Dear Law Enforcement Officers:
In the face of the tragic losses the men and women of our profession have suffered, I wanted you to know that the majority of our citizens back the blue and are thankful you are there on the streets and in the jails.
Having served among your ranks for 27 years I’ve gotten to know you, not individually, but as a group. You are honest and trustworthy, you are dedicated and decent and we can count on you, especially when things go really bad.
You don’t turn and run, its not in your nature, instead you forge ahead, danger be damned. You answer the call at 3 AM no matter what it is, a robbery or a strange “Bump in the night”. You listen to my crazy neighbors as they argue about nonsense after a night of drinking. You bring my son home when he gets lost and protect my daughter on the train when she is all alone.
You suffer quietly when we lose a brother or sister to the perils of the street, or the rampages of a society that has gone astray. You endure the curses of the criminals and the threats to take your job for doing your job. You comfort the victims that haunt your dreams and never seem to be in short supply, you confront the evil others pretend does not exist.
You patrol the cities and towns, villages and hamlets of this great nation in a unified mission, to protect and serve. You walk down darkened alleys and into abandon buildings to find those you seek, good and bad. You serve together as one powerful Blue Line of Justice, our first defense against the chaos that seems always at our door. You do all of this humbly and with a sense of purpose and against all odds, rarely seen in any other profession. You are all hero’s no matter where you serve, the streets or the jails, we could not survive without you.
People come and go from the ranks of the job every day; from the dusty old dudes who have been around forever and seen it all to the brand-new rookie on her first day of her first shift. The line never bends, the faces change, and names are different but the men and women inside the uniform are all made from the same solid stuff, they can trace their lineage back to the beginning of a civilized world, the centurions of society.
From the laughter of the locker room to the steely eyed bravery needed when answering the call, you are always there; for each other and for the people you have sworn to protect, even if they are not always there for you. You are peacemakers and warriors all in an 8-hour shift and you take it in stride. You are a special lot and a breed apart, human in every way, and yet superhuman in many others. You lead the way for truth and justice in big ways and small, you are looked up too by many.
The shifts can be long, but no one ever leaves. The job gets in your blood and becomes part of who you are. You are part referee, coach, manager, counselor and refuge of last resort for problems too many to name. You are who they call when they don’t know what to do or where to turn. You are the comfort for a small child and the shield of the innocent, you face the bully when they can’t and offer your shoulder to who ever needs it.
And you face the reality that going home at the end of the shift is a goal, not a guarantee. Members of the Blue Line fall almost every day, taken by chance, ambush, attack or accident yet you do not falter. You don the uniform and the shield and take your place on the field.
Thank you all for taking up the mantle after I left the field. Serve with pride, bring honor to yourselves and your badge and prepare the next generation of the line to assume their duties.
Your work is important, your lives are important and without you our country would not be able to go on.
Lt. Joe Pangaro
I have been CHASING JUSTICE throughout my career friends. My goal is to be THE VOICE for the voiceless. Reach out with your own stories and thoughts on justice… JPanagro@Americaoutloud.com