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Tag: Police Officer

Law Enforcement 0

Colorado Avalanche Not Afraid To Honor The 148 Fallen Police Officers of 2018

The Colorado Avalanche recently honored the 148 heroic police officers who paid the ultimate sacrifice protecting and serving their communities in 2018.

During the pre-game activities, they displayed the thin blue line flag across the entire ice surface and honored those who gave their life protecting their communities with a moment of silence. See a video from The Brotherhood for the Fallen Aurora below.

 

Initially, I was thrilled to see this video. I think anyone who supports law enforcement would be. Then I remembered the new “movement” that suggests the thin blue line flag is controversial and racist. I worried that this show of support would be spun into something it wasn’t meant to be, racist.

Due to this, I searched the internet and social media for any signs of outrage or controversy, thankfully, to my knowledge, there isn’t any.

For those of you who follow me on social media, I recently addressed the controversy surrounding the “thin blue line” flag and other anti-police issues, on The Officer Next Door Facebook page. Needless to say, it attracted plenty of haters, but I feel the message was important.

Unfortunately, the thin blue line flag has been deemed by some, as a “symbol or racism” due to the fact, it was displayed at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, back in 2017. Needless to say, the thin blue line flag being present at an ignorant event like that, repulses me. I’m sure I can speak for all of law enforcement when I say that.

However, I also hope our society wouldn’t allow the actions of a few misguided hillbillies, the ability to represent a profession that includes nearly 1 million people across the country. It seems a little short-sighted to me, but I digress.

People who don’t represent law enforcement, shouldn’t represent the beliefs of law enforcement. I can stand in a public place waving a flag that says, “Firefighters hate puppies.” It doesn’t mean it’s true, or represents the views of firefighters across America.

I also recognize the argument by some, that altering the flag in any way is “divisive” or “offensive”. I guess we will just have to agree to disagree on that one. I know plenty of police officers that also served in our military.  They don’t seem to have an issue with the thin blue line flag.  I believe they see it for what it is, a flag that represents law enforcement being the “thin blue line” that stands between the evil in our country and the rest of America. That’s it. Nothing more.

Clearly, the Colorado Avalanche were not deterred by the possibility of angering the anti-police crowd who believe the flag is something it is not. Kudos to them for honoring the fallen. There’s no harm in that. For once, maybe people saw the gesture solely for what it was, a show of support for those who died protecting our country. Nothing more, nothing less.

The NHL has long been an example of class, when it comes to honoring law enforcement. Back in 2016, the Dallas Stars were allowed to wear decals on their helmets as show of support, following the tragic deaths of five police officers who were directing traffic at a protest march on July 7, 2016.

https://twitter.com/DallasStars/status/786548871732142081/photo/1

I chose the words, “allowed to wear” on purpose, due to the fact the NFL did not allow the Dallas Cowboys to do the same. Say what you want about sports leagues, they certainly have the right to support who they want, but it seems pretty evident the NHL gets it right. Every. Single. Time.

What a breath of fresh (cold) air.

Thank an officer today.

The Officer Next Door

 

 

 

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Personal Perspective 0

Tired Of Sadness and Tragedy? Try this article on for size.

pointing

People complain about the negativity in the news and on social media all the time. Yet, little do they know, it’s their fault. I bet if I titled this article something mundane like, “Tragedy Sells” or “Tragedy Rules the Media” it’d get passed over even more than with the current title. In fact, I’ve written a similar article before, it garnered very little readership, so we will see how this one goes.

I recently saw an officer comment on social media something like, “We were on our way to serve a warrant looking for a murder suspect, we had our heavy gear on, helmets, and as we were headed toward the target location, multiple voices could be heard saying things like, ‘Be careful!’ and ‘Protect yourself!’” The officer went on to say how much that meant in that moment. It’s the little things.

All too often police only hear criticism for “wearing militarized equipment” or “looking too aggressive,” as if to suggest police officers should go into situations being outgunned and under protected. That kind of rhetoric is sheer nonsense. But that’s a whole other axe to grind.

Back to the topic at hand, people’s love affair with tragedy.

Why do we as a society eat up tragedy with such vigor? A tragic event hits the news and we hit that share button on social media, spreading the word like wildfire. However, ‘mum is the word’ when a positive news story comes out, unless it involves a cute puppy or something funny and worthy of going ‘viral’. It’s sort of a shame.

Two officers have been shot in the last 12 hours, one has died. I haven’t rushed to share either of those stories, despite the fact I know they would garner a large number of “likes” and “shares” which is your ultimate goal running a website.

Why?

I don’t want to constantly be the bearer of bad or tragic news. If I were “greedy” for “likes”, “shares” and “comments,” then I could easily “fall in line” and share the sadness like all the rest. I could bask in the glory of my “website traffic” and “social media reach”. But I hesitate. And maybe it will be the death of The Officer Next Door, who knows? I guess we will see.

I will likely share some “tragedy” from time to time, it comes with the territory, so don’t burn me at the stake the next time it happens. I’m just hoping to have a different priority. A different focus if you will. Maybe I will resort to “falling in line” to surive? I hope not. I guess we will see.

Why do I hesitate to share constant negativity despite the “popularity” that comes with it?

I recently saw another police officer post on social media expressing his desire for a more, “positive police social media group or website”. His point is valid. He spends all day dealing with other people’s problems. He sees tragedy in all forms while at work, the last thing he wants to see when he gets home is more “bad news” on social media. It’s like the bullying crisis we have in our schools today. With social media, it is now possible to be bullied around the clock, not just while at school. Same goes for police officers and their constant bombardment of negativity.

If that officer only knew how badly I want The Officer Next Door to be that “positive and supportive police page”.  Unfortunately, there’s a few problems with that goal.

First, it isn’t easy to come up with stories that are positive. Not because they aren’t happening, they’re just severely under reported. They certainly aren’t self-reported by police officers, I’ve said it many times, they’re too humble to do that.

Second, people don’t tune in to positive. So if you’re a news station, a lowly blogger just trying to spread a message, or someone trying to generate some revenue to do things like donate to police charities, posting and writing stories of positivity sounds great, but nobody will listen. You’ll go broke and basically be talking to yourself.

Half the time, it seems people only read the headline or look at the photo associated with the articles anyway. If they aren’t controversial or sad, they get passed over. I’m still debating what to call this article. I know one thing is for certain, the more controversial or sad I make it, the more readership it will get.

