American Faces No. 81
My heroes have always been cops (informal term for police officer). I know that is not how the song goes and that my blog title may be somewhat unpopular. Having said that, let me provide some backstory to my feelings. My dad was a law enforcement officer who served from 1963-1996 for the City of Plymouth. He was my hero as well as others he served alongside; this is where Dave D. enters. He was one of the other heroes.
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I met Dave in the 1970’s when I was just a little kid, and he was a young officer. I remember looking up at him with his dark uniform, shiny badge, and great big smile. Well at least that is what I think I remember. One memory in particular sticks in my brain. Dave was over at my house with my dad. He proceeded to tickle me, and my reaction was to call him a “PIG”. I knew when I said it that it was a very derogatory word for a police officer. Well, the mere utterance of that word from my lips sent my dad into disciplinary action with me in his sights. I think 9-year-old me would have been in less trouble had I had whiskey in a glass and a stubby cigar in my mouth than to have ever uttered those words. Ok, now with that background and my early years’ connection to Dave let me give you the 411 on him (Fancy lingo I know;-)) Dave was a compassionate police officer who did his best to make the world a better place from 1973 until his retirement in October of 1997 Dave mentioned times when he would stop and grab a burger for the person who was in the back seat of his patrol car. He wanted to care for the person, not just condemn the criminal. He knew he might be the last smiling face to be seen for a while.
Being a cop is not an easy job. There is incredible stress with the occupation. I saw that stress in my dad and I know for certain Dave experienced it also. That stress changes the way an officer looks at life, wondering if he will be home after his shift or not and seeing some of the worst aspects of human life. Knowing what a cop’s life is like is why cops are my heroes. They took an oath to “Serve & Protect” at all costs. Dave D. did that. Was he perfect? Nope but neither are you the reader, nor me the writer. So should we then let the media form our opinion. I think not!
So next time you see an officer say hi, wave to him or her over the steering wheel, say thank you or maybe pay the food tab at a restaurant. Or if you are funny and weird like me, bring donuts and coffee to your local police department and tell them they are welcome at your home anytime!