The Return Story

Photo by Ashland Police Department

I have been attempting to write this post for a long time, but I really want to be intentional about outwardly processing Tom moving back into law enforcement. For one it is not just my experience, and I need to be respectful of Tom’s journey to get to this place. And with being pregnant and having Walt, it has been difficult to have the brain power to find the right words to say.

One of the things I love about blogging though is that it is an opportunity to share stories and perspectives. There are a lot of emotions and opinions around police officers, and I am cognizant of what that means. I am not going to touch on all of it here today, but here is just a part of our story.

To give a little history, when Tom and I had our first date in 2007, he expressed his desire to be a police officer after we graduated college. It has been all that he has ever wanted and worked for ever since I have known him. He has had many road blocks to achieve this and spent many years adding different experiences to his tool belt in order to be welcomed onto a department.

In 2014, Tom left the Army and we moved back to MO for what we thought was his dream job as a police officer. What would transpire in the next three years became a nightmare instead of the dream that he always envisioned.

What he experienced with that police department was the definition of toxicity. He was not supported by other officers, and it was very much a “good ol’ boys” system. He attempted to change the dynamic in the community by building relationships and being out there in the streets but often was chastised by his colleagues for his proactive nature. He didn’t believe in doing things by rank and wanted to impact his town positively but was told repeatedly he was wrong. He would make suggestions for improvements or find trainings to approach things differently, and the negativity and backlash that he faced showed me that this department didn’t actually want to work for their community. This department made him feel like he was on an island because he didn’t fit their definition. He wanted to be better. I am here to tell you that this is the kind of department that many around the country complain about.

But never the less, Tom doesn’t half-ass anything. He was always trying to do good and learn more, and the job became all consuming because he felt he had to prove he was worthy of being there and more than just a rookie. His fellow officers though felt that there was nothing that this new guy could bring to the table and tried many times to break him. He was seeking value from people who could care less about him. There was a lack of respect, and they were constantly trying to beat the drive out of him with very childish and outlandish behavior from those who claim to be professionals with “high moral fibers.” What was happening among his colleagues began to affect our marriage and our home life tremendously.

In 2018, due to the apparent way that this department spit on him when he needed help, Tom made the decision to leave this “dream job” to work as a court Marshall, which was still law enforcement but with 9-5 hours. It was an opportunity for him to still be a cop but focus on our family a little more which was very much needed at the time since Daphne had just joined our family. It was a chance for him to step back and reevaluate what being a cop meant for him.

After working at the courthouse for some time, it was clear that this job was an illusion of law enforcement. Anyone who knows Tom is that he likes to be out where the action is. He likes to move and observe people out in the community. He was slowly losing himself at the courthouse.

But because of the toxic nature of the PD department he left, he was not sure he would be able to get back in to being a street cop. They had basically sullied his name in this area because he asked for help and tried to do things differently.

The reality though was that Tom just wasn’t himself. As a family we made a conscious decision that if he couldn’t be a street cop, he would leave law enforcement entirely to be able to just be a family man and help us to become more financially secure in a different job market. In the end, it was difficult for him to wear a uniform but not actually be able to do the type of police work he felt called to do.

So in 2019, he left law enforcement entirely to work an office job of selling mortgages to veterans. At the beginning, working at VU was really freeing. He finally felt valued, and his hard work was being praised. We had more family time than we had ever had, and we were able to focus on more of our family goals.

However as the months passed, we could all sense that there was something nagging at Tom. Working a desk job started having him miss what could have been as an officer. There was a lot of doubt and anger at what had transpired in his time as an officer. He felt as though he had given up on himself and his dreams. It was like he was reliving every decision that had brought him there over and over, which made for some dark months. Oh the conversations we had about regret, resentment, and such loss…

Then the pandemic hit and the protests happened last spring. These world events coupled with being stuck working in our makeshift basement offices provided a pivotal moment for him. Not having the ability to do something in the midst of what was happening in our world (whether it be due to the pandemic or the social impacts on the protests) really touched him. He was frustrated that he felt helpless and wasn’t contributing to the solution. It made him angry and bitter that he let some old “seasoned” officers force him out of a job that he loves because they were scared of the idea of what Tom brought to the table. He challenged the typical culture, and for that he was blackballed and eventually pushed out of that department.

So why return to a job that did nothing to support Tom?