How do I know that we love negativity like we love our apple pie, smart phones, and baseball?

The proof is in the pudding.

I’ve been writing articles on this website for just over six months now. I’ve written articles on a wide variety of police topics. Happy ones, sad ones, thankful ones, short, long, medium ones, news related, original stuff I pulled out of my very own brain, I’ve tried them all.

The most popular? The saddest and most tragic things I can think of, or report on.

You would think social media “groups” or “pages” related to policing would yearn for positivity. I can’t imagine the “non-police” civilian followers on such pages – who no doubt are there to be supportive – enjoy seeing constant negativity either. It has to wear on them like it does our police officers.

So what is my solution? It’s a challenge really.  

Luckily, I’m not just writing to grumble. Unlike most politicians and other ding dongs with a large voice, I present a problem and offer a solution. Novel idea, I know.

Start looking for ways to be a positive supporter of our men and women in blue. Our men and women riding our ambulances, our fire trucks, our military. Any first responder, or public servant. I don’t discriminate.

I challenge you NOT to wait for tragedy, or a “Law Enforcement Appreciation Day” to speak up and recognize someone for their hard work or job well done.

Let’s put a positive spin on the unfortunately necessary catch phrase, “See something, say something!”

If you see something positive, hear something positive, even think of something positive, message me. You can message me on this website via the contact button. You can find The Officer Next Door on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. I have made it rather easy to find me, so please do. I’ll share your positivity as much as I can. Then once I share it, share my posts or article. Use the power of the internet to our advantage.

Just know that I may start posting things that don’t seem as “topic relevant,” especially on my social media pages. I want people to laugh more than they cry. So hang in there if you really enjoy the negativity and sadness.

I hope The Officer Next Door continues to grow and help officers in ways I haven’t even envisioned yet. We shall see.

Thank an officer today.

The Officer Next Door

Law Enforcement 0

Mercer County Officer Takes Own Life While At Work

Pablo-Santiago-2.jpg
Mercer County Sheriff’s Officer Pablo Santiago (via Facebook)

Trenton, New Jersey – A Mercer County Sherriff’s Officer Pablo Santiago took his own life while at work on Wednesday.

By looking at his photo taken just weeks ago, you would never guess this was coming. His coworkers, as expected, are all reported to be extremely surpised and upset by this news. It just goes to show that you never know what someone is going through, no matter how happy they appear.

Suicide. It seems to be a problem that has reached epidemic levels in law enforcement these days. All too often news of officers taking their own lives comes across your news feed. It is starting to garner more attention. A recent news article from Austin, Texas discussed how a Police Chief has seen so many avoidable firings and dicipline as a result of alocohol abuse and other stress related factors that come with being in law enforcement. They are taking steps to battle the issue before it becomes a problem. Kudos to Austin Police Department.

The statistics aren’t easy to come by, as there isn’t an “official” database that police related suicides must be reported to and tracked. As of December 19th, there were 14 police suicides confirmed, it is likely there have been more. At the very least this tragedy makes 15 and that’s 15 too many.

A GoFundMe account was started on Thursday morning to help Santiago’s family.

“Anyone who met Pablo knew him to always have a contagious smile, a beautiful spirit, and a kind (and many times silly) word,” the GoFundMe campaign page said. “Not only was he a respected pillar of the Mercer County community, and the President of PBA Local 187, but also a sheriff’s officer dedicated to his job beyond words, and above all else and most importantly, a devoted friend, husband and father.”

The GoFundMe campaign continued, “With his sudden passing, Pablo leaves behind a loving wife and two beautiful daughters.  Although nothing can replace his presence in this world, we are hoping to alleviate some of the financial burdens on his family following the tragedy.”

The fundraiser has reached $5,345 out of a goal of $20,000 in four hours at the time of this article.

The Officer Next Door extends its deepest condolences to the Santiago family and his brothers and sisters of the Mercer County Sheriff’s Department.

 

Law Enforcement 0

Update: Suspected Cop Killer’s Truck Recovered, Suspect Still On The Run, Yet To Be Seen Or Identified

Newman , CA – The vehicle being sought by police in connection with the murder of Coporal Ronil Singh was found abondoned. Authorities say the suspect (pictured above) has yet to be seen or identified. Police are asking this photo be shared and anyone with information to call their local law enforcement immediately.

Law Enforcement 0

‘Twas The Night Before Christmas

jmp santa0052
Source: Pioneer Press St. Paul MN

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the city
Burglars were out, stealing without pity
They stole away Christmas, from poor little boys
Eating the cookies and milk, and taking the toys!

There were robbers out too, some even with guns,
Robbing people of their money, every single last one,
The robbers were out late, in poorly lit streets
Preying on the festive, the drunk, the poor and the meek

Drunk drivers everywhere, from Christmas parties
Driving home intoxicated, on a white Christmas Eve
They crash and they hurt, and they kill people too
Making many families’, worst fears come true

Some people are sad, and they drink and they drink
And they have thoughts in their head, no one should think
They don’t realize they’re loved, and that people care
So they do some things, that no one should dare

But the boys in blue, they’re out fighting all of this
Every day, not only on Christmas
But this time of year is the worst, they see it all
Despite the odds against them, they answer the call

They talk people down, from ledges up high
And protect innocent families, as they say their goodbyes
Because people need to be safe, especially on this eve
It’s the most dangerous night of year, some of them believe

So please drive safe, and grab a cab if need be
Lock your doors up tight, Santa doesn’t need a key,
Know that people love you, despite what you think,
And please watch the excess, in which you may drink,

Because the boys in blue are out there, protecting your life
To make sure you get home, to your kids and your wife
They don’t like to see tragedy, no tears shed tonight
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a safe night!

Written By: Stephanie Waterhouse

Law Enforcement 0

San Francisco Mayor Seeks Brother’s Early Release From Prison For Murder Conviction

Mayor Breed Brother Combo
Photos courtesy of CDC / KTVU.com

I’m all for leniency when it is warranted. A second chance if it makes sense. However, I also believe in the rules applying to everyone the same. This topic can get blurry quickly, that isn’t lost on me. Police officers give breaks and warnings all the time. They have descretion. It happens, it’s a good thing.

However, getting a warning for a speeding ticket and getting released from prison early for a murder conviction, because your sister is the Mayor of San Francisco, are completely different things. So let’s not go down that path.

