A Girl’s Letter to Her School

In the 14th year of my law enforcement career, I walked into a murder scene comprised of the bodies of my partner and our sergeant. I eventually descended into the depths of PTSD, and found my way out with the help of a trauma counselor and my family. My 15 year old daughter recently wrote to her school counselor about a PTSD presentation at school. She eloquently illustrates that PTSD reaches beyond the first responder–we fight not only for our own health, but also for our loved ones.
 
Tom Mealey is a law enforcement officer currently serving in Alaska.
Dear School Counselors,
 
I was in Mr. Smith’s class yesterday when you were guest speaking. Your talk about PTSD was very informative and appeared to be helpful to a lot of the other kids in there. As someone who has had a lot of experience with trauma and PTSD not just myself, but having two parents with it, it was nice to hear it talked about in school, as that is one more step towards normalizing the discussion of it (which is very important.)
 
As I mentioned before, both of my parents have PTSD. My mother’s comes from her upbringing in an abusive home. Luckily, my mom has had lots of time to process and work through all of her trauma, so she’s been nothing but an amazing mom to us, and we haven’t seen the typical challenges of living with someone suffering from PTSD with her. My father’s, however, has been a result of his career, and has cost my family so much over the years.
 
My father started his career around the same time I was born. Before that, my mom has talked of him being extroverted and social, someone who would take us kids to birthday parties or the park just because. When my mom had my younger sister, we got a Wii (to keep my younger siblings and I busy while they dealt with a newborn.) He’d spend hours with us playing golf, tennis, and all the other games we had. When I was very young and we lived in Virginia, I remember him waking me up at one in the morning, driving me out to the middle of nowhere, and watching the meteor shower with me until the sun started to rise. My love of space came from my dad, who would point out constellations and show seven year-old me the moons around Jupiter through our telescope. That’s how my dad was; I knew so many other kids who didn’t have dads like him, and I knew I was lucky.
 
Unfortunately, the Dad I had known my whole life and grew up with, started to ebb away, and I haven’t seen him since.
He started to come home and not get up off the couch. Absorbed in his phone, he barely spoke to us anymore. It was his way of dissociating from the horrors he saw in his job. We knew this, but it didn’t make it any less difficult when the family wanted to do something together and he never wanted to participate.
 
It didn’t even get bad until his two friends died. They were murdered, and he had to walk over their broken, bleeding bodies, stepping in the blood of men he’d spoken to hours earlier.
He stopped talking to my mother, my siblings, myself. We went through a six month period of not knowing if our family was going to stay together. To my siblings and I, our dad was gone–at this point, he was nothing but an empty shell. He wasn’t really angry anymore, it was more than that. He had become horribly anxious and severely depressed at the same time; he couldn’t sleep and he didn’t care about much of anything anymore. The only thing he could do was his job…he poured the little energy he still had into working to make sure we could pay the rent and eat. But doing that when he was battling PTSD took everything he had and he rarely had anything left to give our family.
 
I remember the day he decided not to come home, the day he said that he needed space from all of us. Even though it was only for a night and he was home the next day, it wasn’t any less painful for our family. It hurt to know he had only enough resources left to go to work that day, but nothing left for us. It felt like his job was more important to him than us. Looking back I think he was so into his job because he didn’t feel like a good dad but he knew he was at least still a good cop.
 
My dad’s job almost took everything away from us, and even though my dad ended up seeking help and is finally here for us again, he will never be the same person he was before I was nine. The violence he’s seen, the people who’ve died, the people who have all tried to kill him…it changed him, understandably so. It took away a lot of what made him the person that he was, the person that made him my dad.
My dad’s not a soldier, and these aren’t things that have happened to him over deployment. He’s a police officer, and he continues to see all of these horrific things almost every day at work.
 
When I was six or seven, I sat on the floor of his room and watched him pull his bulletproof vest on. I don’t even remember him telling me what it was for, but I knew it was to keep the bad guys from being able to hurt daddy. I broke down into tears and told him I didn’t want him to die. My dad has never lied to us; he never told me he wasn’t going to die, that God would protect him, that he would be home for dinner that night. He told me, “When God decides that it’s my time to go, it’s my time to go. You don’t have to worry though, I’m going to fight with everything I have to make it back home to you every night.”
 
