I’ve been writing this blog in my dreams for a couple weeks now; searching for the perfect words to express the purpose, and what led to this project. I’m still not sure I’ve found those words, but I couldn’t wait to share this, so hopefully I get close enough.
In late September, one of our local county commissioners referred to Escambia Count deputies as “frontline trigger pullers.” Had you heard? Probably not.
Surprisingly, no one but those connected to law enforcement seemed to be bothered by it at all. The news stations and publications didn’t include it in their stories, some actually even paraphrased him leaving that part out. The commissioner himself refused to apologize, as he said it wasn’t meant as an insult. And let me tell you, that night, and probably week after, put a ring in my nose and hand me some horns, because I was seeing RED. I was furious.
And then once the anger subsided, sadness washed over me. I was sad because I know that’s how a lot of people see my husband; like he’s some terminator-esque robot, with a gun, but without feelings. They (mr. county commissioner included) don’t know my husband. They don’t know that he makes some of the best (see also: sweetest) sweet tea in the South. They don’t know that he also makes a donkey noise that is equal parts accurate and hysterical. They did not see the tears in his eyes in the hospital as he held our minis for the first time. They also don’t get to see him come home after a particularly difficult call and cradle them like they’re still newborns, to try and erase the memory of what happened on shift, or see his body tense up when we drive past a location he handled a call where he was too late to save the day.
To some, my husband is a hero. To some, he is a villain. But at the end of the day, he’s really just a man. Behind their badge, they’re all just people: mothers and fathers, husbands and wives, daughters and sons, brothers and sisters,friends.
I reached out to my LEO community with a crazy idea. An idea to try to fight the hate, with love. So in between my regular sessions, I’ve had the greatest privilege to be allowed into these officers’ lives; to go behind close doors, into their daily routines, to go Behind the Badge.
I also had a few wonderful officers that wanted to participate from all over the country! So I included some of their submissions also.
Thank you to all the officers and their families for participating, and for putting that badge on each day. You are appreciated.