Mayor London Breed penned a letter to outgoing California Governor Jerry Brown on official “Mayor London Breed” stationary asking for leniency and an early release of her brother, Napoleon Brown.

Napoleon Brown has served almost two decades of a 44-year prison sentence for involuntary manslaughter and armed robbery.

Breed recently released a statement defending her request to the governor.

“Too many people, particularly young black men like my brother was when he was convicted, are not given an opportunity to become contributing members of society after they have served time in prison,” she said. “I believe my brother deserves that opportunity.”

“I do believe that people need to face consequences when they have broken the law, but I also believe that we should allow for the rehabilitation and re-entry of people into society after they have served an amount of time that reflects the crimes committed,” the statement continued.

Unsurisingly, Sandra McNeil, the mother of the victim, feels differently.

“I don’t think it would be justice,” she said. “She’s the mayor, so she’s got a little power, so she thinks she can get her brother out.”

In the end, I understand that Mayor Breed is a human-being and a sister. Just like police officers, who are human beings, brothers, sisters, husbands, and wives. Like many siblings, Mayor Breed wants what is best for her brother. Where I take issue, is the fact she wrote the letter to the Governor using “Mayor London N. Breed” stationary, which simply gives the appearance she wants her title to be recognized and special consideration given.

I can only expect a public servant like Mayor Breed, believes police officers should be held to a higher standard. That’s part of being a public servant. As such, I doubt the Mayor would support leniency when police officers are found to have committed a crime.  I doubt she would writing letters on their behalf using “Mayor Breed” letterhead asking that the police officer be given a chance at rehabilitation.

So why should her brother get special treatment simply because she is the Mayor of San Francisco? Some will argue she’s just being a sister. I think it’s obvious her use of the title “Mayor” was not an accident. What do you think?

The Officer Next Door

 

Law Enforcement 1

Cincinnati Police Sergeant Found Dead By Fellow Officers

Cincinnati Police
Photo source: Youtube

Cincinnati OH –

Per a recent press release, the Cincinnati Police Department announced they located a deceased Cincinnati police officer at 2084 Eden Park Drive just after noon today. A death investigation is being conducted in conjunction with Hamilton County Coroner’s Office.

In the press release, Chief Eliot Issac announced that the officer has been identified as Sergeant Arthur T. Shultz, who was a 28 year veteran and a very well-respected member of the Cincinnati Police Department.

We here at The Officer Next Door extend our deepest sympathy and condolences to the Cincinnati Police Department and their blue family.

Unfortunately, this December has proven to be like many in the past. Suicides and violence toward police officers generally increase during the holiday season.

If ruled a suicide, Sergeant Shultz’ death would be the 15th reported law enforcement suicide in the month of December according to www.wearebluehelp.org which reported 14 suicides as of December 19th.

We want to encourage all first responders to watch after each other during this holiday season. Please reach out if you are in need of help and be safe.

Law Enforcement 1

Political Correctness or Policing, Which One Do You Want?

Curfew law expired
Photo Source: www.ocregister.com

In 2018 it is abundantly apparent that there is a new wave of activism taking place in the United States. Statues that have stood for years are being torn down. Buildings are being renamed to less “controversial” names. Even Christmas songs (Baby Its Cold Outside) and Christmas shows (Rudolph) are being attacked and labeled racist or misogynistic, or whatever term of political incorrectness fits the bill.

So how does this apply to policing? Well, in many ways to be quite honest. In a recent move to continue fighting the politically correct fight, the City of Dallas, Texas has decided to let a long standing city ordinance pertaining to juvenile curfew hours expire on January 18, 2019. The ordinance was first enacted in 1991. The ordinance forbids juveniles under the age of 17 to be outside without an adult between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and additionally restricts parentless kids from roaming the streets from 12:01am to 6 a.m. on the weekends. Basically, the nothing good happens after midnight rule is in effect here. Seems logical. Apparently not anymore.

On the surface, a person might be confused as to how getting rid of a simple law like not allowing juveniles to run amuck at all hours of the night is a good thing. Well, like I said, it’s 2018. We can’t even listen to songs or watch television shows that have been in existence for decades, without someone getting into a tizzy.

Specifically in Dallas, city council members with the backing of multiple civil liberties groups, support the move to let the ordinance expire and no longer be enforceable by Dallas Police Officers sighting concerns that it creates “disproportionate minority contact through enforcement”.

Okay. So does this suggest that only in minority neighborhoods are juveniles roaming the streets at all hours of the night? Do we really think police officers salivate at the idea they can roam around Dallas and detain juveniles for being out past curfew? You have go to be kidding me. I can assure you, they have better things to do. But don’t get me wrong, the ordinance is a tool in their tool belt. This will make sense by the end of this article.

For those of you unfamiliar with the state of affairs in the Dallas Police Department, they are not immune to the nationwide manpower shortage of police applicants and rapid attrition through retirement and people choosing other careers. Needless to say, Dallas Police Officers are too busy chasing multiple pages of pending calls for service, they don’t have the time to disproportionately enforce any 27 year old ordinance.

So what’s my point?

The point is quite simple. The law is the law. The ordinance in theory most will agree makes sense. It’s really quite simple, if you aren’t outside at the age of 15 roaming the streets at 3 a.m. without a parent, you don’t have anything to worry about. It doesn’t matter what you look like, what your last name is, or anything like that. Either you’re in violation of the ordinance, or you’re not. The suggestion that this ordinance somehow negatively impacts minorities seems to suggest that only minority children are out roaming the streets in the wee hours of the night. If that is the case, is that the fault of the police? Or maybe their parents? The saying “nothing good happens after midnight” isn’t a saying because it isn’t true.

I’m not suggesting that police officers across the country should be focused on aggressive curfew violation enforcement. That’s clearly nonsense. However, what I am saying, is the more we continually remove laws from the books that may seem minor, petty, or solely what we call “quality of life” laws, the more you are “handcuffing” police officers from doing their jobs.