I’ve known my entire life that my dad saying goodbye to me in the morning before work could very well be my last time speaking to him. That I could have to be pulled out of school at any moment and be told that he’s either dead or dying. I plan on delivering a speech at his funeral if I ever need to. Of course, I hope to God I never have to, not until he’s old and I get to be with him on his deathbed, but that’s not the reality of his job. His co-workers were murdered because of a dispute over a couch.
This is what my family’s life is. This is how it’s always been, having a cop for a dad. In recent years, the horror, violence, and depravity that he’s seen through his job, protecting people that more often than not want him dead, has been one long, hellish crash course on what PTSD is really like.
 
Which is why, during your lecture, I was rather upset that the only people who were spoken to, and got to relate to what you were saying, were kids with military parents.
 
The 2012 National Surveillance of Police Suicide Study found the rate of suicide among law enforcement was 14 per 100 thousand. (Compared to the general population of 11 per 100 thousand.) The study, however, can’t account for the former and retired police officers who have committed suicide years after their service because of career induced trauma. How much higher would that suicide rate climb if it could?
 
A few months ago, my dad spoke publicly about his ordeal with trauma. In his own words, “We’re out here on a daily basis facing horrors unimaginable to most people and it’s killing us slowly. We’re not even aware of it either. I tell all the cops I can about my experience with trauma therapy, but there’s a statistical countdown to when one of my friends is going to lose the battle with his demons and take his life.”
 
There is very rarely a local support system for cops and their families. Many don’t even see their mental health as an issue, and those who know they have problems usually ignore them at a deadly cost to them and their loved ones.
 
Being a cop’s kid, I tend to put up with a lot of crap. I’m constantly reminded on social media of how much this country hates my dad, reading comments from people saying they’re glad his fallen comrades were murdered in cold blood, and how every cop is a racist, scumbag pig. When I try to relate to my peers with parents in the military, I’m often treated like I don’t know anything about what it’s like. How the only people who have PTSD and struggle are combat vets. People have had the audacity to say that I’m an “over-privileged cop’s brat.”
 
I am in no way trying to detract from veterans and their experiences. I’m a very strong 

supporter of programs that rehabilitate veterans with PTSD. I have had friends cry in my arms because their dads are being deployed again, and I have cried with them. I’ve attended funerals in Arlington cemetery, and seen the grieving loved ones firsthand.
 
I understand that you work primarily with the military and their families. However, in a discussion that I should have felt right at home speaking about, since it’s been such a huge part of my life, I felt very disregarded. I didn’t raise my hand when the class was asked how many people had parents in the military, had been deployed, who had come back completely different people. My dad may not go on deployments, but he can go to work for a single day and come back completely changed forever. I didn’t get to say that I’d absolutely love to be a part of a support group with other people my age with parents in dangerous jobs, because it was for kids with military parents/parents who were deployed.
 
I think that that support group is an absolutely wonderful idea, and would be very beneficial to those with deployed parents, as I can’t imagine what it’s like to be completely without your parent for months at a time. Once again, I know you work primarily with the military and that you may want to continue working solely with that demographic. However, you came to our class to share your area of expertise, which is trauma. Career-based trauma affects millions of people outside of the military. The soldiers and the first responders all wear a uniform, one that is a sign of guardianship, that they will die so that we don’t have to. That they will sacrifice themselves and cause their families immense grief and suffering so that the rest of us may continue to live in a country where we are protected and free.
 
Police officers, firefighters, paramedics, and soldiers all do their part to serve and protect the rest of us, at great cost to themselves. They’re all fighting wars, and the ones who don’t lose their physical lives often lose pieces of themselves anyway.
 
They all deserve to have their struggles and sacrifices recognized, and brought to the attention of the general population. Their families deserve it, too. They are the unsung heroes of this world, working behind the scenes to make sure that the front-page heroes have the support they need to continue to defend and protect. They put up with all the night terrors, flashbacks, and episodes so that the ones with PTSD can get up the next morning and continue on with their lives.
 
I’m not saying this for me; in fact, I’m leaving this letter anonymous because I don’t want to make this situation sound like “I felt left out, so I’m mad,” because that’s not it at all. I’m doing this so that hopefully all the other kids in my situation can stop feeling like the experiences of them and their parents isn’t “less of a deal” than others’, because that’s what I’ve often been told. You’re an incredibly nice person with a lot of wonderful knowledge to share and people to help. Your talk about PTSD probably made a lot of kids feel as though they understood theirs, their parents, and maybe even their peers’ experiences better. I wouldn’t be surprised if it inspired some people to try and go to therapy, which is amazing!
 
