Mewsings from Lowecat (aka Indianacat)

My rants, ravings, and overall 'mewsings' on life, the universe, and everything.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Officer Down

Monday in Terre Haute, IN, a THPD K9 officer was laid to rest, after being killed in the line of duty a week ago, in the attempt to serve an arrest warrant. The officer's wife was a dispatcher and was on duty when the dreaded words 'Officer down!' went out.
I cannot imagine what it would be like to hear the news that your loved one has been injured, maybe killed, while at work. The closest I ever came to that was cold reading an Associated Press news story on air about a high school colleague being killed in an auto accident. The teen wasn't close to me, but not unknown to me, and I learned then never to go into a newscast cold. Always pre read.
Anyway, back to the reason for this blog. Last night, I was working on my fan fiction and also viewing a DVRed episode of 'Flashpoint'. In that episode, which ran last Friday, a police officer who had been cleared of any wrongdoing in an on duty shooting/killing, lamented that no one ever seemed happy to see the cops arrive.
One of his fellow officers, a regular on that show, stated that people often only see the police at the worst possible times of the public's life. Usually when something awful has happened to that person. It's hard to feel glad to see someone bearing bad news, or pulling you over for a minor infraction.
I thought about that a lot over the weekend. Indianapolis has lost its' share of police officers in the line of duty. Officer David Moore most recently, Officer Jake Laird a few years before that. In between, we nearly lost Jason Fishburn, though he survived his injuries - though his recovery has been long and difficult (in fact, he recently opted to retire from a desk job he'd taken with the Indy PD. Officer Fishburn is very young to be retiring).
When the city lost Officer Laird, I thought that the cops deserve to know they are appreciated. So, whenever I pass a marked cop car, I give 'em the peace sign, or a thumbs up from the bike, or a salute, or some indication that I appreciate them. I guess they're surprised by it, none ever return it. That's OK. At least they know someone thought kindly of them for that one moment in time.
I would hope that maybe Officer Long, in Terre Haute, had someone in the public he protected do the same thing. A wave, thumbs up, smile, or some other gesture besides a rude one.
They're called cops, police, the po - po (I'm still tryin' to figure that out, 'cause back in my growing up years, po - po referred to the derriere), pigs, fuzz, and The Man, just to name a few. They get spit at, slapped, hit, shoved, threatened, verbally abused in any way you can imagine. They're the first to be complained of and joked about, associated with donut shops.
No one ever says 'Thank God you're here!'. It's usually 'What took you so damn long to get here?' They defiled, hated, mistrusted. They are sworn to protect, to serve, and defend. They are constantly reminded that they are employees of the populace that pays taxes.
Yesterday, while watchin' Indianapolis' news media coverage (which was not as intense as it was in TH), two poignant things touched my heart. First, the officer's K9 partner, Shadow, and other police dogs were brought in to say a final farewell. Then, the officer's wife, a dispatcher, climbed into his squad car to broadcast his final going home code.
Today, in Terre Haute as in other towns, life goes on. The streets have to be patrolled, the peace kept. These men and women deserve our respect for doin' what they do every day. One of the speakers at the officer's funeral mentioned that bein' a cop is a callin' - not unlike bein' called to preach.
I believe he is right. You have to be called to want to be treated like somethin' found on the bottom of one's shoe after walkin' through a cow pasture.
The purpose of this particular rant of mine? The next time a cop car passes you on the other side of the road, or is behind you, give them a thumbs up. Or a smile. Or say thank you.
They may not return the gesture, but they'll appreciate it.


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