Even the small innocuous laws are important for police officers, as they allow for what they call “reason for contact”. For those of you who aren’t legally inclined. Police officers need a law to be broken – or suspicion that criminal activity is taking place or about to take place – in order to stop (detain) someone. If you run a red light, speed, or they see you walking down the street with an open alcohol container if it’s illegal, they can now stop and talk with you. To add context pertaining to the curfew ordinance, if this law expires and is never reinstated, when that officer working the overnight shift sees four “young  juveniles who may be under 17” of any skin color, dressed in all black, walking down the street, the officer can’t stop them and see what they are up to. Maybe they have handguns in their waistbands and were planning to rob people as they returned home from the bar? Maybe they are headed to break into the local business? Maybe they are headed to watch a movie at their other friend’s house and they just happened to be wearing dark colored clothing? We can maybe any scenario to death, but the fact remains, laws allow officers to do their jobs.

The worst thing about policing is we can’t measure the unmeasurable. There is no metric for measuring the murders, rapes, robberies, or shootings they prevent through proactive policing. You can’t measure what you prevented by stopping a person walking to the back of a closed business at 2 a.m. who happened to have a crowbar hidden on their person. Were they headed to commit a burglary or a murder? Maybe both? Who knows? There’s no “statistic” for that.

So it’s up to you. We can continue down the path of unabated political correctness and completely take away the ability of police officers to do their jobs. Or, we can have some common sense and see laws and ordinances for what they are, laws and ordinances. If you don’t break them, you won’t be affected by them. If you choose the path of complete political correctness, then don’t be pissed off when you tell a police officer you’ve been a victim of a crime and the police officer replies, “Oh yeah, I saw that person walking down the street earlier, I thought it was weird, but I had no legal reason to stop them. I’m sorry this happened to you.” Because that is the way we are headed.

Thank an officer today.

The Officer Next Door

Law Enforcement 1

Community “Activist” Tweets Fallen Chicago Officers Are Stupid For Getting Killed

Carl Nyberg
Source: Twitter

Chicago, Illinois – In keeping with the theme of late, not only are the media complicit in making the jobs of police officers harder, community activists can have the same impact.

In a recent display of distasteful ignorance, Chicago area “community activist” Carl Nyberg tweeted the following, “Two people too stupid to avoid getting hit by a train were given firearms & the authority to kill people by the Chicago Police Department.”

Tweet Chicago
Source: Twitter

Clearly, this guy has an axe to grind with police officers. The fact he immediately makes mention of “authority to kill” goes to show his state of mind and how just far out in left field this particular person appears to be. I don’t know this guy, but he has every right to say what he wants. However, I’m not sure how this tweet helps his community in any way.

Most would say, “Just ignore him.” To a certain extent, I would agree. However, I feel it’s important to call out people for their nonsense and recognize that this sort of ignorance creates the anti-police rhetoric that leads to officers being ambushed while eating lunch, protecting protesters, or simply sitting in their police vehicles.

Police officers today don’t just fight “bad guys”. They fight the movement that paints them in this negative light. It furthers the hate toward officers and makes their job more dangerous.

Apparently Carl is too blinded by his own ignorance to see that the officers were investigating a “shots fired” call. They died trying to make the city he lives in a safer place for everyone. Bless his heart.

– The Officer Next Door

Law Enforcement 0

Media Headlines Matter

 

Kap Kneeling
Colin Kaepernick, right, and Eric Reid kneeling during the national anthem before an N.F.L. game last year. Credit Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

Today there was yet another news article published somewhere in the United States about the shortage of police applicants in their jurisdiction. Admittedly, I didn’t read the article. The headline stated what we already know, or at least what any reasonable person would suspect. People aren’t applying to be police officers anymore. At least not at the rate they did in the past. (If you could see me as I write this, I’m displaying my best shocked face).

This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who hasn’t been living under a rock for the past four years. Since the Ferguson, Missouri police shooting and the subsequent riots and protests that swept the nation, police officers across the country have been labeled nothing short of racist and blood thirsty monsters. By and large, thanks to the mainstream media in this country. Why? The answer is simple. The controversy surrounding policing in the recent years has made them money. Sadly, it’s that simple. The more people protested, marched, and held rallies, the more the media could give them the microphone to stir the controversy. The more controversial a topic gets, the more clicks, views, and revenue they make. Their job is to make money. Nothing gets more views than something controversial.

How do I know this? I know from experience in writing and posting articles like this one on my website and social media platforms. The number of “views, clicks, or shares” articles get, seem to be directly correlated to the photo or title that accompanies the article. To test this, I’ve posted the exact same article with two different photos and guess which one got more traction? The one with the more controversial and sad photo. Same article. Same title. Different photo. Completely different results in readership. The photo and title I choose for this article will be relevant the first time I post it. Then the following day I will repost it with an even more controversial person in the photo, I’m almost certain, the results will be completely different. We will see how it affects readership and I will update this article. I don’t like or want to be controversial. I started this to be honest, truthful, and give officers a voice. Their side of the story if you will. But, sometimes controversy happens.

Conclusion, the more sad or controversial an article title or photo appears, the more “clicks, reads, or views” it garners. So maybe we as consumers are also to blame? Apparently, America just loves controversy and sadness. This may all be true, but it doesn’t remove responsibility from the mainstream media to be mindful on how they report facts and stories, or worse, how they choose to skew them.

Basically, media headlines matter.

The narrative they push matters and has direct and tragic real life consequences when they create hate that leads to police being ambushed and killed like in Dallas on July 7th, 2016. Other consequences are less tragic, but equally concerning when it comes to the lack of police applicants nationwide. Soon, there will be a crisis. I’m calling it now. Unless the economy crashes and people are in dire need of jobs, police applications will remain low, continually pushing police departments to levels that put officers and the public at risk. Who honestly wants to work holidays, weekends, and be called a monster for doing your job for $60,000 a year? Not to mention the obvious dangers associated with the job.

Sadly, the mainstream media doesn’t care about the repercussions of their controversy creating headlines. They don’t care if people who once strongly desired to be a police officer, are now rethinking their career choice. Can you blame them? After over a decade of wearing the uniform myself, in one of the largest cities in the country, my simple answer is, NO. I don’t blame them. In fact, I think it is wise to really question your desire to be a police officer in 2018 and beyond. If you really, really, want to be one, then do it. Because those are usually the best ones. It’s not just a job, a paycheck, or something you should do half-assed. It’s a serious job, with lifelong consequences for you, your family, and everyone you deal with. If it’s nothing more than a paycheck to you, you’re likely the kind of officer I wish never became one. They generally seem to become officers that make negative headlines in legitimate way.

