I recently gave a speech at my father’s retirement party. He spent 33 years on the police force lending his skills and leadership to the police department, the K-9 unit, and the SWAT team.
During that speech, my audience was full of men and women who respect my father. They know him as a colleague, but I know the man behind the badge — so it seems I hold a special key that unlocks the seemingly burning question in many minds: Who are these police officers, really?
"Who are these officers, really?”
Growing up, my father was funny, loving, healthy, and honest. He was also brash and (through my teenage lens) annoyingly strict. He drew a hard line, but his standards were uniform. He didn’t even exonerate himself from these standards.
Oh, the plight of having a cop as your father.
But, here’s the real kicker: my dad is my hero.
My dad is my hero.
As a young man, my father knew he wanted to be a police officer. What kind of people have such an ambition? I certainly can’t speak for all men and women who take on this oath of public service, but I can tell you about the characteristics my father has.
A Code To Live By
He has a solid code. It’s a code of conduct, it’s a philosophy, it’s a consistent set of character traits, it’s a lifestyle. In short, it’s just the man he is. His personal choices reflect his core beliefs in fairness and justice, actions and consequences. How he treats others is a reflection of this code as well, and his heart is that of redemption and forgiveness. He has an eye of unquestionable authority, but not of moral superiority.
His personal choices reflect his core beliefs in fairness, justice, actions, and consequences.
The Plight of the Public Servant
The delicate responsibility of holding any position of power is one that is always a hot topic of debate. Tie in the burden of peacekeeper and implementer of justice to this position, now we’re on a whole other level. As a daughter of such a person, I had behind the scenes access to a man who dealt with the full spectrum of reality every day of his life. His occupation gave him a front row seat to the good, the bad, and the ugliness of human nature.
Out of Sight, Not Out of Mind
My father never brought any of his actual battles home, but as he raised me he used many metaphors to teach me the realities of life. He was a protector, but he also wanted me to be cognizant of the truth. My upbringing was structured, positive, and safe. The world doesn’t consistently hold true to these ideals.
He was a protector, but he also wanted me to be cognizant of the truths about life.
It’s not for me to state whether my father is the exception or the standard to which other police officers conduct themselves. He’s just a man. But he’s a good man who exists among other good people who make strides to better a broken world.