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what is it like for the family of leo's?

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  • dpatrol
    replied
    I think the toughest thing that LEO family members deal with is the worry of there loved ones coming home safely from thier shift. My father was a deputy on late shift when I was growing up, and when he didnt show up from work in the morning I would worry about why he was not home.

    My 2 younger brothers and I also entered the law enforcement field. The most dreaded thing is your phone ringing in the middle of the night. Unfortunately I got one of those calls about 8 years ago when my youngest brother was killed on duty. To this day whenever the phone rings in the middle of the night by heart jumps even though my father is retired and my other brother is on day shift. My wife handles things pretty good, I often work past my shift 3P/11P and she is sleeping. She works in LE too (parole/pro agent) and she never had expressed her concern but I am sure when the phone rings she feels the same as I do.

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  • barkalot
    replied
    My wife seems to handle it well. She isn't the nervous type and knows I do everything I can to stay safe.

    My four children (all daughters) seem to handle it well, but they are seven years on down. They always want to know when I am going to have time off and look forward to it, but that would likely be the case in any job I held.

    The biggest thing for us is that my wife is a stay-at-home mother and our children are homeschooled, therefore they can easily adapt to any schedule I am on. Since we don't have to work around another job schedule or school schedule, family outings and such are easy to plan.

    When I was in Idaho and lived in the same town I worked, I could go home for dinner. We often ate together as late as 2200 hours, and the children were often up until midight or later. It worked great.

    I've also worked in small towns and have been fortunate to have supervisors who while grumpy sometimes, knew I worked hard for them and were willing to be flexible for family events. I took almost one month off work for the birth of our first child!
    Last edited by barkalot; 07-29-2007, 06:08 AM. Reason: numerous and asundry typos

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  • icecold#1
    replied
    My father is a Police Officer and I have 3 uncles that are and a cousin and i'm in the process of being one. As a child i watched my mother have sleepless nights. Every time the phone rang she rushed to grab it to make sure it was my father checking in or it was not the LT. calling to inform us of bad news. My father has broken his hand twice, sprained his ankle, and has had a couple of accidents at work. I prayed for my father every night before I went to bed. Despite the work load and hours my father was still there for my events but the majority of my child hood he was at work. I thank GOD he is still here to this day with 22yrs on the department in one of the roughest cities in the United States that has had Officers killing Officers. Just a little insight for your question.

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  • Magicman
    replied
    I think this has been posted on here before but I think it sums it up.

    I had the sad misfortune of going to Deputy Brandy Winfield's funeral. I do not know Deputy Winfield or his family, yet we have a strong connection. I am a police officer's wife. Everyday, I kiss my husband goodbye and hope it's not the last. Everyday, my small children give their daddy five kisses on the cheek and one on the forehead.
    I don't know if they know all of the dangers of daddy's job, but they know the importance of their goodbye ritual. I have received phone calls about my husband being involved in an injury accident and incidents where he has been injured. I have received phone calls from friends whose husbands have been seriously injured or involved in a shooting. I have exchanged phone calls with other "cop" wives because we "just didn't have a good feeling" and our anxiety and fear is high. I have sat and filled out the critical incident book with my husband to plan his funeral. What songs, where, who would be pall bearers?
    I have made my husband dinner at eleven o'clock at night because he spent his dinner money on a hungry child who has been removed from their home. I have stayed up until 4 am because he was so distraught over a violent murder or the fact that he was with someone who died completely alone and was discovered three weeks later. I have gone to many functions alone because he serves his community proudly. We have spent holidays and special occasions without him. This is the life of a law enforcement officer's family. We accept it as part of the calling of our spouses and part of our lives. We proudly support our husbands. We take care of them and let them know how much we love them.
    But I wonder, does our community support our officers? I pick up the paper or watch the news and it seems they are quick to point out how many officers have had complaints made on them, investigations that are occurring for misconduct, excessive force and you name it. Yet, it is never published how many compliments that officer has had, or how many of those issues have been unfounded. I am asking you to think about when was the last time you thanked a law enforcement officer? That officer is a person. They are a daddy, mommy, husband, wife, son, daughter, brother, sister, or friend. Someone deeply loves that person. Everyday they put their uniform on and proudly walk out the door to protect and serve their community without thought to the risk they may be taking.
    Before you criticize a police officer, think about what they are doing to keep you safe. Think about the ultimate duty they are doing for the community you live in. And most of all, when you see an officer, say "thank you!".