Buzzwords like “police reform” now flood media headlines and political rallies because somehow “they” believe “they” can change the fact that every day police officers confront the violence most people deny exists. Yet somehow, “they” get upset when the confrontation turns deadly. Well, let’s keep speaking the truth, “they” only get upset if the police officer survives and a citizen dies. However, if the officer happens to be one race and the deceased another, CHACHING!!! Time for an inflammatory headline! Let’s not worry about the facts or circumstances surrounding the incident, publish that inflammatory headline! To hell with the consequences! Who cares about the facts or the fact the entire incident was on video and  likely justified!? Profit through division. Tell me I’m wrong.

Sadly, no matter how many community events police plan, cute lip-sync videos are made, or ice cream cones are handed out in the summer. One even remotely controversial police shooting and we are back to square one with the help of the media. Police are quickly painted with a wide accusatory brush suggesting that because of ONE particluar incident, we must remind you that ALL police are racist, blood thirsty monsters! It’s like a sad game of chutes and ladders.

Meanwhile police recruiters hastily hold up signs at a job fairs, “Sign up folks! Come join the team! It’s the greatest show on earth! Let’s make a difference! You can help people!” Come on, let’s stay on the honesty train. Times have changed and your good intentions no longer matter. It’s now all about what the media headlines say that define police officers’ actions. The media doesn’t care if you are the best officer to ever wear the uniform, never been disciplined, or have 58 medals pinned on your chest. Ultimately, when given the chance you, the American police officer will be crucified to their benefit.

To my knowledge there’s never been a protest or rally after a police officer was shot and killed. If there has been, please enlighten me, because I am unaware of such an incident. Vigils don’t count. Police haters generally spew the usual despicable response when an officer is killed, “That’s what they signed up for.” Get real. No one signs up to die.

I’ll be the first to say, dirty or racist cops of any kind should be fired and go to prison if warranted. The recent 3 year prison sentence of a Police Chief for framing African Americans for crimes they didn’t commit was too short. The punishment should have been harsher for ruining people’s lives, betraying the trust of society, and tarnishing the badge. His despicable acts have consequences for everyone involved and the damage is permanent and likely irreparable. For that, he should’ve been punished more harshly.

To conclude, I will say this. Police officers don’t become police officers to get rich. They don’t become police officers to hurt people. They genuinely view their job as a way to keep the evil from hurting the good. They know their role is to hold those accountable for THEIR bad decisions. Becoming a police officer, is a way to serve their community and bear burdens of which most people are blissfully unaware. They don’t go into notoriously violent communities – no matter what the racial makeup may be – looking to hurt someone.

The next time you hear about a fatality car accident with multiple people killed, a deadly shooting, or any horrific tragedy, pause for a minute and ask yourself, would you want to be the one rushing to that scene? Do you want to see the dead bodies sprawled across the highway? Do want to see the person taking their last breath after being shot by a rival gang member? How would you feel about the fact the media is able to portray you as a monster or an inherent racist with a few simple keystrokes, despite knowing nothing about you? Despite the fact you rush to those scenes without knowing or caring about the race of the victim. You just want to HELP. Would you be able to handle it? Again, I think we know the answer. When you think about it in these terms, the nationwide police application shortage comes as no surprise. There is an elephant in the room. The question is, how long until it reaches a critical point?

Thank an officer today.

The Officer Next Door 

Law Enforcement 2

I’m Thankful, But I Remember

IMG_8359
Source: Unknown

This morning I went through my normal routine of getting ready for the day. Like most people, it involves showering, brushing your teeth, if you still have hair, you fix it. Being that it is the week of the Thanksgiving holiday, I started to think about all the things I’m thankful for in my life.

It’s a long list to be honest. I’m a lucky guy. I’m thankful for my wife, my parents, my brother, my dogs, my job, my home, my health. You get the picture.

Then I started to think about it in a deeper way.

Honestly, I’m thankful I’m not sad.

I’m thankful that this holiday is still enjoyable because I haven’t suffered significant loss or heartache that makes this holiday season unbearable. But I remember those who have.

I’m thankful my family is alive and well. But I remember the families who are spending their holidays in a hospital.

I’m thankful for those who continue to serve our country as first responders and in the military whose service doesn’t take a break on the holidays. But I remember what it was like working on holidays and how much I looked forward to them being over.

Unfortunately, the holidays are not always a fun time for everyone. We all suffer loss and family members pass away. It’s the inevitable circle of life, I dealt with it myself just a few months ago. However, for some people in our society, they may have just lost everything. Their husband or wife, their Mom or Dad, their provider, their hero.

The family of Chicago Police Officer Jimenez is planning a funeral this week, instead of worrying about when they are going to eat Thanksgiving dinner. Officer Jimenez had a wife and three children and did nothing to deserve his fate, other than become a police officer and serve our country. He heard the “shots fired” call come out at a hospital and responded, like any police officer would. He went toward the danger and paid the ultimate price. I’m thankful for him, but I will remember his family during the holidays.

In an odd conflict of emotion, I struggle to simply be thankful and happy, because I know what others are experiencing. I wish I had a solution or something I could say or do to help them, but I know I can’t. These words will do nothing to heal the pain, they’re simply intended show sympathy and understanding that it exists.

No words I can write will stop the pain felt by the families who have lost their hero at the hands of the evil that walks among us.

So when you’re done eating your Thanksgiving turkey and you’re drifting off to nap to the sound of the football game, be thankful and remember those who aren’t so lucky. I know I will be.

I’m Thankful, But I Remember.

The Officer Next Door

Law Enforcement 15

You Want To Know The Truth?

Sad officersImage Source: JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

You Want To Know The Truth?

A friend of mine recently asked, “Tell me, what is it really like being a police officer?”

I smiled as this was the hundredth time I’ve been asked that question. I thought to myself, “If you only knew the truth.” Protector to a fault, I couldn’t unload the real truth about what it’s like to be a police officer. Instead, I smiled and said, “It’s good, every day is different and I get to work outside.” If he only knew. Over the next few minutes, I would smile and nod as if I was paying attention to the conversation.

In reality, I was thinking to myself, if you want to know the truth, I’ll tell you the truth. When my wife asks how my day was I respond with a rehearsed, “It was fine.” I say that to protect her and I guess myself too. I’m not trying to be rude or short. I don’t want to keep things from her or hurt her feelings. I guess the truth is, I don’t want to relive the fatality car accident I responded to last night. A mother, father, and their two children didn’t survive, it was horrific.