I’m simply being an advocate for those who may not have had the courage to seek help because their experiences were disregarded by others. I believe that you have the perfect platform to tell them that this is not the truth in any way. I hope that this letter inspires you to speak more about the position that first responders are in every day, and the cost that comes to them and their loved ones.

 

–The Daughter of a Police Officer

GOING ABOVE, BEYOND Firefighters help elderly woman move to care center

KEARNEY — In addition to being busy putting out actual fires the last week of January, crews from the Kearney Area Fire and Rescue Protection District also helped put of a proverbial one when they assisted an elderly woman move from her family home to Westbrook Care Center.

During a transport call, Fire Marshal Jeff Fort went above and beyond the call duty while tending to Sue Holt, a woman suffering from medical issues who was in the process of moving from her house to the assisted living facility and care center on Platte-Clay Way.

“She had mentioned that she had no able-bodied people to help her, so he went out there with a couple of the guys and took care of it for her. … That’s the kind of stuff these guys do that goes unseen,” Deputy Fire Chief Mike Desautels said.

Fort said he knew Holt from responding to several medical assist calls. During a recent call, Fort said Holt mentioned being worried about how she was going to get her things, mainly large pieces of furniture, moved from her former residence near First Baptist Church to Westbrook, adding she had family that helped move smaller items but couldn’t lift larger pieces.

“I just told her that if she needed help, just tell us. It didn’t really take that long. It’s what were there for: to help the community. That’s the way I look at it,” Fort said, adding he had assistance with the Jan. 31 move from off-duty fire crew members Hunter Rische and Johnny Lance.

“It was definitely worth taking time off to help her out,” Fort said.

Holt said she was taken aback by the firefighters’ gesture and very appreciative.

“I don’t think it’s something they do as a rule. … I was so surprised. I had just asked if (Fort) knew some guys that could do some moving, and he just said he could take care of it,” she said.

Holt was in a emotional and mentally tough predicament, having medical issues that required frequent ambulance calls and transportation to the hospital coupled with moving from the only home she has ever known, the home she was born in and lived in for 81 years.

“I really didn’t know what I was going to do, so it was really nice of them,” she said.

Fort said he, Rische and Lance, were happy to help.

“Kearney has a large elderly community, so everybody should do their part to help take care of them,” the fire marshal said.

To Fort, who has was raised in Kearney, the helping hand he offered is just being part of the community, a place he described as giving, welcoming and the best place to live.

“Things like this are things I like to show them guys who are new to the district and are coming up. It’s not just about training them for the things we do, but about showing them you can go out and do things in the community and be part of something. It’s more about community and not just about the fire district,” he said. “If my grandparent or my mom and dad needed help, I would hope someone would offer help. So I like to do the same.”

 

By Amanda Lubinski amanda.lubinski@mycouriertribune.com
Feb 8, 2018

http://www.mycouriertribune.com/community_living/firefighters-help-elderly-woman-move-to-care-center/article_29d12adb-a65d-5b77-856c-828572868da1.html

 

Life Line Chaplaincy

Why Chaplaincy?
First responders (police, firefighters and EMTs) constantly face extreme levels of personal danger. Our first responders frequently deal with desperate, traumatic, and emotionally exhausting scenarios. They encounter the worst societal evils known to humanity on a daily basis. Therefore, it is not surprising that statistics show our first responders are at the highest levels of risk for:
• Suicide
• Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
• Substance Abuse
• Divorce
While mental health care professionals can help first responders on an emotional and mental level, there is growing awareness of the need for chaplains in providing “spiritual first aid.” The safety and well-being of our communities is directly linked to the mental and spiritual well-being of our first responders. Life Line Chaplaincy exists to offer spiritual support for our brave first responders and their families as they face these crises.

Vision
Our vision is to offer spiritual aid for first responders and their families in SW Fairfield County, CT, and SE Westchester County, NY, by helping them cope with the crises they face, resulting in a positive impact on their lives and their communities.

