As another National Law Enforcement Memorial week comes to an end, it is hard not to reflect on the reality of the line of work my husband has chosen.
As I sit here writing this, there is an alert on my phone: another law enforcement officer was shot and killed.
As my husband slips on his black boots, this is what goes through my mind. Those boots are the sign it is time for him to go into the darkness to answer calls for help and stop those who are unlawful on his streets.
Each day as law enforcement officers leave their homes to hit the streets there are those who love them at home, wondering if that would be the last goodbye.
I am immensely proud of what the love of my life does for a living, but it’s definitely not easy. The daily roller coaster of feelings is quite often exhausting.
In nine years as the wife of a public servant, I’ve been able to come up with ways to cope with the knowledge of the danger he faces.
Surround yourself with others who are in the same boat. This is important during all phases of being the family of a police officer, but it’s most important when you’re just at the beginning. There are so many challenges you may have never expected when you become a police wife, and having those who’ve been there, done that can be an invaluable part of your own “coping tool belt”.
A great way to get support is Facebook. Try checking out some of the groups that are for “LEO Wives”, especially those that are set to “closed.” This ensures no one can see the content of the group, which will help you get the most out of it. Being able to speak freely, make any comments you have on your mind, and ask any questions you have, you will feel better about what it is you are going through.
From how to talk to your children about the danger of the job to how to deal with the crazy shifts to the challenges of sending your husband with a decent lunch, these groups are sure to have many other police wives who have dealt with or who are dealing with similar topics.
Learning more about what he actually does on the job can help calm anxiety. What we create in our minds is not always what our husbands are heading into.
It’s easy to have a lot of misconceptions about his reality, what with all the crime shows on television and stories on the news.
Ask your husband to explain how his job works. Ask him to tell you the steps involved in serving a warrant, for example. He can send you a message when the warrant is over letting you know he is safe. This easy gesture can help ease your anxiety.
News spreads quickly these days, but sometimes the details are fuzzy or inaccurate. Your husband will likely know when the neighboring town has a newsworthy incident occur. If the report of those incidents suggests an officer had an injury or possibly killed, fear can flood your entire body quickly.
If he knows of an incident nearby, ask him to reach out to let you know he is safe. The incident often will be on the social media waves quickly which means you probably know about it. A quick text to help your fears is an easy solution.
Even though this plan may be in place it does not mean that he will always be able to reach out. This is a great time to connect with your support systems.
One way to relieve anxiety about what could happen is to prepare for that worst-case scenario.
Rather than tiptoeing around the situation and allowing it to become a big, scary thing, talk about it. Meet it head-on. Get your affairs in order.
If you’re not sure how to go about doing this, The Wills for Heroes group offers free legal document preparation for first responders and their spouses.
It’s not easy to talk about, but making more things known can help make the unknown less scary.
Being in a law enforcement family means a lot of fear and anxiety. Even though this is the case, no other job is more courageous, more respectable, or more honorable than the job our husbands do. We as their loved ones must be brave and must be the heartbeat behind the badge.
Stephanie has been happily married to her Police Sergeant husband for 8 years. They have two dogs that are spoiled more than most kids.
Stephanie was a police officer for 9 years until a back injury ended her career in policing. She switched to the other side of the radio as a dispatcher. She now does policy development along with handling her police department’s training and accreditation. Having the grand slam experience as an officer, dispatcher, and wife to an officer Stephanie brings a unique perspective to this crazy weird public safety world we live in and love. She blogs at The Blue Line Warrior.
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