When most people are running away from dangerous situations, police officers bravely confront each new challenge leveled at them. They possess the unique ability to stop someone who has harmed or could potentially harm others, making society a safer place to live. Street smarts, physical agility, a tough exterior with a heart of determination and passion, fearless when faced with an obstacle, those are some of the qualities that make up a law enforcement officer. That is the side of law enforcement that all of us love and admire.
Another side to the lives of police officers is their families, their spouses, their children they come home to everyday who welcome them back safely. While officers are out on the streets, keeping long hours protecting us, often their families are also keeping just as long hours on the day-to-day grind called life. Often demands from superiors and shift work can pose a lifestyle imbalance that leads to the loss of quality time with family members. This adds to the existing stressful and sometimes unspoken fears that settle in each day as an officer reports to duty, he or she diving in with the intention to confront a world of problems and individuals with problems, and yet obligated to serve and to protect at practically all costs.
So police officers and their families deserve as much help and support as they can get, moral support and programmatic support from the community, while still maintaining that fine line balance for the privacy of cops and their loved ones. Sometimes the spouse or significant other fills in on many special and important occasions when the police officer cannot be there, expressing little outwardly about how this too can take a toll. And for the need to maintain privacy and save any potential embarrassment, they will never say of how much this can be an issue.
So consider ways you can do something for a fellow police officer’s family that may help reduce these kinds of burdens. You can create a support group in your area or some type of club with regularly planned gatherings that will allow these families to feel safe, unwind and share some of their experiences. Barbara Boxer once said “Law enforcement officers are never ‘off duty.’ They are dedicated public servants who are sworn to protect public safety at any time and place that the peace is threatened. They need all the help that they can get.” And that goes for their families too.