a safe country/community in which our officers and their families are cared for and not attacked. The best way to do that is to encourage point one in every level of your organization, state or country and then act on what you hear back.  Please take a public stand for your officers and let the world know this violence against police will not be tolerated.
  4. Please stop worrying about having a good public persona and be genuine with those that will follow you into battle and lay their life down for the greater good.  Sure, everyone loves that you raise money for charity (sometimes even while golfing) but I guarantee you they care more that you looked them in the eye and spoke your heart, that you showed them they were appreciated as an individual and not a number.  Being a genuine and caring person will do far more for your public persona than any marketing campaign ever will, and this is coming from me; someone with a marketing degree.
  5. Never forget your roots.  To our LE leaders: I recently learned that at a certain rank you no longer have to wear a bullet proof vest.  I found it a little odd as I always believed every officer is always an officer regardless of rank.  I would beg of you to not forget what that vest feels like.  Take a day and put that vest on. Close your eyes and remember where you came from.  Remember the fear, remember the lack of appreciation you receive on the side of the road.  Remember what it feels like to wonder if you will hug your wife/husband or children again.  And, if you are a willing and fearless leader, please wear that vest out to do that very job alongside your finest from time to time.  And for all of our leaders (including our government leaders): I believe that inside every great leader there is a person that didn’t’ forget where they came from.  Please, be that person.  Please put yourself in the shoes of our officers and their families.  Try to feel what they feel and act accordingly to help them.

In closing, I would like to say that I know your job is hard.  I’m grateful you do it because I sure wouldn’t want to.  Thank you for your service and your sacrifices as well. However, as a officer’s wife, I must come to you begging from the depths of my soul… Please don’t forget about your officers and their families.  All lives matter and it is about time we feel that from you.  Please put politics aside and back your blue, focus on the people and not the persona.  We need you.  How can our communities come together to support our blue when our own leaders won’t lead them to do so?

This is one spouse's letter. We share this because she asked us to.

If you wonder what it's like to be the spouse of a law enforcement officer, read the letter posted on the Rifle Police Department's Facebook page this week.

It was written by the spouse of an officer who attended the funeral of the Mesa County deputy who was shot and killed in the line of duty last week.

Here's what she wrote about the experience:

"In the midst of tragedy and the loss of a brother, father and husband, somehow it was a beautiful and heartwarming experience. Even though someone highly respected died with honor, doing what he loved and protecting what he vowed to always protect, the light seemed to be brighter than the dark. The amount of love that the community showed his family and his brothers/sisters in law enforcement was more than enough to keep the people in Law Enforcement determined to continue to do what they do.

Driving through the procession and seeing all of the people showing support by holding flags, saluting or holding their hands over their hearts, and showing signs that read “ Thank You” and “?#GeerStrong?,” I will never in a million years forget the look on my husband’s face and what he said to me. With a lit up face, he turned to me and said, 'This is why I do what I do.' Me, of course the big baby I am, broke out in tears, but in that moment, I no longer became afraid for him to leave the house every night or be called out on a whim. Yes, I will always worry, and yes, I will always have to be somewhat prepared if or when I get that phone call, but I now see why they do what they do. No matter what, there will always be good people to protect. The good does outweigh the bad. So in my lesson I’ve learned this past week, I just wanted to let everyone know that if you’ve had a bad experience or you’ve seen a bad thing, just remember, our Peace Makers are there to help us and they do everything up until that last moment to make sure we’re safe. We should do the same for them!"