Again, if you knew Tom in person, being a police officer is just a part of him. For the two years that he wasn’t on the streets, you could tell that there was something missing. There was no doubt that we did have some great moments in these two years having more time as a family. However, something needed to change. He wasn’t fulfilling his purpose. And having gone through a professional crisis myself, I knew that just because our family life was good, we weren’t going to replace that feeling of purpose completely for him. Nor would I want to ask him to because I know that would cause more issues down the road for us all. I didn’t want him to continue to become a shell of himself or worse resent the normalcy that our life had become.

Tom did go to counseling for some time to help process all of this. Honestly, it was like the police department was an abusive relationship that he needed to heal from. There was a lot of shady things that occurred that I will not share here. Even now, two and a half years later, his old department finds ways to interfere with his professional life. At best it’s a bother, and at worst it has bordered on illegal. Before he moved on to a new department, he needed to put himself in a better position to not have those negative feelings of distrust.

Through the growth and self-reflection, and then seeing the events happening in our country, he was itching to get back to law enforcement. He wants to make our communities safe. He wants better for our kids. He wanted more.

Then a God thing happened. A position opened up in our small town, and it was like everything just came together. He was ready, and here was an opportunity for him to return in the town we live in! And the department was everything that the other was not, so we were hopeful for a fresh start for him.

It still was a lot for us to process as a family. Being a police officer’s family isn’t just a simple thing. There are a lot of emotions and things tied up in it for us as well. I still had anxiety from how our marriage was the last time, and here we were newly pregnant with our third kid. We had to be very mindful of how this time would be different for us and our family moving forward.

And the culture currently isn’t just something we could ignore. There is a lot to unpack here as a family who is choosing this life. This is not the post to address all the situations of privilege in depth because I wanted to set the stage of our lived experience. I hope that those reading see that by highlighting Tom’s desire to return to law enforcement, does not mean that we are minimizing how others are impacted by law enforcement. We know that there are not good cops out there. We have seen them first hand. It was the toxic nature that forced Tom out of the job in the first place. We know the way law enforcement is viewed and the impacts of that. We have many conversations about the type of police officer he strives to be. He wants to be part of the change, and we understand the realities and duty that brings us as a family as well. As much as we know that bad cops exist, we very much believe there are good ones, with Tom among those ranks.

Remember, when we first met, all he wanted was to be was a cop. I wanted him to have that again, and I know that he would not be himself if he didn’t at least try to get that back. When you watch a loved one struggle and you know there is an opportunity to fix that, you want to do everything in your power to make it work.

So last May he went after his dream again. After a long interview process, he was sworn in as an officer earlier this fall, and here we are months later.

Tom is different this time around. It is amazing what a difference some self-reflection can do. Couple that with a supportive environment, and it has just been amazing to see the stark contrast of how he comes home and the influence he has. He is surrounded by officers who value his opinion and actually listen to his ideas. While it’s a small department and different than what he had envisioned all those years ago on our first date, this has been the perfect position for him. It turns out that this small department offers many opportunities that a large department would never have done for him. This department hears him out and lets him be his unique self, which is really bringing the best skill set to the table. He is REALLY good at begin a cop, and to see that being noticed and actually respected by his peers makes things drastically different. He gets to be part of the solution, and that has been really cool to witness. I am proud to see it all coming together and that he is able to honor his values while in a position of service to our community.

We may have lost some of our family routines and our meal times together, however we got Tom back. He is much more present when he is home and happier than I have seen him in maybe our entire relationship. And to be honest, we don’t see his time away from law enforcement as a waste. The last couple years has helped put things in perspective of what is valuable for not only his career but how the right department can respect the juxtaposition of being a cop, having a family, and him as a human being. Because he moved to this department, he will have so many opportunities to engage in the community and schools where our kids will grow up. He gets to interact with them in ways we never would have gotten previously. He has goals for his career that are being invested in by his supervisors. He can actually be out there helping the community and getting to know their needs.

At each point, it has not been an easy decision to move and pivot as things happened along his career. One thing that has been important to Tom though is how this has impacted us as a family. We have talked this through every which way at every step: when to go to the Army, when to apply for many PD jobs, when to step back and when to try again. Ultimately for me as his wife, everything came down to what is going to make Tom feel full. It has not been an easy road. The decisions have put us to the test on more than one occasion, and there is a lot on the line. There has been a lot of growth for both of us on how we want to navigate this as a team.

However, I have known from day one that loving him meant I would be a police officer’s wife.

Photo by Ashland Police Department

“Not Enough Training” They Say

11091388_10100771058365221_6676376369903130265_nThis weekend marked a big milestone in Tom’s career.