Objectives
To be available to help first responders deal with traumatic events and scenarios, such as:
• Sandy Hook/Newtown and similar events
• Terrorist attacks
• Loss of life (particularly involving children) from fire, accidents, and violence
• Death of immediate family members
• Serious Illness
• Traumatic investigations involving child porn, child abuse or neglect, sexual trafficking, homicides, and suicides
• Serious work-related injury
• Suicide of a family member
• Coping with PTSD, through one-on-one listening and providing counselors for formal and informal gatherings
To cultivate relationships with first responders so that they feel comfortable calling when there is a need by:
• Going on “ride alongs” with officers
• Meeting informally over breakfast or lunch
• Keeping regular hours at HQ
To strengthen marriages and families by:
• Providing online marriage resources for first responders and spouses
• Distributing free literature designed to help spouses understand each other
• Scheduling free marriage and family seminars for first responders
• Offering free basic marriage and family counseling
To provide “Ministry of Presence” by being onsite with first responders when they encounter a crisis scenario.
To cultivate an atmosphere of respect and appreciation in our communities for our first responders.

Unique Value
Independent — We receive no funding from and have no formal links to local, state, or federal agencies. First responders need not fear that their personal and critical situations may somehow make it back to their employers.
Faith Oriented — We are available to address the spiritual needs of those who acknowledge a spiritual need and request assistance.
Unrestricted Access — We are available to people of all faiths or of no faith.
Extensive and Need-specific Training — Primarily through the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation, the source of crisis interventions models used in U.S. armed forces, U.S. law enforcement agencies, and first responder agencies throughout the U.S.

Life Line Chaplaincy, a not-for-profit corporation, is governed by a board of directors that reflects the highest standards of excellence in pastoral ministry, chaplaincy, not-for-profit management, financial management, and business. For a complete list of directors, email: info@llchaplaincy.org

Funding
Life Line Chaplaincy is a not-for-profit corporation registered with the State of Connecticut and is funded through the generous contributions of corporate donors and sponsors, as well as by tax-deductible contributions by individual donors and sponsors. To contribute to this vital service for our first responders, visit “Funding” on our Website:
http://www.LLChaplaincy.org

PO Box 3013, Stamford, CT 06905
For more information, contact:
Rev. John Revell, M. Div.
Chaplain, Stamford Police Department, Stamford, CT
Chaplain, Westport Police Department, Westport, CT
President, Life Line Chaplaincy
(203) 517-4762 johnrevell@LLChaplaincy.org
http://www.LLChaplaincy.org

When it comes to bunker gear, how much protection is too much. Protecting against external heat can have internal side effects. Volume 23, No. 1

When discussing personal protective clothing, the operative word is “protective.” The dictionary says protect means to cover or shield from exposure, injury or destruction. Unfortunately, not all the things that want to injure or destroy us are outside the PPE.

Sometimes the danger is right inside the gear with us.Back when I started in this business PPE consisted of a bunker coat and pants made from canvas, rubber boots and a plastic helmet that cost about $7. If you lived in the frigid north and fought fire in the winter, you might have a pair of Red Ball gloves. They were bright orange and great for keeping your hands warm. However, get caught in a flash fire and these shiny mittens melted away, searing your pinkies but good.

As protection, it left a lot to be desired. Then came Nomex?, a revolutionary, heat- and flameresistant fiber that when used in protective fabrics, garments, insulation and other highperformance applications helps provide protection to millions of people and processes worldwide. Nomex was first used by the military in 1965, when the U.S. Navy employed flight coveralls made from Nomex brand fiber. Racing apparel made from Nomex plays a pivotal role in providing the valuable seconds racing professionals need to escape and survive flash fires that result from both on-track collisions and pit accidents.

NASA discovered the benefits of Nomex the hard way. Apollo 1 is a landmark space mission that never left the ground. On January 27, 1967, the command module was destroyed by fire during a test and training exercise at Cape Kennedy. The crew aboard – Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee – died in the accident. Their deaths were attributed to a wide range of lethal design flaws in the spacecraft, ranging from its highly pressurized 100 percent oxygen atmosphere to the lack of protection afforded by the crew’s nylon flight suits.

The subsequent research into better fire protection for astronauts spilled over into the fire service. Two guys with the Houston Fire Department, John King and Jim Bland, approached NASA about developing some cutting edge PPE for firefighters. NASA handled the high tech research and firefighters took care of the low tech testing. That testing consisted of fitting together a test stand made from pipe, draping a fire coat over it and lighting a fire to see how Nomex? compared to the standard cotton coat.

There is no denying that PPE today is vastly superior to what was available in the pre-Nomex and pre-PBI world. And, yet, like Apollo 1, modern fire gear has its own set of design flaws that can turn lethal under the right conditions. As I have said many times and will continue to say ad infinitum, firefighters are protecting themselves to death. Every time a firefighter gets caught in a flash fire, we go back to the drawing board and make the bunker gear thicker, heavier and able to insulate against greater heat.