If you want to know the truth, a few days ago I came home and was distant and distracted. My wife got upset with me because I wasn’t listening when she told me about the parent-teacher conference she attended alone. What she doesn’t know is someone shot at me on my last shift. I debated telling her but don’t want her to worry more than she already does. Honestly, I am just thankful to be alive. The scary truth is, my wife almost became a widow and my kids almost lost their father. That thought is really messing with my head. I guess that’s what I signed up for, so I’ll have a few more beers and then head to bed. I’ve got work in the morning.

If you want to know the truth, even though that guy shot at me, I’m thankful I wasn’t able to shoot back. Contrary to popular belief, I don’t want that on my conscience. I don’t want to be on restricted duty because I need to work overtime to pay the bills. The truth is, I don’t want to hurt anyone and certainly don’t want to kill anyone. I want to help them but I know I’m a consequence for some, a sigh of relief for others, and a hero to a few. The truth is, I don’t go looking for a fight; the fight comes to me, whether I want it to or not. Ultimately, I just want to go home at the end of the night.

You want to know the truth? Today I got word that I’m being investigated, another ridiculous complaint and now my long-awaited promotion is in jeopardy. A drug dealer is claiming his money went missing and he was roughed up while being arrested. Despite the fact the video will prove none of that is true, I have to wait months for the outcome. No matter what, that complaint is on my record forever now. One more thing I have to explain to the promotion board if I even make it that far.

The truth is, my wife is expecting our second child and that promotion would really help with the upcoming expenses. Carrying all this stress the last few days, I’ve been pissed when I hit the streets. But just last night, I was flagged down by a frantic mother and was able to resuscitate her unconscious baby. The truth is, seeing the joy and relief on that mother’s face restored a sense of worth and purpose. In seconds, the anger and stress about the complaint and promotion were gone. I helped someone today and the truth is, that’s why I do this job.

If you want to know the truth, I’m not a hateful person. I don’t care what you look like, where you came from, or what you’ve done in the past, I will give my life for you. I may not know you, but that isn’t a reason to hesitate when seconds matter. The truth is, helping people is in my blood. I run toward danger, I shield strangers from harm, and I accept death as a consequence. I guess the truth is, it’s just my way of life. I’m a risk taker but don’t like the idea of dying. I didn’t sign up to die, however, I accept it could happen. The truth is, I would feel bad for my parents; no parent should have to bury a child. At least it would be honorable, that should count for something.

If you want to know the truth, I have a wife, a mother, a father, one brother and two dogs. I have a family just like you. Even if I have to work, they hope to see me at birthday parties, Thanksgiving and Christmas. I like football and baseball. I watch movies and can quote some of them word for word. I guess the truth is, I’m not much different than you are. I have my good days and bad. I hope for the best, expect the worst, and always try to do the right thing. Like you, I want my family to be proud of me. I don’t want to bring disgrace to my name, my family, or my late grandfather whom I know is watching from above.

If you want to know the truth, I love my country, my city, and my brothers and sisters in blue. I guess they are why I keep coming to work every day. I don’t want to abandon them or our fight for what is right. We defend the vulnerable and defenseless from crime and evil. It’s what we do. If you want to know the truth, it gets harder every day. I just blocked some friends on social media. They said they wished “all pigs would die,” I just can’t stomach that. Why should I die? What have I done wrong? I just want to help people.

You want to know the truth? I may not act like it, but the job is starting to take a toll on me. Sometimes I lie in bed and start crying out of nowhere. I don’t feel sad, nothing in particular happened that day. In fact, I had a pretty boring shift. But the truth is, sometimes I just lie there and cry and I’m not sure why. I suppose the truth is, I just had to let it out and eventually I feel better. I’m not too sure if that’s a good thing but that’s the truth. I guess that’s just part of the job.

The truth is, some days I wonder if it’s all worth it. It seems like everyone hates us these days and no matter what we do, we are always to blame. The cards seem stacked against us. Surely, we are playing a game we can’t win. I can’t watch the news anymore. All you see is more protests, tragedy, death, and half-truths. Headlines that seem to be aimed at stoking the flames and furthering the narrative that the police are the enemy. I guess the truth is, I just want to do a good job and make a difference, but that seems impossible these days. Ultimately it seems like even if I did, no one would notice.

If you want to know the truth, the more I think about it, it’s just not worth it anymore. I drink all the time and my wife said she’s filing for divorce. I guess the truth is becoming clear, I’m not a hero. I can’t help myself, let alone strangers who call 911. I am angry all the time and I’m losing this battle. I don’t see a reason to go on. I’m losing my wife, my kids, my life seems over and this job has made me into someone I don’t want to be.

If you want to know the truth, I planned on killing myself today. I wrote the note and had a plan but couldn’t pull the trigger. I just couldn’t do it. Thankfully, I decided I’m going to take control of my life. I am going to seek help. I decided I need to make some changes and give myself a chance to be happy. I will fight for my wife and the life I once had. I guess the truth is, since all I ever do is fix stranger’s problems, I forgot to fix my own.

The truth is, when you asked, “Tell me, what is it really like being a police officer?” These are all the things I wanted to say. Instead, I smiled and replied, “It’s good, every day is different and I get to work outside.”

– The Officer Next Door

Law Enforcement 10

You Want To Know The Truth?

justin-snyder-photo-606497-unsplash (2)Photo by Justin Snyder Photo on Unsplash

You Want To Know The Truth?

A friend of mine recently asked, “Tell me, what is it really like being a police officer?”

I smiled as this was the hundredth time I’ve been asked that question. I thought to myself, “If you only knew the truth.” Protector to a fault, I couldn’t unload the real truth about what it’s like to be a police officer. Instead, I smiled and said, “It’s good, every day is different and I get to work outside.” If he only knew. Over the next few minutes, I would smile and nod as if I was paying attention to the conversation.

In reality, I was thinking to myself, if you want to know the truth, I’ll tell you the truth. When my wife asks how my day was I respond with a rehearsed, “It was fine.” I say that to protect her and I guess myself too. I’m not trying to be rude or short. I don’t want to keep things from her or hurt her feelings. I guess the truth is, I don’t want to relive the fatality car accident I responded to last night. A mother, father, and their two children didn’t survive, it was horrific.