It was the first time he patrolled on his own.

He has officially moved past his training phase.

If you didn’t recall, he started this police position last December.

9 months ago.

I don’t know about you, but there aren’t many jobs that I know of that don’t let you out on your own for 9 months after you start.

Since there are a lot of people out there in the world (media) saying that police officers need more training, I thought I would shed some light on Tom’s training process.

(Disclaimer, I am speaking from our experience. Many departments will have similar structures but their timeline may be shorter/longer depending on size and demands of their officers. It also will look vastly different if they are hired with a police academy under their belt.)

Let’s start from the beginning.

Tom started working PD a week before Christmas in 2014. He had about 2 weeks of HR and administrative training. He also did some ride-alongs with other officers at this time. During this time, he went through some hand-gun retention training and taser facilitation from his department.

From January to April, he was in the Academy. The Academy he went through was an independent course that certifies officers in Missouri; so several different departments and individuals around the state attend here. The Academy is set up like a school where they are typically in class from 9-5, Monday-Friday. There were also many (many) nights that they did scenarios as well. So it was well beyond 40 hours a week most weeks. The academy is mixed between an actual classroom setting and situational training.

There is nothing that is just a lecture or just experiential learning. Everything had a classroom component before you did hands on training. For example, defensive driving had a whole classroom portion that talks about all the physics of the turns and the mechanics of the vehicle before they ever get to the range. This way the officers have a foundation before they have the experience. So they spent about 12 hours of classroom time talking about it, and then another 12 hours out on an airport tarmac actually driving a car through an obstacle course.

IMG_0030These are just a few of the topics that were covered during his time in the academy.

  • communication
  • constitutional law
  • criminal law
  • traffic law
  • driving while intoxicated
  • hand guns and shot guns
  • pepper-spray (everyone gets sprayed)
  • control defense tactics (hand-to-hand)
  • investigations:  homicide, rape, burglary, etc.
  • building searches
  • use of force and justification

IMG_0293They also had a variety of guest speakers from a different agencies that police officers may work with (Conservation, Lawyers, etc.).

Again, this is not an exhaustive list because the class is 4 months long, and I am not writing out the curriculum for you. I don’t have time for that here! It is hard to do justice to all of it because of nature of content.

Edit:  As someone pointed out, the concern is often that they are not trained on diversity issues. I assure you that human differences was not only it’s own topic, they discussed how to work with various groups and individual identities during every lecture and practical application. On each topic there were points made on how culture and group dynamics will impact how you handle the situation. They are constantly making observations and assessing how best to approach the community to help serve resolutions and leave the community better and safer. They receive constant training on mental issues, diversity, bias, equality, etc. It is interwoven into every broader training session because they are always dealing with people’s identities no matter what the situation may be. They are constantly challenged to be counselors, negotiators, problem-solvers, and more, so yes they do talk and are trained about diversity issues. On the daily.

There were regular exams throughout the Academy, approximately one a week. Tom said they were harder than any college course that he took. (And he has a degree in Criminal Law.) You had to receive an 80% or you failed. If you fail the test, you could take one retake, and the tests were not the same. You have to pass the retake or you are done. And you are only allowed to do two retakes in the entire course. And done means that you are kicked out of the academy. So academically you had to be pretty sound.

IMG_0162Not included with those content tests, they also had weekly spelling tests on police related words. On top of all of this, they had to do weekly reports to practice their report writing.

Those were the in-class assessments. There were also exams on the practicals. You could only miss so much out of each exercise. The practicals are meant to imitate real life scenarios and environments constantly throwing different variables and you had to complete certain objectives to pass. For example, they brought in community member volunteers, got them drunk, and practiced field sobriety testing.

IMG_0323Separate from classroom hours, there was also physical training. There were PT tests throughout the course, and there were standardized requirements they had to meet each time.

As I stated, the Academy lasted 4 months. You are essentially trying to pack the equivalent of a college degree into four months.

IMG_0364For Tom’s academy, many of them were not paid to be there. Only 5 out of the 36 were already hired. So they were working a job that they weren’t getting paid for. Actually, they had to pay to complete. And since many weeks were 50-60 hours, it made it difficult to do anything outside of it to cover those costs. (People did though!)

There are other academies that are longer, and there are others that are shorter. Some are put on by the state, and some are put on by individual departments.

Two days after he graduated, Tom was commissioned as an officer, however he entered his probationary phase with the department. He was assigned a Field Training Officer (FTO) who is responsible for Tom’s training on the “streets.”