Unfortunately, insulation cuts both ways. The heat that the bunker gear seals out is also sealed in. In humid, subtropical South Texas the average summer temperature is in the high nineties. Yet, as a young firefighter, I don’t remember responders falling out due to the heat as often as it happens today. Those old canvas fire coats had one big advantage over the modern equivalent – it could breath. I remember routinely going through two and three air bottles at a single fire. Today, a responder working under the same conditions is lucky if he can fight fire for 20 minutes straight.

I can hear the chorus now — “Hey, David, quit living in the past.” True, industrial firefighters rarely get burned wearing modern PPE. But where we do see problems is in stress-related hazards such as heat exhaustion and heart attacks. The bottom line is that while we protect against the heat of the fire we are finding other ways to risk injury. Surely, there is room for compromise in the design of PPE. The sole purpose of PPE should not be to keep firefighters from getting burned. Firefighters do not need to be routinely placed in situations that call for them to walk through fire unscathed. Pushing the bunker gear to its tolerance limits gives responders a false sense of security. A firefighter might never realize the true extent of the danger until the bunker gear fails. Then it’s too late.

Endurance should be measured in how long you are able to deal with the emergency, not how long you are able to wear the PPE. Trading a few degrees of fire protection to extend the time a responder is able to function effectively is not unreasonable.

http://fireworld.com/Archives/tabid/93/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/86859/Daves-Notes–How-Much-Protection-Is-Too-Much.aspx

Police dog saves partner’s life after ambush attack in Mississippi woods

A police dog is being hailed a hero after the K9 saved the life of a Mississippi sheriff’s deputy, ripping into the men authorities say dragged the officer into the woods Monday in an ambush attack.

A manhunt is under way Wednesday for the three suspects who beat Hancock County Sheriff’s Deputy Todd Frazier and slashed him with a box cutter, The Clarion-Ledger reported.

“They told him they were going to slit his throat, and they were dragging him toward the woods,” Chief Deputy Don Bass told the newspaper.

Frazier’s life was saved Monday by his K9 partner, Lucas, a black Belgian Malinois who police say chased the assailants down before they could slit Frazier’s throat, according to the newspaper.

“He had blood all over him.”

– Sheriff Ricky Adam

Authorities said Frazier was able to activate the button that opens the door to his vehicle, releasing Lucas. Sheriff Ricky Adam told the newspaper the dog bit at least one, possibly two, of the suspects.

“We don’t know how many he got, we just know he had blood all over him,” Adam said.

The attack happened Monday when Frazier got out of his car to inspect a blue Lincoln Town Car with a darker vinyl top that was sitting at a rest stop, according to the newspaper. The driver appeared to be alone and the car’s lights were off.

“When he got out, two other people came out of the woods right by the vehicle, and he backed up and fell, and it was on then,” Adam told the paper.

Anyone with information on the case is urged to call the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department at 228-255-9191.

Dover Dash Cam Video Gains Global Attention – News – LawOfficer.com

DOVER, Del. (AP) — A video of a bald and burly Delaware police officer enthusiastically lip-syncing to Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off” is getting global attention.

The video, posted to the Dover Police Department’s Facebook page Friday, shows Master Cpl. Jeff Davis in uniform, driving a patrol car while lip-syncing to the popular pop song — sassy head rolls and finger-pointing included.

Department spokesman Cpt. Mark Hoffman said Saturday that he’s gotten calls about the video from news outlets in Australia, England, Germany, and throughout the U.S. It had 845,000 YouTube views and counting by Saturday afternoon.

Hoffman says Davis, a 19-year veteran, is “the class clown” and loved making the video. He says the 48-year-old father of four knows the song so well because of his 10-year-old daughter.

Dover Dash Cam Video Gains Global Attention – News – LawOfficer.com.

Pigs Once Again – Lifeline Training – LawOfficer.com

Lt. Jim Glennon | Thursday, September 4, 2014

“Pigs!” In the 1960s, it was a disparaging and all-too-familiar moniker; police officers around the country heard it directed at them on a daily basis.

“Pigs!” It continued through much of the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s but as long hair shortened, bell-bottoms narrowed and body piercings and tattoos replaced love-beads and Fu Manchus, the term and perspective began to fade.

“Pigs!” by the new millennium, was only a feint echo; all but disappearing in the mainstream.