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  • Frantic
    replied
    All my life growing up my dad was a DEA agent, for the most part of when I can remember he was in an office and home but for a few of my younger years he was out of the country with his group of agents. He missed a few holidays, and some school events.

    When I was 9 he was moved from the DC office to the NY office and was told he would only be there for 6 months till a new head could be appointed. He didnt move the rest of the family just got an apartment by himself up there and said he would come home every other weekend. I will admit I cried for about the first week or two that he was not there I no longer had my dad to tuck me in, play catch with me, watch me at soccer practice, drive me to school like we always used to do. Six months quickly turned into a year and then finally after three years he was moved back to the DC office. In the time he was gone he missed most all of my school activities and most of my games, he tried to alwasy be home for birthdays and most holidays, I also had alot of friends that thought my parents were divorced because he was never around. (being 9-12 that is the last thing you want people thinking about your family). I think I lost alot of time with my dad in those three years but he did everything he could including driving from NYC to NoVA friday nights 4-6 hours and then back up on Sunday nights just so he could be with us.

    Once he was back in the DC office he was for the most part always around. He made sure all though high school he was at every single soccer game not matter how far, and every single band performance or competition, I honestly think he thought he had to make it up to me being gone for so long.

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  • Retired Chief
    replied
    In Illlinois, the grounds for mental cruelty were usually proved up by testimony that the spouse was not home when he should be, when he was home he wasn't communicative, when he did communicate, he was argumentative, and that caused mental distress to the fileing spouse (usually wife).
    One local judge told an attorney friend of mine "Why not just tell me he's a cop? I understand if he's a cop, he will work nights, 80-hour weeks sometimes, holidays, birthdays and during the school play, parent-teacher meetings, etc. When he gets home after swabbing the highway of body parts from the big wreck, or taking the raped and beaten 3-year old to the hospital and mommy's boyfriend to jail, or from the crime scene of the multiple murder/suicide of course he doesn't want to talk. When the wifey just has to talk about the neighbor kids being noisy and riding their bikes in the street, he gets argumentative just because he is still wound up from work. She knows (somewhat) what he faces at work, and worries that he will be killed or hurt, worries that because they can't talk about what bothers him that the marriage is no good, worries because the only time he seems relaxed is drinking beer with his cop buddies (the only people he can talk to about work). You want to prove grounds for mental cruelty - just show me he's a cop!"

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  • Kyia
    replied
    My husband is really understanding of the rotating shifts and understands that we only have a couple days every other month off together. My family tries to schedule family things on my weekends off so I can be included which is really nice. Unfortunately, there will be times that families will be really worried about their LEO member when they hear something on the news or radio involving an officer from that dept. and fear the worst. I know I had my sister really concerned when she knew I was supposed to be off work and she can't get ahold of me, she's calling my husband and everything thinking the worst. It's probably tough for the family but they deal b/c it's what that person chose for their life and they love it.

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  • Buttercup
    replied
    Thank you, Smurfette. I'm sure that your son does and will continue to have those thoughts and feelings about you.

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  • Smurfette_76
    replied
    Buttercup, I'm impressed. Those are beautiful things to say about your daddy. I hope my son feels like that towards me.

    Leave a comment:


  • Buttercup
    replied
    My dad was a cop with a major city's PD for 36 years when he retired. The biggest thing that I recognized about his job when I became an adult was the fact that my mom so often served as both mother and father to us because of his work schedule.

