Officer John has a favorite alley in his city. It’s on the edge of his beat. He says the alley is not quite long enough, but he is glad to have it on his beat nonetheless. The alley is the spot he heads to when he needs to regroup. Officer John has driven down the dark alley a few times just to unload some tears.
Officer John, like other cops, captures and sometimes retains the grief, stress, anguish, and despair of the people he assists. It’s a hazard of his job. After dealing with difficult scenes, situations, and people, officers everywhere, just like John, have to head directly to the next crime or drama with its own set of memories.
The alley is John’s place to defrag the memories and emotions that have been logged into the hard drive of his mind. Driving slowly down an alley is something most cops don’t admit they do, but each certainly does it in his own way. Some are given to alcohol, risky behavior, and others, immoral actions. They all must process their content–if they don’t, it will ultimately destroy them and they know it. They have seen it in others.
Officer John has learned over time how to take healthy steps to process his “content.” John says a loved one, close friend, good counselor, or a trusted chaplain can help hold the bucket as he lets the stresses go. He may not say it much, but John is grateful for his companions in life that can hold the bucket without getting offended by his splashing mess of stress.
There are still times John drives to his dark alley and unloads tears, but knowing he has his chaplain on speed dial has helped help make that dark alley time less frequent and the trips in the dark a bit shorter. John says he has always respected the work of his chaplain and is thankful for his willingness to partner up during hard times. He says it’s one of his keys to survival. Having a support system and the wisdom of a trusted friend or family member can make all the difference in the life of a cop.
The next time you see a cop, smile and say hi. Say a prayer for the family and friends in their support group helping behind the scenes to keep them healthy; better yet, if you know and love a cop, be part of the safe zone and bucket brigade.