I believe there are many reasons for this. Law enforcement embraced a community oriented policing philosophy; partnering with the community and listening to citizens and their concerns. Cops began walking beats again. They got on bikes and ATVs, and started Citizen Police Academies. Police organizations and unions became involved in charitable drives: the Special Olympics, Shopping with Cops and Running with Torches.

We listened to the community and modified our training, adding subjects such as cultural diversity, mental health issues, understanding the complexities of domestic violence, sexual assault prevention and advocating for victim’s rights. In addition, use of force training evolved and became more comprehensive, resulting in officers using less force when dealing with unruly subjects.

In short, cops were doing better jobs and putting in a collective effort to reconnect with the citizens they were paid to protect.

Fast-forward: August 2014, “Pigs” is back in vogue once again. At least it is if you follow certain members of the national media who are creating hysteria in spite of the true facts!

Some reporters and pundits are using extraordinarily negative terminology and applying malevolent motivations to the over 700,000 individuals in the law enforcement profession. Anchors, moderators, expert guests, and opinion journalists are describing police officers as militarized brutes, racists, storm-troopers, executioners, power hungry, out of control thugs and even murderers. Phrases such as “epidemic of violence from the police towards citizens” are being bandied about with unchallenged impunity despite reality, truths and statistics.

A woman named Michelle Bernard on a national broadcast insinuated that what happened in Ferguson, Mo. is an example of a “war on black boys” by the police and opined that the result could be “genocide.”

Genocide!? Where the hell are any kind of stats, anywhere, to suggest anything remotely like that is happening between cops and young black men? And her comment was virtually unopposed by anyone else on the panel.

No one knows what really happened in Ferguson except a limited few. Relative information is not being released (which is contributing to some of the paranoia) and nature abhors a vacuum so there is no shortage of pundits willing to simply jump in and make stuff up.

But, Pigs?

Here are some stats gleaned from such organizations as the National Institute of Justice:

2011: Police officers had direct contact with citizens more than 40 million times. 1,146 of those people were shot (not killed) by police. That means out of all the people police encountered approximately 0.00002865% were shot. If you consider that there are over 320 million people in the country that would mean 0.00000358125% of them were shot by cops.

2012: There were approximately 12 million arrests, which equals about 34,000 per day: slightly over 400 were killed by police. And almost all of them were killed because they were an immediate deadly threat to an officer or the public. Which means that at the times of those shootings, cops were saving lives.

The Truth: Cops are not “gunning down” people in the US. Are there mistakes, overzealousness, an overreaction to stress on occasion; yes, and we have to accept that and do something about it when those occasions happen. If a crime is committed by a police officer, criminal charges need be filed; No doubt.

But a war on the citizenry? Genocide being perpetrated by the police? Storm-troopers taking over cities?

Pigs?

I’ve been in law enforcement for more than 30 years. I’ve seen more than I care to share with people who don’t need to know such evil exists. I’m no different than every other cop out there, and let me guarantee you this; we feel. We are not heartless, nonhuman, Neanderthals looking to inflict pain. In fact, it’s the damn exact opposite. We beg, beg people not to resist, not to fight! And the stats are there to prove it; but why bother with reality?

Pigs?

We are attacked tens of thousands of times a year. We are wounded, paralyzed, put in comas that last decades, and are killed. We’ve been shot with every type of gun including our own; by people who were originally “unarmed.”

Our attackers are young, old, male, female, small, large, weak and strong. Some have extensive criminal records, some have never been in trouble in their lives. We’ve been stabbed with swords, commando knives, kitchen utensils and box cutters.

We also jump into rivers, run into burning buildings, reach into cars aflame, hold victims who need it and cry with people hurting and feeling the deepest of loss.

When somebody is shooting up a mall, university, or movie theatre, we are the ones running toward the gunfire, not knowing how many assailants there may be, what type of firepower they are wielding, where they are and if there will be any opportunity for cover or chance to survive!

We lay on the street holding dying children, women, men, pets and yes, other police officers. We knock on doors in the middle of the night and tell sleepy unsuspecting parents that the child they saw just a few hours ago is in the morgue. We hear and feel their subsequent pain and do our best to comfort them in those impossible situations. And we often ask God: Why?

We find lifeless children in ponds, pools and lagoons. We listen to seven-year-olds describe being raped by uncles. We try and calm women who are beaten so badly that they can’t enunciate words or open a swollen eye. And we try and control our rage as we listen to them tell us not to make an arrest because it was all their fault, all while the degenerate husband laughs and calls her a bitch in our presence.