He was with his FTO from late April until just this last weekend.

The first couple days or week, you are just observing that officer. After those first few days, the new officer (Tom) is running the calls and the FTO is assisting. The whole point of FTO is for them to slowly phase out the instruction. So by this last week, Tom was ready to be out on his own.

IMG_0369This may look completely different for departments who ride two man all the time. Tom is in a department that you are solo in your car majority of the time so you have to prepare for that.

During this time, the new officer is handling real calls, driving the car, and interacting with the community based on his training and instruction from his FTO.

During the last few months, Tom also shadowed other areas of the department besides street patrol.

He spent a week with the traffic unit. This unit specifically deals with traffic enforcement and accident investigation.

He spent a week with detectives. As Tom described it, he spent a week detecting things. In all seriousness, he did interviews following a shooting that happened in town. So he worked with the team to find out more details and track down leads.

Lastly, he spent a week with the Community Action Team. This is group who is trying to be more proactive with police work. There is not a real mission description; they deal with whatever is the pressing issue and try to proactively look for solutions within the community.

With his FTO, Tom had daily checks. There was this big binder of things they had to go over. His performance was reviewed daily. There was a report done at the end of each shift on how he was doing. Again, he had to meet certain markers throughout the process, otherwise your FTO period could be extended (or you could get fired).

Now Tom is officially on his own, however, he is still on probation until December. You are on probation for your first year after being hired.

IMG_0123Canine officers and SWAT go through even more individualized training. For his department, you have to be an officer so many years with positive annual reviews before you can be eligible for an interview for those positions.

This is just what new officers typically go through. Outside of this and his now normal work-week, there is more training for all officers on the force. They have an in-service at least once a month. There are 4 weapons qualifications annually. There are also open trainings available every month that are optional.

You can also look outside the department for training and request funding for those. These are generally more specialty things that an individual wants to do. If the whole department needs the training, generally the department will bring it to the officers in house.

As Tom’s FTO said to him, “You always have to be a student of the game.” You learn tons of stuff every day. At the end of every day, you will be better. You can learn everything you want in a classroom, however, there is still so much to learn on the streets and in your own car. The training is designed to show you if cop life is for you or not. Tom’s academy lost 5 people, and more than half the class still do not have a law enforcement job. It’s hard to make this an actual career because of the demands.

The training for police is completely overwhelming. But it has to be because the situations they deal with are overwhelming. They learn how to be calm and level-headed when everything around them is chaos. (It makes it kind of obnoxious now because Tom is even more of a cool cat when I am freaking out. My things seem pretty less dramatic after dealing with a community member who thought someone had broken into their house to place flies on their flytrap. True story.)

IMG_0329Notice that Tom is eating Mike and Ikes after being sprayed. That’s my hubby.

So this is just a brief look at the training. It is about as summarized and condensed as I could make it but still show the complexity and length of it. I hope that this shows that there is actually a lot that goes into training officers, and no subject is off the table. I wish that the community realizes that while they have a better part of a year in training, there are just some situations and skills that cannot be taught in a training setting. Could there be more training, well absolutely. I think every human being could say that about any job (or about being a human being). From my perspective, almost a year’s worth of training (and a college degree for most people) is pretty substantial to get an officer started. I just want people to look at all sides of the issue instead of just trusting media headlines.

If you have any questions about the training, please don’t hesitate to ask. Tom is pretty open about everything.

It Must Be Easy

You know when you hear something being passed around as truth and you know in your heart that what is being said is no where near the truth?

Well that is how I feel about how cops are being portrayed these days. Now, I understand my bias because my husband is one, but I also believe that gives me the right to speak up about truths that I see.

There are a lot of things being said about who is being hired as a cop and that departments need to up the ante on their qualifications. I am not sure that these people who are making these statements are even aware of the process that most law enforcement officers go through in order to get hired.

My husband was practically in a law enforcement job search for seven full years before he was officially offered a position. He started his first internship two years prior to his first application. So really he had been after this officer job for almost an entire decade before he was hired. Each time he was told no, he went after another credential to add to his resume. To get the job, Tom had to get a degree in criminal justice, have various internships, and go to war for this country. He has applied to positions in 3 different states (Missouri, Texas, and Iowa). He has been in the process in large cities, small college towns, county departments, and various sizes in the middle. There are several departments that he applied to more than once as well.

To say we know a little bit about police hiring processes would be an understatement. There is a file box completely devoted to his hiring search history.

