Image Credits: ABC News

Not many people come home to Kevlar vests, work boots, and a Crown Vic sitting in the front yard; however, my family is an exception. Years ago, my dad chose to begin a life that consists of protecting and serving his community, and he hasn’t looked back. Over the years, I’ve heard many stories, been on more ride-alongs than I can count, and learned some of the greatest life lessons that I could ask for. Having a parent walk the thin blue line isn’t always easy but I wouldn’t trade this life for anything in the world.

1. The media is not and never will be your friend.

Over the past year, this is something that has been amplified across the nation. The media is out for ratings. Unfortunately, displaying the multiple riots and protests of officer-involved deaths generates more attention than six officers taking the daughter of their fallen brother to a father-daughter dance, or a young officer holding and singing to a two-year-old child after she just lost her parents in a car crash. The media is only out to benefit itself and if that means placing an importance on rioting and violence rather than honoring the 128 line-of-duty deaths that occurred in 2015, then the media will do it. Controversy over honor.

2. You become numb to the worry and that’s okay.

Sure, you hear gunshots somewhere deep in the distance and you pray that it’s not your dad’s call. You hear sirens while you lay in bed and hope for just a minor infraction. You’ve lived with the worry so long that you understand it’s just your life. You’ve buried the thought that every time your dad leaves for work it could be the last time you see him deep inside of you. You tell him you love him, to be safe, and say a silent prayer for a peaceful shift.

3. Bad apples exist.

Just like in every profession, there are bad police officers and there are amazing police officers. Some were never cut out for the job and others allow it to go to their head. It happens and it is tragic. The actions of a few men and women who failed to perform their duty to protect and serve do not represent all men and women who wear the uniform.

4. Holidays are just another day of service.

While citizens are sleeping cozy in their beds on Christmas Eve or enjoying turkey on Thanksgiving, these men and women are out selflessly patrolling the streets to help make sure that you can enjoy your meals and time with family. My dad has never complained about having to catch up on sleep on Thanksgiving Day or missing the kids getting ready for Santa’s visit on Christmas. It’s just a part of his routine. Making sure the community is safe is just another part of the holiday season for police.

5. Police gear brings out the little kid inside of you.

Kevlar vests, shiny badges, utility belts filled with Tasers, mace, handcuffs, a gun, and body cameras. You ask a million questions as he gets them prepared for the shift ahead and hope that each gets to stay in it’s designated spot until the shift is over. You never get tired of trying on the heavy bulletproof vests or your dad telling you not to handcuff yourself to anything because he doesn’t have his key with him.

6. People hate you because of your association and you wouldn’t want to be hated for any other reason.

You will always be known as a cop’s kid and that’s just fine. People will threaten your parent, but also your entire family. My dad and our family have received countless death threats. Some are actually legit and precautionary measures have to be taken, but others were just made in drunken stupors. You learn to face everything with a positive attitude, even the people who hate your family.

7. Everyone has a good quality about them.

This is probably one of the best lessons my dad and his job have ever taught me. Growing up in law enforcement, it is easy to judge people. Thankfully, I’ve been taught to look for the good in people and know that everyone has something good in them somewhere. I grew up playing in the sheriff’s department, which was connected to the county jail. Some of the nicest people were right there in those halls with conviction sheets a mile long. You should always look for the good in people no matter how hard it may be.

8. Respect is a lost art.

I don’t say this to criticize anyone. I say this because it is an observation of the world we live in today. I see men and women who choose to spend time with the community rather than their families walk around daily with targets on their backs, simply because they wear a badge. I see rioting and looting that doesn’t solve anything. Respect for the value of life and each other are gone. Instead of rioting, protesting, and causing problems, why don’t we reach out to each other and work with police to help create a better, safer environment for all? When we begin to respect each other and value life, life will be better for everyone. We need to work together, not against each other.

9. They’ve got your six.

Regardless if you respect them, appreciate them, love them, or even want them around, the moment you need them, my dad and his brothers will come running. It is what they do and it’s how they live. Their number one priority is the safety of the community and it’s citizens. They don’t care about the recognition or the “thank you,” they care about your safety and security. They’ve got your six.

Being the daughter of a policeman has taught me so much. Next time you think that policemen are just trigger-happy and hateful, please remember that the actions of a few bad seeds does not define an entire brotherhood of men and women who have dedicated their lives to protecting and serving. They are sons, daughters, dads, moms, brothers, sisters, husbands, and wives. They are friends, and put their lives on the line for you every single day.

Julia D
FFL Contributor
The only thing I love as much as politics is Tennessee football. I'm probably eating Chick-Fil-A or running late because of who I am as a person.

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