    He was rarely there for school events, birthdays, and holidays, but we knew it was because he was helping to keep things safe for everyone. On Thanksgiving, we rarely had dinner at the same time or at normal mealtimes every year, as we would accommodate my dad's and my uncle's schedules (he was also a cop with the same department). On Christmas, sometimes dad would be there in the morning and sometimes in the evening, but never all day. We just always accepted his schedule inconsistencies as normal. The first Christmas after his retirement was the first year in my and my sibling's life that he hadn't had to work.

    We lived in a predominately cop neighborhood with the requisite German Shepherd (on a corner lot, because my dad didn't want neighbors on both sides), we learned early how to shoot a gun and what to do in the event of an emergency, and no matter where we were in the city we knew where the closest police station was located. We learned to check the points of entry when we came home and that whenever possible we should sit so we could see the whole room when we were out. We were also a part of the police family association, which allowed us to spend time with other cops' kids.

    Only our closest friends knew what our dad did for a living, and my parents were very particular about who was allowed in our home. Once, upon finding out that a high school friend had a brother who was into drugs, I had to tell that friend that I couldn't visit her at her house anymore, made excuses for her to not visit at my house, and ultimately ended the friendship.

    We didn't live with fear of what could happen to my father, but we were always aware of the reality of the dangers of his job. We always had confidence in his ability to do his job and we always knew that his priority was to come home at the end of his shift. We also felt secure knowing that when dad was working or out of town, his comrades were always there to check up on us.

    We also got used to non-LEO neighbors and relatives calling the house at all hours instead of calling 911, or stopping by because they thought my dad would help them with some police/legal matter.

    There's so much more disrespect toward law enforcement now than when I was a child and therefore somewhat different issues than what I faced. I grew up being taught that police officers were the good guys and if I were ever in trouble to call a police officer, and I know that to be true. Unfortunately, there's a segment of society that has villanized LEOs and I think that's a shame. It takes a true hero to choose a career in which their lives are on the line every time they leave the house to go to work.

    One last thing - although my dad couldn't be there when we wanted him, he was always there when we needed him. He was a good cop and he's still a good dad.

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  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    Originally posted by nebraska_deputy View Post
    Your family life suffers a lot. There is a lot of time you spend working on your time off and for the most part it doesn't seem like you have much to show for it. What I mean by that is you may be working on a report and next thing you know its two hours past your shift. For the most part you can either stay and finish it most of the time not getting paid for doing it. Or you can wait till the next day to do it, but the main problem with that is right when you come on duty you may have three or four calls stacked. So when you get free time you get back to the first reports from the day before and then your behind for that day.

    My wife's a nurse so she doesn't think to much of the late hours. She gets a little up set though when I get called out three times in one day on my day off. Most cops keep strange hours and it's something your other half gets use to. When you work in a smaller County for the most part you get use to being called out on your time off. If you don't leave the County on your time off 80% of the time your going to be working. The part that really sucks is I have an eight month old son and half the time when you leave they are watching you go out the door. When you return home 3 hours later they are still watching the door.

    You do spend a lot of time talking to your other half about your day and what went on. For the most part they are use to the stories, so after a while they are like oh OK, so what do you want for dinner. As for me I'm to the point for the most part when family ask me if I had any interesting calls lately, my response is not really. It's like you think back about the calls you had lately and it seems like the same old thing. But every now and then you get something different and it sticks in your head and you tell so many people about it you just get tired of talking about it.

    For the most part your family adapts to it as best as they can and they support you. I think the two biggest things that irritates my wife the most are first when we are out in public and someone calls from work and were eating, or at the grocery store. Second when we go out I know so many people I spend a lot of time talking and a 20 minute trip to the store turns out to be 2 hours and 20 minutes.
    There really are a lot of sacrifices for the job. I never realized that before. I have a new found respect for those in law enforcement and other civil service jobs now.