So what does a person go through in a police officer process?

Again Tom has been through between 25-30 different processes, and all of them have similar ingredients. They may vary on when each step occurs, but generally we have seen each of these in every process.

1. Application.

  • Usually this is pretty basic. It establishes that you meet the minimum state requirements to be a police officer. If you meet the qualifications, you are allowed to test at this point.

2. Physical Training Test

  • Being a physically demanding job, there are some standards that they want to make sure you can meet. It is always a series of push-up, sit-ups, and a run. Some departments will have an obstacle course or a flexibility test as well.

3. Written Exam

  • This is a test that measures your general knowledge and critical thinking skills. It is a standardized test that you can’t really study for.

These are generally the first steps. If you do not pass these, you do not move into the next round.

4. Background Check

  • This is the worst part. Some can be 80 pages long with the documentation you provide. You have to sign a waiver that they can access all kinds of records or contact anyone in the packet. The background check is really your full life. Every address you have ever had, any roommates and their current address, full work history, references which cannot be a repeat of any person you have already listed, bank information, and so much more. They ask for the password to your Facecbook and email. Tom even had to list all of my parents information. They dig deep.

5. Interviews

  • Often there are several of these at varying levels of the process. Usually you will have one with the chief, a panel of officers, and a separate background interview. All of these are pretty intense interviews. Rarely are people asked the type of situational questions officers-to-be are asked. These interviews are attempting to gain an idea of your character and moral being with hypothetical questions. Also typically if you are interviewing with the chief, that means a good thing. But even then that is not a guarantee, as we learned in Iowa.

6. A ride along

  • This is where you ride with an officer to observe a traditional shift. This is one that has been optional at most but required at a few.

7. Polygraph

  • This is an exam that asks you questions you would never have thought to ask someone. This is double checking your background check.

8. Medical /Psychological

  • The department requires you to take a doctor’s physical. It’s very in-depth and includes a normal physical, drug tests, lung capacity tests, and running on a treadmill while hooked to an EKG.
  • You also take several psychological tests and meet with a Psychologist for an interview. They review your background and questions you with some regular questions, as well as some very unorthodox ones.

Each department may have a different order to the process. And some may circle round and do some steps twice.

Some departments won’t look at you unless you have been post-certified, which means that you had to have of already gone through a police academy. More than half of the departments don’t have the funding to put officers through an academy, so they need people to have that already. Many people have to pay for that themselves. (That was Tom’s next step if he was not hired this go around.)

Some departments also don’t look at you if you don’t have a bachelor’s degree.

If you couldn’t tell, this is not a fast process. Most of them take months to get through each round. For the job Tom has now, it took 6 months to complete the process.

I am really tired of people saying that there needs to be a more stringent process to hire cops because I have watched my husband go through countless processes to be told he wasn’t good enough or that someone else was more qualified. His moral fiber was put into question enough times that would break most people. Many would have given up years ago after chasing a dream that long. To watch him wait for 10 years to get this job, it breaks my heart to watch some of these reports come out saying that departments need to be pickier about their applicants and that our officers today are not of good enough quality to be protecting our communities.

What more would people want out of this process? I really am curious what other screenings people think need to be part of this process. Maybe I am missing something.

Tom has been in a process that had 900 people apply for one position. Not the greatest odds even if you have a bachelor’s, are post-certified, are a veteran, and have a great background in general.

Departments have the opportunity to be picky, and they take the time to be choosy with their applicant process.

It’s really offensive to hear, “Oh whatever, I will just be a cop.” Or to see all these news reports saying that departments aren’t doing a good enough job making personnel decisions.

Like this is something easy.

I am here to tell you that it is not easy for someone to be a cop, regardless of how it may be portrayed in the media. First there is the commitment to put your life on the line for complete strangers. Then the courage and stamina it takes to endure one (if not several) of these processes is great. There is so much vulnerability and your entire being is put under a microscope. Every decision you have ever made is put into question and examined thoroughly. The nerves waiting to be hired is drawn out for months if not years. Then to be ridiculed and spit on by the community that you are hired to protect; that takes a mighty person to want to continue in that field. It is not for the faint of heart.

I hope that people do support our law enforcement officers and realize how much thought is put into the hiring process for those wearing blue (or green, khaki, or whatever the badge requires). I feel like departments realize the gravity of the situation and put in the effort to make an informed decision on hiring their officers.

And this is just the hiring process. There is so much more that goes into the training. But that may be a post for another day.

