Sunday, March 22, 2009

Appreciating the service

I know this is a dog blog but today I am going off topic. When I sign onto my e-mail I get the aol news. Most of the time I skip it because the news is generally depressing. I prefer to be a positive person as much as possible. Not only that but so much of it doesn't apply directly to my own life. Unfortunately one of today's headline stories does touch my life. Here it is: http://news.aol.com/article/oakland-police-shooting/392279?icid=mainhtmlws-maindl1link3http%3A%2F%2Fnews.aol.com%2Farticle%2Foakland-police-shooting%2F392279 For those that can't read the article it is a story about a traffic stop that resulted in the deaths of 3 police officers and the critical wounding of a 4th.
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How? you might ask since this is in California. Well for those that don't know I am married to a police officer myself. That was one of the reasons I tried my hand at dispatching as a second job. My husband thought it might suit me. I quickly decided that being the link to the officers in the field was a HUGE responsibility. One that I never quite got comfortable with. The California story is a scenario I think about regularly because people just don't realize how dangerous doing traffic stops can be for our officers out there. This story brings it home. Officers have no idea who they will run into when they stop a vehicle. This is why they have the protocols that they do. Unfortunately the protocols don't always stop unstable people or hardcore criminals from hurting and even killing them. Now that I have seen the dispatching side of my husbands job I know specifically more of the things that can go wrong. While I have the utmost faith in my husbands abilities, I also know that life can be very unpredictable. I am grateful for every shift he gets home safely to me and our children from.
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In April of 1996 a state trooper friend of ours, Drew, was killed turning to make a traffic stop because his cruiser was hit by an oncoming truck. This is another example of how a stop can be dangerous. He left 4 children under 10 and a wife behind. His wife is now a Chaplin for the Maine Warden service. She has written a fantastic book about her job and also the connection to Drew. http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Here-if-You-Need-Me/Kate-Braestrup/e/9780316066303 It is a wonderful read. Of course I may be slightly biased.
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Whenever I think about my beginnings in dog training I also think of Drew. After his death we did some memorial walks to raise money for our local shelter because he was a supporter of them. He was also a K-9 handler himself. (his dog Rock survived the accident) Some of that funding became part of my tuition for my own apprenticeship. Knowing Drew I think he would be proud of the link. He was a wonderful human being and the world lost a really great man that day.
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I know not everyone likes police officers, and not all of them are good people. Some also make mistakes. They are only human after all. I only ask that when you see them remember that they have very dangerous and highly stressful jobs. And ask yourself, where would we be without them in our society? I think the answer to that is pretty scary. For me this story is a reminder that not every ones husband, or father, comes home from work each night. While that is true for everyone in a way because nothing in life is guaranteed, for some it is a daily risk that comes with their job. One that is unfortunately typically under appreciated and underpaid.
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My heart goes out to the families of these latest victims who were just trying to do their jobs keeping the rest of society safe. They paid the ultimate price and I hope it is appreciated. I know it is by my family.

1 comment:

lin said...

Both my husband and I read, "Here if you need me," and thought it was great, and very well-written. And with a lot more humor than you'd expect.