    It's good to hear though that the families adapt to the hours and everything.

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  • Jellybean400
    replied
    Originally posted by citizenrights View Post
    Thank you for sharing such an intimate story of your life. I'm sitting here, almost in tears because of the ways that I have felt towards the police my whole life basically. Even when the cops had my back a few years ago when I was raped, strangled and left with bruises that had me wearing a turtleneck in 100 + heat in July, I still had an animosity towards them.

    I just want you to know that you sharing your story and also from what I have learned from Reiland has changed my ENTIRE outlook on police people. PEOPLE being the word. I am so ashamed of the way that I have reacted to cops throughout my 28 years that I sit here utterly embarrased. I can't believe that I thought that the cops are just robots or something.
    This is a great thread.

    And those were all great stories and posts.

    Most of the time, people DONT think of cops as PEOPLE.

    I know alot of cops get cold to stuff (sometimes they have to, unfortunately), but i've seen my ex-husband come home from work and get physically sick from things he'd seen. As a matter of fact, he'd come home, get sick, change his uniform, and go back to work...

    He also suffered from "night terrors," where he had dreams that made him like half-awake, and he was trying to get away from something and would try to dive under the bed in the middle of the nite. All of this scared me, but i didnt bug him to death about it...

    Luckily this was all early in his career. I do know that he did much better after that, and is now retired after 20 years.

    He was never a cold person. One of the nites i saw him the worst was when he had to shoot a puppy that had been hit by a car.

    The suicides he dealt with were the worst (on him). It's been years and years, and i can remember each and every one of them.

    I believe what caused our marriage to end (the main thing) was his inability to deal with job stresses, life stresses, and to communicate with me, even if just to tell me, "i dont feel like talking about it - its not you, though."

    He dealt with his problems thru drinking and women.
    Last edited by Jellybean400; 06-11-2007, 01:01 PM.

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  • nebraska_deputy
    replied
    Your family life suffers a lot. There is a lot of time you spend working on your time off and for the most part it doesn't seem like you have much to show for it. What I mean by that is you may be working on a report and next thing you know its two hours past your shift. For the most part you can either stay and finish it most of the time not getting paid for doing it. Or you can wait till the next day to do it, but the main problem with that is right when you come on duty you may have three or four calls stacked. So when you get free time you get back to the first reports from the day before and then your behind for that day.

    My wife's a nurse so she doesn't think to much of the late hours. She gets a little up set though when I get called out three times in one day on my day off. Most cops keep strange hours and it's something your other half gets use to. When you work in a smaller County for the most part you get use to being called out on your time off. If you don't leave the County on your time off 80% of the time your going to be working. The part that really sucks is I have an eight month old son and half the time when you leave they are watching you go out the door. When you return home 3 hours later they are still watching the door.

    You do spend a lot of time talking to your other half about your day and what went on. For the most part they are use to the stories, so after a while they are like oh OK, so what do you want for dinner. As for me I'm to the point for the most part when family ask me if I had any interesting calls lately, my response is not really. It's like you think back about the calls you had lately and it seems like the same old thing. But every now and then you get something different and it sticks in your head and you tell so many people about it you just get tired of talking about it.

    For the most part your family adapts to it as best as they can and they support you. I think the two biggest things that irritates my wife the most are first when we are out in public and someone calls from work and were eating, or at the grocery store. Second when we go out I know so many people I spend a lot of time talking and a 20 minute trip to the store turns out to be 2 hours and 20 minutes.

    Leave a comment:


  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    Originally posted by e-man View Post
    I get to miss all my kids school day stuff, like recitals, plays, graduation parties, my son is NOT even signed up for LIttle League baseball cause I rotate every 4 weeks.
    I get to miss going to the neighbors houses for a drink cause I have to work at 11pm sometimes. I can order a mean pizza and cheesybread though for dinnner.

