DATELINE: June 24, 2019 – 8:33 AM – Eastern Missouri Police Academy
I’m sure your news feeds have been filled with articles and posts from policemen regarding the murder of Officer Michael Langsdorf. A little indulgence and patience if you will.
Tradition dictates that Officers will wear mourning bands across their badges from the time an Officer is killed, until the time they are laid to rest. After every time I hear the pipes and drums play over a flag draped casket, I’m conflicted about what to do with the mourning band pictured here.
I want to throw it away, in an attempt to relieve any pessimistic view and omen that I’ll need it again. But history and common sense filter in to remind me it is false hope and mere wishful thinking.
The Thin Blue Line. Used as a title for movies and literary pieces, as well as a punchline for the media and people who don’t like or understand us.
In reality, it’s not what you read about: Cops lying for other cops, to protect each other from being prosecuted for behaving like the criminals we swore to protect you from in your daily lives.
The Thin Blue Line is the fabric that ties the biggest family in the world together.
It is a protective security blanket. It is not to conceal rogue behavior and misguided movie plots. Rather, it protects each of us from the thoughts of our own mortality, and the notion that every tour may be our last.
You need to recognize why the fear is there, but succumbing to the fear can be a self-fulfilling prophecy, if not harnessed successfully.
“They signed up for this, and really, how hard can it be?” comes spilling out of the mouths of those who have never worn the Badge.
We did sign up for it. Why didn’t you? A six-month academy isn’t that hard, nor is answering the majority of the calls, until you get that one call. The one when you make a split-second decision, which will be second-guessed by every Monday-Morning Quarterback, who was home in bed when your hand was forced.
That … that is why you didn’t sign up for this job.
Are there a very small minority of the hundreds of thousands of policemen in the United States that make mistakes? Yes, yes there are. As in every profession, this job is staffed by humans.
For the one Officer you hear about who fulfilled a movie script, there are hundreds of thousands who got it right. Common sense and logic should lead you to believe that our batting average far supersedes Stan-the-Man Musial.
A few days ago, a Policeman responded to that call.
A call for a charge the Prosecutor would probably not even take to trial.
Our brother was murdered. Murdered before he would see his kids graduate high school, before he would see either of them be married. Before he would meet his grandchildren.
Because of the uniform he wore to work. A uniform he wore for almost two decades. A uniform he wore while missing birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, Father’s Day, T-Ball games, school plays and every other event you take for granted, like something as simple as dinner.
For what, you ask? A job that he signed up for, which can’t be that hard.
Why are you seeing so many articles and comments in your feed about fallen cops? Because we are heartbroken, angry and worn clean out from hearing those pipes and drums, while our family is lowered into the ground.
We’re exhausted from working around the clock, so you can push through daily life without seeing or knowing what we have kept from interrupting your lattes and Netflix binges. We are envious of the time you spend with your children, while we settle for a 30 second FaceTime call with our children at bedtime.
Mostly, we are merely getting through, because we know we must for each other.
In the end, the band you see across my badge will remain there until Officer Langsdorf is laid to rest on Monday. After the pipes and drums have stopped playing everywhere except in my head, I will take it off and put it back in my locker.
Unfortunately, I will need my mourning band again. The only way I won’t, is if Jamie, Kellen, Kane and Jameson have it given to them in a box, with the rest of my personal effects. Then, the Officer with the locker next to mine will have to wear his as he mourns for me.
Let that sink in for a minute.
At the bottom line, it all comes down to saving just ONE life.
The author of this article chose to remain anonymous. He is an academy instructor in Missouri. I suspect he chose to remain anonymous because any one of us could have written these same words. Please pray for us.
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