If you want to know the truth, a few days ago I came home and was distant and distracted. My wife got upset with me because I wasn’t listening when she told me about the parent-teacher conference she attended alone. What she doesn’t know is someone shot at me on my last shift. I debated telling her but don’t want her to worry more than she already does. Honestly, I am just thankful to be alive. The scary truth is, my wife almost became a widow and my kids almost lost their father. That thought is really messing with my head. I guess that’s what I signed up for, so I’ll have a few more beers and then head to bed. I’ve got work in the morning.

If you want to know the truth, even though that guy shot at me, I’m thankful I wasn’t able to shoot back. Contrary to popular belief, I don’t want that on my conscience. I don’t want to be on restricted duty because I need to work overtime to pay the bills. The truth is, I don’t want to hurt anyone and certainly don’t want to kill anyone. I want to help them but I know I’m a consequence for some, a sigh of relief for others, and a hero to a few. The truth is, I don’t go looking for a fight; the fight comes to me, whether I want it to or not. Ultimately, I just want to go home at the end of the night.

You want to know the truth? Today I got word that I’m being investigated, another ridiculous complaint and now my long-awaited promotion is in jeopardy. A drug dealer is claiming his money went missing and he was roughed up while being arrested. Despite the fact the video will prove none of that is true, I have to wait months for the outcome. No matter what, that complaint is on my record forever now. One more thing I have to explain to the promotion board if I even make it that far.

The truth is, my wife is expecting our second child and that promotion would really help with the upcoming expenses. Carrying all this stress the last few days, I’ve been pissed when I hit the streets. But just last night, I was flagged down by a frantic mother and was able to resuscitate her unconscious baby. The truth is, seeing the joy and relief on that mother’s face restored a sense of worth and purpose. In seconds, the anger and stress about the complaint and promotion were gone. I helped someone today and the truth is, that’s why I do this job.

If you want to know the truth, I’m not a hateful person. I don’t care what you look like, where you came from, or what you’ve done in the past, I will give my life for you. I may not know you but that isn’t a reason to hesitate when seconds matter. The truth is, helping people is in my blood. I run toward danger, I shield strangers from harm, and I accept death as a consequence. I guess the truth is, it’s just my way of life. I’m a risk taker but don’t like the idea of dying. I didn’t sign up to die, however, I accept it could happen. The truth is, I would feel bad for my parents; no parent should have to bury a child. At least it would be honorable, that should count for something.

If you want to know the truth, I have a wife, a mother, a father, one brother and two dogs. I have a family just like you. Even if I have to work, they hope to see me at birthday parties, Thanksgiving and Christmas. I like football and baseball. I watch movies and can quote some of them word for word. I guess the truth is, I’m not much different than you are. I have my good days and bad. I hope for the best, expect the worst, and always try to do the right thing. Like you, I want my family to be proud of me. I don’t want to bring disgrace to my name, my family, or my late grandfather whom I know is watching from above.

If you want to know the truth, I love my country, my city, and my brothers and sisters in blue. I guess they are why I keep coming to work every day. I don’t want to abandon them or our fight for what is right. We defend the vulnerable and defenseless from crime and evil. It’s what we do. If you want to know the truth, it gets harder every day. I just blocked some friends on social media. They said they wanted “all pigs would die,” I just can’t stomach that. Why should I die? What have I done wrong? I just want to help people.

You want to know the truth? I may not act like it but the job is starting to take a toll on me. Sometimes I lie in bed and start crying out of nowhere. I don’t feel sad, nothing in particular happened that day. In fact, I had a pretty boring shift. But the truth is, sometimes I just lie there and cry and I’m not sure why. I suppose the truth is, I just had to let it out and eventually I feel better. I’m not too sure if that’s a good thing but that’s the truth. I guess that’s just part of the job.

The truth is, some days I wonder if it’s all worth it. It seems like everyone hates us these days and no matter what we do, we are always to blame. The cards seem stacked against us. Surely, we are playing a game we can’t win. I can’t watch the news anymore. All you see is more protests, tragedy, death, and half-truths. Headlines that seem to be aimed at stoking the flames and furthering the narrative that the police are the enemy. I guess the truth is, I just want to do a good job and make a difference but that seems impossible these days. Ultimately it seems like even if I did, no one would notice.

If you want to know the truth, the more I think about it, it’s just not worth it anymore. I drink all the time and my wife said she’s filing for divorce. I guess the truth is becoming clear, I’m not a hero. I can’t help myself, let alone strangers who call 911. I am angry all the time and I’m losing this battle. I don’t see a reason to go on. I’m losing my wife, my kids, my life seems over and this job has made me into someone I don’t want to be.

If you want to know the truth, I planned on killing myself today. I wrote the note and had a plan but couldn’t pull the trigger. I just couldn’t do it. Thankfully, I decided I’m going to take control of my life. I am going to seek help. I decided I need to make some changes and give myself a chance to be happy. I will fight for my wife and the life I once had. I guess the truth is, since all I ever do is fix stranger’s problems, I forgot to fix my own.

The truth is, when you asked, “Tell me, what is it really like being a police officer?” These are all the things I wanted to say. Instead, I smiled and replied, “It’s good, every day is different and I get to work outside.”
– The Officer Next Door

Law Enforcement 84

It’s Not Normal

Police funeral

It’s not normal, to see the things police officers see, hear, smell, touch and experience.

It’s not normal, to carry the burdens police officers do, emotionally, physically, and mentally.

It’s not normal, to see dead bodies, mangled bodies, decomposed bodies, dead kids, abused kids, homeless people suffering, and people victimized, taken advantage of, raped or killed.

It’s not normal, to respond to scenes of horrific suicides, fatal car accidents, gang violence, domestic violence, random violence, dead animals, and abused animals.

It’s not normal, to tell a family member their loved one has died and won’t be coming home during a death notification call for service.

It’s not normal, to respond to shooting calls where you watch someone take their last breath, or stabbing calls that make you cringe when you see their flesh cut wide open and blood everywhere.

It’s not normal, to stand next to a dead body for hours securing a crime scene, waiting for the coroner to arrive, so you can go eat dinner, as if nothing happened, as if “it’s just another call”.

It’s not normal, that seeing such horrific things becomes your “normal” and you tell yourself it doesn’t bother you. It’s not normal, to be numb to things that would likely devastate the rest of society.

