When you’re sitting at home minding your own business, your husband has just left for night shift, and you get a text message from your LEO saying, “A trooper was just shot a county over.” It wasn’t a phone call for me, but I know someone else was getting that call. THAT call that we all in the back of our minds and are praying we never get. That call that rips the world from under you and takes the breath right out of your lungs. I knew a family was watching all of this happening on the internet, Facebook, and the news and wondering if that could be their loved one. Surely not…these things happen to other people. They only happen in big cities like Chicago, NYC, Miami, etc. Surely not in our little town. But they happen. It happens on a routine traffic stop. On a simple call for service. No big deal, just another regular stop. Until it isn’t. Until you’re picking up the phone to hear that horrible news. “Your loved one has been shot.”
As I sat in my house last night with my two dogs, I sank to the kitchen floor and cried out for the families. Not just of the officer yesterday, but those who, in just 15 short days of the new year, have buried their loved ones. Kids without parents, brothers and sisters lost, sons and daughters buried way before their time. And even though I didn’t know these people personally, I felt a real personal connection. I felt their pain, their anguish, but I still couldn’t imagine what it would be like to get that call. But the connection I feel to anyone who is a part of this blue family understands that. We don’t know each other personally, but we know. That’s one of the many beautiful sides of the blue community; we all get it. We all know you can’t sit at home day in and day out worrying about our LEO at work because it will drive us crazy, but we do. We know it is a very real possibility that they may not come home after this shift, but still we kiss them goodbye and tell them to be safe. Because it seems like every time we turn on the news or scroll down Facebook, another officer has been shot. We try to push this out of our minds, but we still worry. We hope and pray that God will walk with them through whatever danger they may face. You can talk to any blue family member and they will tell you the same thing. They will tell you how they worry all the time about their LEO, but the officer loves their job. Because, despite all the senseless crimes done against an LEO, they still put their uniform on and go to work. They protect and serve. They strive to make this dark cold world a better place. Because it’s what they love. So, as I sat and cried for these families, I also thought about the amazing community they have to support them.
No matter what, no matter who, when that call comes in, we the community are ready. We are ready to fight back, to lift up, to pray, to lend a hand, to help heal. We have each other’s six. Period. No matter how much my mind races, how much my heart pounds when I hear sirens in the middle of the night, no matter how scared I am for my husband and his coworkers, I know I have support. I know the countless people who love the line understand. I pray for the families that get the call. I weep for them. But this strong, courageous group of people we get to support is something like no other. So, in these times of tragedy, I want to say thank you. Thank you to all the officers that continue to protect and serve despite the fear I know they have. Thank you to the wives across the nation that spring into action when we hear a sister in need. Thank you to the citizens who try to help fallen officers, who stay with them until help arrives. Thank you to the family members of LEO’s. This is no easy burden to bear. But with such a strong backbone to guide us through, how could we not be proud? I back the blue because I love my husband. I back the blue because, despite all the things that could go wrong, they still try to make the world right.
I pray for my community, for those we have lost, and for those who need guidance. I pray this violence against people simple doing their jobs to serve others stops. I pray for the families who get the phone calls. I pray for the violence to end.
Jennifer Cranford – NC LEOW