    I can view any of the important school stuff on video if my wife remembers to tape the event.
    I DID make it to one meet the teacher event this year and one of the arts and crafts type shows at school. Oh wait, I even made it to Halloween dress up parade. WOW im batting .500 this year.


    If you want to show your newfound appreciation to the local PD, DONT take them a dozen donuts to the station. First write a letter to the chief and town or city council saying how much of an *** you were and how you appreciate the way they handled you. {I didnt read your whole post so I hope they didnt need to 'use proper amount of force' }
    Then maybe take a dozen bagels and stuff or a box of chocolates to the station with a thank you card.
    ALso be a goodwill ambassador for the cops. When your friends or co-workers bash them, explain your new found fondness.
    I'm glad you were able to get to some of your kids events. I wish that you didn't have to sacrifice all of that time with your kids. I think that someday they will know that the family sacrifices that everybody shares were really worth it in the end.
    I really do want to apologize to them.(police) I fear though that I am probably the last person they would want to see. But I will get over my fear to do what's right. I really do owe them all an apology. Sending a goodies basket is a great idea. I really appreciate your help.
    I will put in a good word for the police. Thanks e man.

    Originally posted by Sully49 View Post
    Don't forget siblings of police officers too! My brother is a cop in a dangerous city. He's married and they just had a baby girl a year ago. I can't worry about the things that might happen. Truly it doesn't enter my mind unless I see something on the news or hear about an officer who was killed or injured. If you worry about all the things that could happen it will make you crazy. I just look at it like this: he loves his job and gets so much out of it. He is so much happier doing this than sitting behind a desk all day. Any of us at any given time could be killed in an accident or something, you never know what could happen. So you may as well live life to the fullest and spend your career doing something that you truly care about. There's far too many people out there (myself included) that spend hours at a job that is meaningless or they hate. And work is where you spend most of your time. I remember a quote I heard for a memorial service for some firefighters here. The speaker was addressing the families of the firefighters who died, and he said that they should always remember "they died doing something that mattered." That has always stuck with me, and god forbid something ever happened to my brother, but that would be something I would try to hold on to.
    I hope your brother stays safe. That is very admirable that people would love helping and protecting other's enough to put themselves in danger.

    They did die doing something that mattered. That is true.
    Thanks sully
    Last edited by citizenrights; 06-11-2007, 04:23 AM.

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  • Sully49
    replied
    Originally posted by citizenrights View Post
    Respectfully asking, what kind of sacrifices do the spouses and children make when their husband/wife or mom/dad is an leo?

    I really haven't known any cops, or people with families in law enforcement. Wait a minute, I knew 2 people, but they wouldn't talk about it.

    One guy I went to high school with, his dad was a cop, I remember him almost in tears once because he said that people would spit in his dad's food at restaurants like he was an animal. That was as far as the conversation got, besides me telling him that what those people were doing was bs.

    I think this kid really felt conflicted inside because he was a big time druggie,(not because of his dad of course.) but he still had respect for the law because he saw what his dad went through.

    Unfortunately, we didn't become close friends, but I hope that he and his dad are doing well.
    Don't forget siblings of police officers too! My brother is a cop in a dangerous city. He's married and they just had a baby girl a year ago. I can't worry about the things that might happen. Truly it doesn't enter my mind unless I see something on the news or hear about an officer who was killed or injured. If you worry about all the things that could happen it will make you crazy. I just look at it like this: he loves his job and gets so much out of it. He is so much happier doing this than sitting behind a desk all day. Any of us at any given time could be killed in an accident or something, you never know what could happen. So you may as well live life to the fullest and spend your career doing something that you truly care about. There's far too many people out there (myself included) that spend hours at a job that is meaningless or they hate. And work is where you spend most of your time. I remember a quote I heard for a memorial service for some firefighters here. The speaker was addressing the families of the firefighters who died, and he said that they should always remember "they died doing something that mattered." That has always stuck with me, and god forbid something ever happened to my brother, but that would be something I would try to hold on to.

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