I’m writing this article on Valentine’s Day.
It’s important to many people but February 14th means much more to me, than most. Thirty-Eight years ago today, I began my career as a Chicago Police Officer. Dressed in a suit and tie, I joined a group of young men and women in the Police Academy Gym.
We were welcomed to the department and assigned to our home-room groups. I was assigned to 83-1A. We were then told where our homerooms were located.
Once in our homerooms, we met our homeroom instructor, and he gave us a quick itinerary of what we would do that day. We then began an hour or two of completing paperwork. While it was a pretty dull day, it is one that will always hold great significance for me.
It is the day my life changed forever.
Becoming a police officer changed my life in everything I did. From the way I drive, to the seat I take in a restaurant. It affected the way I parented my sons and the way I dealt with almost everything in life. It took time, but my perspective on life changed. The way I dealt with people changed. It changed my priorities. It taught me the true meaning of honor and responsibility.
How many people do you know who take a job anniversary so seriously?
I doubt carpenters do. Plumbers, lawyers and dentists don’t congratulate each other on their anniversary date. Police officers do. This morning I posted a little item on my Facebook timeline congratulating my classmates and remembering those of us who are no longer here.
It quickly gathered a large list of people who people giving it “thumbs up” and “hearts.” Of the nearly one hundred well-wishers, only five were not police officers. The reality is that, if you aren’t the police, you just don’t get it.
THERE’S NOTHING ELSE LIKE BEING A COP
I’m sure other groups consider similar dates. In the military, academy graduates take great pride in their classes. In the Navy SEALS, the group they went through hell week with, holds great value for them. I’m sure, others understand the way I feel about Valentine’s Day. Chicago Bears fans understand the significance of 1985. Police officers understand the significance of their job anniversary date.
Perhaps the significance lies in the fact it is the beginning of a way of life. Just as your wedding anniversary means little to most others, anyone who has been married knows it is a day that changed your life.
I have always been good on Valentine’s Day.
My significant other always got flowers and usually jewelry.
I stopped smoking on Valentine’s Day many years ago.
I also began sergeant’s school on Valentine’s Day.
In many ways, it has always been a major day in my life. But, my memories of sitting in the bleacher-stands at the academy that Monday morning 38 years ago were the most important to me.
Congratulations to Class 83-1.
Now, take a moment to remember our classmates who are no longer with us. If I don’t get the opportunity, congratulations on your job anniversary whenever it may be. It deserves to be remembered and honored.
Stay safe my brothers and sisters in blue. Run low and zig zag. Robert Weisskopf (Lt. CPD ret.)
“Above all, it’s about going home at the end of the shift … “
We couldn’t agree more.
Bob enjoys hearing from his readers – EMAIL
You can find more articles from Robert Weisskopf as well as links to all his books at his website www.BobWeisskopf.com.
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