We stand next to officers who get shot. We hold their hands and hug them as they die. We watch the flags get folded and handed to children who don’t understand why someone would purposely kill their mommy.

We go home and try our best to have normal lives. We hug our kids, help with chores, coach little league and do whatever it takes to hide the ugly side of humanity from our families.

We see the murders, the suicides, the mentally unstable. We help the homeless, give the unfortunate rides, hand a few bucks to the hungry, buy shoes for the shoeless, and get families into hotel rooms in order to protect them from the cold and the monsters looking for prey.

Pigs?

Here’s my challenge for you who dare to yell “Pig” and cast baseless assertions on an entire profession while having no idea what we do or what you are talking about.

You try it. Do what we do. See what we see. Hear what we hear. Feel what we feel. You try and handle the fear that we experience. Make the decisions that we have to make in the blink of an eye. Decisions that will be second-guessed and sometimes haunt us for years.

Live in our shoes for a year, then see if you think we are all still pigs.

Pigs Once Again – Lifeline Training – LawOfficer.com.

You’re Just a Cop. For what it’s worth. – The Police Wife Life

What will it take to see the truth about law enforcement?

Our Law Enforcement Officers are being murdered as well as laying down their lives on duty every 58 hours. They are being shot while sitting at traffic lights. Executed in coffee shops and on their lunch breaks. Lured into ambushes and blown away while removing debris from the roadway, or while responding to an alarm call which was a set up. They are being killed in their own driveways, while off duty. They are being shot inside their own preceincts.

If celebrities or professional athletes were being targeted, shot and murdered to the tune of one dead every 58 hours there would be an instant demand for answers and protection. There would be a national cry to stop the violence before it impacted reality tv or sports center.

Regardless of proven statistics which tell us otherwise, our officers continue to get blamed as a whole for the actions of less than one percent*. Regardless of common sense in a world where we have all encountered a bad mechanic, doctor, plumber, we blame ALL cops for the few.  Regardless of countless corrupt priests, teachers, crooked judges and lawyers, we do not condemn their entire profession, it’s asinine to even consider. But with law enforcement, it is instant condemnation of all.

What exactly does an officer have to do for you to say his/her life has worth? What will it take for you to see the family waiting at home, praying theirs isn’t the next officer down? What will it take for the citizens of this country to say without them, who will make these sacrifices?  Will you? Are you ready to be the target? Are you ready to line up your family and friends and know one of you will not come home every other day?

Our law enforcement officers are humans. When will it be enough to say something’s got to give?  Even for those who hate the police….you’ll be the first to dial 911 when you need them and you will expect them to run lights blazing to your rescue, after all, you pay their salary.

What happens when they say, sorry, it’s too dangerous, you’re on your own. You hate us anyway, so do as you see fit. YOU stand in front of the bullet and protect your own family. You pry your mangled wife out of the wreckage you caused while drunk and give her CPR in front of your children. You stand in the pouring rain in the dead of night on an expressway and protect your own car from being hit by a semi until the tow truck gets there. You unlock your own car you left your keys in. You change your own tire when 8 months pregnant in 102 degree heat. You stand in front of your own abusive husband and his weapon and his fist and tell him to leave your home without harming you.

You get in your own car and race to stop someone who stole from you or hit your car a few miles back. You enter your neighborhood store and approach a masked man with a shotgun and reason with him not to kill you or those in the store.  You go knock on the neighbor’s door who has a warrant, a house full of weapons and a sign on the door that says “don’t tread on me”.

You watch for drunks out of control on the highway in an ice storm. You pray they don’t kill you. You respond to suicide calls and cut teenagers from makeshift nooses in their garages or scrape their brain matter out of the soles of your boots. You tell their parents what happened while they were out socializing, again.

You walk into a house with no power in 105 degree heat containing the bodies of an entire family, including babies, now maggot infested and unidentifiable by anything other than the stench of rotten death.  You walk up to cars who have nearly run you off the road only to be met with a gun in your face and no time to react.  

You try and coax a brutally beaten and savagely raped teenager the same age as your own daughter out of the closet where she was left to die as she holds a knife to her own throat. You convince her tomorrow will be better.

You hate the police? You have no use for them? You think they’re worthless?  Do it yourself. Worry about it all on your own. You surely can do better. You surely are wiser than those lazy, corrupt, doughnut eating fools you don’t give the time of day to when you hear they were gunned down while you went on about your business.  Please, give them a rest and do it yourself.

