Amidst the outrage surrounding the deaths of black men and women at the hands of police officers, we have heard the voices of people who are tired of racism and oppression and are calling for change. Some voices have not been as loud, but the pain is real and their perspective deserves to be heard in order to reach full understanding. Below is an open letter from the wife of a police officer in Atlanta, where racism, violence, peaceful protests, and prominent black leaders have all made the city the focus of media attention in the last few weeks.
Fear, sadness and hurt. Those are the three main words that summarize a police family during our current times. I am married to a Captain of the Cobb County Police Department. He has served as an officer for 24 years and is currently over Crimes Against Persons (homicide, crimes against children, domestic abuse, elderly abuse). We have three children ages 13, 9 and 3.
Even as a Christian I am full of fear in the current state of our country. Fear that my husband may not come home. Fear that my children won’t have a father much longer. Fear that I will have to navigate this life alone. What makes me feel so fearful? The threats against police and their families are intense right now. Recently “keyboard warriors” as my husband states, attempted to organize a group of people who wanted to fake a call out to police that would potentially bring many officers to a certain area. Once the officers arrived this particular group planned to kill the officers, grab their wallets then go kill their families “so bad can’t recreate.” People are also posting home addresses of officers on social media to encourage possible threats to their families. Officers have been followed home, personal cars set on fire in their driveways, and bricks thrown through their front windows of their home. I struggle with even allowing my children to play outside as I don’t know who may just show up or what neighbor isn’t really a neighbor at all.
My children are fearful too. They have watched (some) of the news and have seen how many of our cities have been destroyed and heard the hatred towards the police. The other day our 9-year-old said to her daddy, “Please promise me you will make it home each day, daddy.” Our 13-year-old is quiet, very quiet as I suppose he is trying to take in all that he has heard on the news and from us.
Sadness washes over me each day. As my husband puts it, “No one hates a bad cop more than a good cop.” I know the good my husband and his coworkers do each day. I have met these amazing men and women who give so freely of their time to assist others during their worst times. I know their dedication to the field and I know the love they have for humanity. I am sad that many, many Americans don’t get to see the officers through my eyes. When everyone is running out, these officers are running in to assist. Black, white – the race doesn’t matter.
I am hurt. Hurt that so many are against us right now. Family, friends, coworkers, even “church family” as we call them have seemed to have turned on us. My aunt recently informed me that I need to “get your man in check” after telling me we were the ones responsible for all the racism which led to the protests and riots. Friends have posted horrible things about police and even our church has (unintendedly I hope) made us to feel a little shunned right now. Even people have told me if something happens to my family it’s what we deserved and “now you know how black families feel each day.” I have been told my “bubble” doesn’t count or matter right now. When I try to explain that we are paying for the action of others I am told that I am playing victim, told I am a weak woman and told I am a racist. My intentions are surely not to play victim, come across weak nor be a racist. I am merely informing others of what is happening to police families which makes up over 3 million Americans.
Even through all of this we are still teaching our kids to love, spread the word of God and be the light. We know God has us wrapped in his loving arms and His will will prevail. I know the plans He has for us all and I must keep that in mind during all the turmoil. Please know we are good, good people who want nothing more than for each person on this planet to feel loved, needed and respected.