On the website Quora recently, the question was posed: what do the police know that we don’t? One response in particular moved me and made me want to actually spend time with someone in the police force. The idealism and compassion his final comments embody are very affecting, after the bracing realism of the first few points. Here is his reply:
We know that your “little angel” isn’t one.
We know you pay our salaries. You have to, it’s not out of your generosity.We don’t like to talk about work with people who don’t know what we do.Real police work is not what you see on TV. We can’t solve your crime/problem/social injustice in an hour.
Some incidents are not crimes. They’re shames.If I give you a break, it’s because I chose to. Not because your mother’s cousin is a cop.We carry the job home with us. We remember the tragedies, traffic fatalities, hurt or dead babies, ruined lives, battered wives, bullied kids, suicides, and the insults. We remember.
We also remember the rare occasions someone says thanks.
We don’t do this job for the power or prestige you might think it brings. We do it because we are tired of seeing good people suffer, and we want to help and protect them from the wolves.
–Rick Bruno, a retired policeman with 37 years on the job.
Do you know anyone in law enforcement? Do you have stories of how they see their job as exactly what the motto claims: to serve and protect? We’d like to hear from you.