You might want to hug your family and have your affairs in order before you head out, there’s a very real chance you’ll never make it home, of course that’s no big deal….you signed up for that, and my tax dollars allow me to ignore your worth. After all, you’re just a cop. 

Oh, and you sure as hell better do it all perfectly, every single time. After all, you’re not human anymore. You’re just a cop. No one cares if you get it right…but you sure as hell better never get it wrong…because a good cop who did get it right will get his head blown off in an entirely different state if you screw up. That goes for you too, by the way. Better pray all 740,000 do right by that badge today, if not… It’s all on you, because all cops are bad cops, right?

Melissa Littles, Founder
TPWL© 2014

The Police Wife Life, LLC 

You’re Just a Cop. For what it’s worth. – The Police Wife Life.

New study links firefighters, increased risk for cancer – WCIV-TV | ABC News 4 – Charleston News, Sports, Weather

By Victoria Hansen
vkhansen@sbgtv.com

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) — They do what most would never dare — rush into burning buildings saving lives and homes. But many firefighters are now dying from something that stays with them long after the flames are out.

“The tumor was larger than a baseball,” said Goose Creek Fire Chief Steve Chapman.

Chief Chapman was diagnosed with cancer five years ago. Sharp stomach pains sent him to the doctor. A biopsy revealed the bitter truth. He had colon cancer, one of the leading killers of men.

“I was really shocked because there has really been no significant history in my family of any kind of cancer,” he said.

Fortunately the cancer was caught early. But the now 51-year-old man who has been fighting fires since he was a teen still wonders why he ended up with cancer.

“It come from out of nowhere and it really makes you wonder if it’s not because of my profession,” Chapman said.

Several recent medical studies, including one from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, show firefighters are at an increased risk for cancer, especially respiratory, urinary and digestive.

Some show testicular cancer rates are double the rate seen in the rest of the population.

Researcher now believe not only exposure at the scene, but all of the soot and caked on carcinogens on their gear worn over and over again are quietly killing firefighters.

The Goose Creek Fire Department knows all too well.

“Losing Steve has changed our department in a lot of ways,” said Chief Chapman.

Firefighter Steve Skipton was just 41 years old when cancer ravaged his kidneys, lungs and pelvis. It robbed four children of their father, and a wife of her love.

It was a loss felt through other departments as well.

“I used to think I was invincible,” said North Charleston Fire Captain Samuel Gadson. “Hey you do this kind of job being a fireman, you run into burning buildings. Look now you got something that can actually kill you.”

Captain Gadson was diagnosed with thyroid cancer earlier this year. A new, more expensive physical that included ultrasound caught it early.

“If [North Charleston Fire Chief Greg Bulanow] hadn’t come in and done this, then my detection would have gone unnoticed unless I personally asked for an ultrasound to be done,” said Captain Gadson.

It opened the department’s eyes.

“We didn’t know what to expect the first time we did such an in depth physical like that,” said Chief Bulanow.

What they found was 25 of 230 firefighters tested — nearly one-fifth — had nodules on their thyroids. Not all were cancer, but the chief’s was.

“Certainly I want to be here to take care of my family and also do my job, but I consider myself very fortunate to have found it early,” said Chief Bulanow.

Both the Chief and Captain Gadson have been fighting fires for more than 20 years. They believe those fires are even more deadly now. They’re fueled not just by wood, but by plastics.

“Now it’s primarily synthetic materials that burn hotter and produce very toxic smoke,” said Chief Bulanow.

“It used to be a badge of honor to always have that dirty gear, that tarred up helmet and that dirty mask,” said Captain Gadson. “That’s the way it was. Now I know better.”

It’s a strange sight in the department, but a huge, $7,000 washing machine now sits in the fire house off Dorchester Road. Firefighters are not only encouraged to shower, but their gear is cleaned. The chief is even working on getting two sets of gear for every firefighter.

“This is a significant investment in the health and welfare of our people,” said Chief Bulanow.

It’s an investment the chief and others hope will pay off for generations to come.

“If we can take that and decrease the numbers every year by us following the right safety measures that we have to follow then I’ll take that every day, all day,” said Captain Gadson.

For a closer look at the NIOSH study, click here.

If you or someone you know is a firefighter struggling with medical bills due to a cancer diagnosis, we’d like to hear from you. Just contact Victoria Hansen at vkhansen@sbgtv.com

New study links firefighters, increased risk for cancer – WCIV-TV | ABC News 4 – Charleston News, Sports, Weather.