It’s not normal, to experience extreme highs and lows in one day, one minute you’re  typing a report and the next you’re responding to the local business being held up at gunpoint with shots fired. It happens that fast, it is fun in some ways, but it’s not normal.

It’s not normal, to work rotating shifts, rotating days off, work on holidays, birthdays, anniversaries and maintain a semblance of a “normal” life. It’s not normal, to miss these moments in life and expect it not to take a toll on a marriage or the relationship with your children.

It’s not normal, to slowly lose friends that aren’t police officers too. It’s not normal to say, “they just don’t understand me anymore” or “they don’t know what it is like to be a police officer”. It’s not normal, for lifelong friends to wonder why you’ve changed, become more cynical or even angry and distance themselves from you.

It’s not normal, to go to work and not know what time you will get to go home, or if you’ll even make it home at all.

It’s not normal, to wake up at night in a cold sweat because you dreamed you got shot multiple times by a “bad guy” and you were powerless to stop it. It’s not normal, to lie in bed unable to sleep, because all the things you saw that day play in your head like a bad movie you can’t turn off.

It’s not normal, that nearly every call you answer, someone is counting on YOU to help them. They may be at their lowest point, maybe they are experiencing a crisis, a loss, and you have to be there for them, no matter what is going on in your personal life.

It’s not normal, that you as a human being could be personally dealing with a crisis, a divorce, a dying family member, alcohol addiction, or thoughts of suicide, and you’re expected to show up and solve other people’s problems with no regard for your own.

It’s not normal, to go to work every day in hopes of making a positive change or influence in someone’s life only to be spit at, kicked, punched, stabbed, or shot. It’s not normal, to feel you can’t “win”, no matter what you do, or how many lives you save or stickers you give to kids.

It’s not normal, that simply sitting in your work vehicle being present, can get you shot and killed because the decal on that work vehicle said, “POLICE” on it, like NYPD Officers Liu, Ramos, and Familia. Gone, but not forgotten.

It’s not normal, to be shot while eating dinner, minding your own business, only because the patch on your shoulder said, “POLICE”, like Florida Sheriff’s Deputies Sergeant Noel Ramirez and Deputy Taylor Lindsey. Gone, but not forgotten.

It’s not normal, to never be “off duty”. To always be alert, aware, cautious, even concerned, that you may be a target at any given time due to your chosen profession.

It’s not normal, you do the job and maintain a professional demeanor or smile while holding back tears, because in the end you know, someone has to do it and you’re proud that you aren’t normal.

It’s not normal, to attend a funeral for a coworker who died doing the same job as you, almost annually.

It’s not normal, that no matter how much all these things bother you, you couldn’t see yourself doing any other job, because carrying this burden is what you were meant to do. This is your calling.

You are not normal, you’re a police officer.

Luckily their normal is not your normal. If you’re reading this and you aren’t a police officer, some of the things you just read may have bothered you. Odds are good, the images that popped into your head made you uncomfortable, or were hard to think about or even picture. I hope this was the case, because that is a police officer’s daily reality. At the very least, I hope it changes your perspective of police officers and what it is they actually do and experience every single day.

This topic isn’t widely talked about among police officers, for a multitude of reasons. To start, it isn’t a fun topic to talk about. Yes, there are times that officers gather and share “war stories” about all the crazy things they have seen and dealt with. But don’t think for a minute, that the ugliness of it all isn’t still lurking beneath the surface, waiting to rear its ugly head when they least expect it.

Most officers simply choose not to talk about these things and change the subject when asked about what “crazy things they’ve seen”.  Some may even lie and say “nothing crazy has happened lately” just to avoid the topic altogether. Most officers don’t rush home to tell their significant other what they saw or experienced during their shift. For most, it’s easier to say, “Today was fine” or “I don’t want to talk about it” to avoid the conversation and having to relive the bad things they may have seen or experienced that day.

This sort of behavior is common, a defense mechanism if you will. Over time, police become “numb” to seeing the worst side of society. But in the end, it’s still there, lurking and waiting to show up in their subconscious again. It’s like a pressure cooker that constantly gets tested to see how much more can be fit inside. Almost inevitably, it eventually gives way and explodes. Sadly, it can explode in many different forms.

For some, it explodes in the form of an unexplainable outburst, angry rage, or reaction to something that normally wouldn’t bother that person. For others, they may just break down and cry inexplicably until they feel better, not really knowing what triggered it to happen. Some turn to alcohol or other substances to mask the pain or feelings, which lead them down a path of destruction. No two people are the same, therefore, no two police officers are the same. They all experience different things in their careers and each thing affects them differently than the next officer.

Maybe now when you see them, you don’t just see a man or woman in a uniform that took an oath to protect you, but also a person who runs toward the things most run away from each and every day. They see things so you don’t have to see them. They carry a heavy burden and do it because they were chosen to carry it, so you don’t have to.

Being a police officer is much more than writing traffic tickets, breaking up a fun little house party with underage high school kids, or responding to the fender bender to facilitate the exchange of personal information. A police officer is much more than what meets the eye or what you see on television.

People in society simply create their image of what something or someone is, based on their personal experiences and that makes total sense. For example, if your only experience with police officers is being pulled over for speeding, I imagine it is possible you haven’t thought about what a police officer experiences on a daily basis.

I hope this article changes that. The next time you read about a fatality car accident or horrible tragedy, feel sympathy and empathy for the victims, but don’t forget the people responding to the scene, what they experienced and how they are affected too.

I fully recognize that police officers chose their profession and I also recognize that, “if they don’t like it, they can quit.” Some people try being a police officer, only to find out, “it isn’t for them” and kudos to them for having the courage to admit that.

I firmly believe it isn’t a job, it’s a calling. If you become a police officer solely to pay the bills, you are likely not the kind of police officer most people want on their department or patrolling their community.

Being a police officer is recognizing that you will see the worst side of humanity that society has to offer and you accept that as your normal. Chances are good that when a police officer starts their career, they have thought about these things but didn’t quite know what it actually meant until they experienced it firsthand.

It takes a special kind of person to do this job, one that isn’t…”normal”.

To the hundreds of thousands of brothers and sisters in blue around the world, who put their lives and their “normal” on the line every day, thank you.

Don’t be afraid to admit if you’re struggling, need help, or just want to talk to someone. As weird as it may seem to you, asking for help is “normal”.

Thank an officer today.

– The Officer Next Door

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