The Job Offer

I am so happy to share the news that Tom also has the job of his dreams! He waited for the last decade to hear this call. And this was his reaction to the excitement:

Tom-It’s not that it’s a job offer. It’s that it is THE job. Like if a genie said I could have any job, I would pick this one. Or maybe an astronaut. I want to live on the space station but with the flexibility of coming home every night.

He will be starting his new job as a police officer here in the next couple weeks. I could not be more proud of him! He has been waiting so long for this dream to come to fruition. Despite so many nay-sayers out there, he kept at it and added on credentials so departments could not say no. And here we are!

He will be going through the police academy for three months at the start of the new year. It will be much different than trainings that he has had in the past because he comes home every night, but it will be tough none the less.

There are parts of me that are a little scared of this profession. It seems as though we celebrated him leaving one dangerous profession to go straight into another one. There are a lot of similarities but a lot that will be different as well.

We are in a time where every move of a police officer is being watched and many fingers are being pointed at them. I am afraid that there are blanket statements being made about police officers because of the actions of a few. Because of this, I feel that many departments will not be supported by their communities and officers will be left hanging There is also the possibility that they will have even bigger targets on their backs. It scares me that many of them will be alone now. I hope that people realize that there are thousands of officers out there that put their life on the line for this country, but unfortunately now all of them are being put in this “bad and untrustworthy” category just because they wearing a badge.

Not all cops are bad. In fact, I have read it in many places that less than 1% of that profession are doing things that are corrupt. Which is a better rate than you can find in most professions.

Blaming the masses never helps any group.

Do I think that there needs to be change in this country? Absolutely.

We all need to be a little more human. We need to listen more to the complexity of the situation, and that includes both sides.

We just need to listen more period.

What I think is happening instead of having compassion is that people are using hate to make change, which in my opinion changes nothing. Or changes things, but not for the betterment of the whole entity. But I digress.

I know that being in law enforcement is Tom’s dream, and he is going to be a great cop. Much like his dream to be in the military, I know that he goes into it not for the heroism or for the accolades. He goes into this job because he wants to make a difference.

Throughout my career, I have had the pleasure of working with some fantastic officers who put it all out there for their communities and the students we work with. They have always wanted to act in a way to make positive change. I always look forward to that partnership. On many occasions they made my job easier because of their actions (whether it was reactive or proactive).

Here are a couple videos that serve as a reminder of the definition of a cop. These are videos to highlight that there are moments where decisions have to be made in split second to save lives. Watch this and this. Sorry for the language and some of the images shown., but it is the reality that I think is overlooked while fingers are pointed. This article is a little more tarty in how it gets the message across, but I think there are some good points about some double standards we have for the profession. They [police officers] deal with some pretty heavy things; things that most of us could not fathom doing once in a lifetime let alone every day. While I do think there is a difference because of some of the things cops are tasked with doing and there are expectations because of that grave responsibility, I just don’t understand the mentality of putting them all in a box when we go to evaluate their effectiveness.

These are sides I think that we all like to forget in the midst of the troubles in our society.

For those of us who are close to a cop, it is all too real to accept they may not come home today.

And while I know that there are people who may disagree with me and say that I don’t see the injustice that is going on, believe me, I see it. I am seeing it in a lot of places.

I may not have the personal perspective to speak about every injustice, I do have the personal perspective of watching my husband embark on the path to take another oath to serve and protect. Another oath to put his life on the line. So I am speaking from my view and my circle, and I acknowledge my privileged with that.

To be honest with you though, I am stricken with fear that he won’t come home because something went array. Or that something could happen that will cost him his dream.

My husband could be Darren Wilson. They are the same age and the same build. Would Tom have reacted the same way? Maybe yes maybe no, but it is possible for him to find himself in a similar situation. It is hard for me not to see that, and I understand that I need to unpack so many things with that complexity. I do know that Tom is going to do what is within his means to protect this community against threats and come home to George and I. He will react how he was trained and will make a judgement call to that situation. Some people may not agree with that mentality, but I am going to stand behind him as he goes into this career.

While they have some terrible things they have to face, I am excited to see how Tom infuses himself in our community. He has a deep love for his hometown. Seriously he could be a walking billboard for the place, and I am fairly positive he has tried convincing all of our friends to move here. I know that he is going to have a positive impact through his job and plans to give back in so many ways. I see Tom doing things like this, this, and this. Oh and this.

Police Officers are to be community builders and helpers. This is how we grew up knowing them, and I want people to see my husband that way too.