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Opinion: It's not just officers who walk the thin blue line

HOLLYWOOD, MD -- I can’t help but see the uniform before the person when it comes to police officers and other law enforcement personnel. I never thought about their loved ones before I started this assignment. 

I didn't see the weight they carry, both physical with the gear they have to haul around, or the emotional weight of knowing that some people will hate them on sight simply because of the uniform.  And with every profession, there are going to be good people and bad people who wear the badge.

Louise and Jill, two police wives I spoke to recently, are both spirited and generous women. I was both intimidated and thrilled to be around such strong women, who walk side by side with their husbands as they pursue their careers of serving the community.

“I knew when my husband became a cop and we got married that I would have to give it all to God,” said Louise. She recognized that there would be ‘those phone calls’ where he was hurt on the job or involved in something more serious than pulling someone over for speeding.

“I wouldn’t be able to do this if I didn’t have faith,” said Louise.

Jill and her husband have military backgrounds, and I can feel the pride she has for her country and community. She then told me that her husband doesn’t even feel safe walking into a gas station in uniform when he gets off work.

“I want to show how proud I am of my husband and what he does for a living. When I see him in uniform, I see safety and security,” said Jill.

She told me she wanted to wear the hearts proclaiming that she is a cop’s wife, or apply bumper stickers with the same message to her vehicle. 

“I don’t want to be targeted. I don’t feel safe bragging about my husband, and it’s a shame because of what he gives to the community and who he protects,” she said.

Underneath the gear and the badge is another human being trying to do what they think is right. The men and women in uniform are trained to make split second decisions, and because perfection is impossible, mistakes will be made while on the job.

They have loved ones waiting at home for them, their dinner left cold or uneaten because they were out on the job. They miss out on their children's lives sometimes when they're trying to save other children from house fires or abusive homes or other situations. 

While I sit on the sidelines and report what is happening, these people are making a difference. While people sit back and complain about the bad cops, the good cops are out there doing the best they can to keep the community accountable for their actions. They’re willing to run towards the danger, and I admire their courage and ambition to protect their communities. 

All we ever hear about is the bad cops and what they did to make other law enforcement personnel look bad. I think it's time to hear about the good cops and what they give to the community, and their families who give their loved ones to us. 

Contact Jaccqui Atkielski at j.atkielski@thebaynet.com

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