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How do you survive being a police family?

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Hero_max50

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Posted over 5 years ago

 

I'm somewhat new to the message boards here, but I wasn't sure where to turn for advice or where to find someone who actually understands.  Forgive me in advance for my ramblings.


My husband has been a police officer for the past four years.  It was a career change that I personally was not prepared for - nor did I want for our family.  But my husband loves his job and it has been a good change for him personally.  I just don't know if I'm cut out to be a police wife.  It takes someone strong to stand "behind the badge" rather than standing next to her husband, and I'm not sure that I'm cut out for that.  I love my husband dearly, but right now I absolutely hate the bleeping badge.  I just don't know how to handle the sacrifices we are forced to make as the women behind the badge.  The missed holidays, the long nights, the fears...how do you do it? 


Last night was one of the hardest nights of my life as an individual and a parent.  My husband rushed home from work to take me to the ER after I began experiencing chest pains in front of my six year old son.  The fears that I had for myself along with the sheer terror that I saw in my son's face was enough to destroy me completely.  Fortunately, the doctors have found nothing seriously wrong so far, but it is what transpired at the hospital that has me questioning my ability to be a police family. 


Since my hubby rushed home from work, he was in full uniform when he took me into the ER.  Now this is not the first time he's been to that ER - as he goes there for police business almost daily.  Most of the staff know him and he's never had any problems there.  However, because he was not on official police business, they wanted him to disarm and give Security his gun.  He knew that he could not do that.  I knew that he could not do that.  He was forced to make a choice between his gun and his wife at a time where we weren't sure that I was going to be okay.  Honestly though, I know there wasn't a choice to be made.  The badge made the choice for him the day he was sworn in.  I wouldn't have wanted him to take the risks associated with disarming, but I also felt so alone when he was escorted from the premises with my son crying that he didn't want to leave his Mommy.  I know that the officers receive little respect from the public on a daily basis, but this was the first time I witnessed it to my husband first hand in a situation.  I felt so helpless and alone.  It wasn't the policy at the hospital that bothered me as much as the way we all were treated - as though we were members of a gang or something.  Even after he left, security found it necessary to keep coming to my room, causing me to go into full blown panic attacks which did not help my health situation.  I just don't know if I'm cut out for the pressures of police family life.  I can't imagine my life without my husband or my family but I can't see me finding enough strength to be what a police wife needs to be.  I've literally been reduced to tears for the past few hours which also complicates my health issues.  I'm just hoping to find someone who has some "magical" piece of advice or at least understands the emotional roller coaster that I'm on.   


How do you gals do it?  Any suggestions or support you can offer would be greatly appreciated.  Thank you so much in advance for listening to my ramblings. 


 

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Rate This | Posted over 5 years ago

 

I am not a police spouse but an Officer. I am very disturbed by the way the Hospital treated you and your family. The Hospital in our area tried to make it so we could not enter the premises armed. I informed my Sheriff that if that was the case I would not take/do escorts to the Hospital and when they called for assistance we would not be able to go as we would have to leave our weapons in the patrol car. It got ironed out by the powers that be and we are allowed to come in armed. Hang in there it is tough on the families but without you us Cops could not do this job. Remember you are a vital part of a team. Yes this job can be dangerous but with our training and common sense we do get through our shifts. We do not want to do anything to jepordize our going home to our families. Have faith in God and your husband's abilities and you can get through this. My wife and I have been married for 28 years and I have only been a Cop for the past 9. I tell her I love her everyday and before I go on shift I kiss her. She tells me to be safe and I reply I always am.  Also go to the library or buy the book a I Love a Cop. This should answer a lot of your questions and calm some of your fears.  Also use humour to get through the bad times. laughter always helps. (If you are looking for sanity, laughter always helps) This is a quote or signature froma fellow P.L. Memeber. Be Safe and GOD Bless.    


Bad stuff happens to good people, handle it and overcome.
My motto for life:
Let go and let GOD,
Only HE can control everything.

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Rate This | Posted over 5 years ago

 

I am the spouse of a Lieutenant for a police dept. I understand where you are coming from. I know about the long hours, missed holidays, cancelled plans and the phone ringing at 2 am because the officer on duty needs assistance for some reason. I do understand the demands of my husband's job but yes it does get hard. Im not sure if I have any survival tips for you because you have to be willing to make the sacrifices that come along with the job and wearing the badge. You just have to remember the love you have for your husband and if its unconditional love then you can make it through anything. Just remember they are taught to eliminate the threat. They will do what they have to do...to come home to their family after their tour is over with. I pray for my husband and all "my officers" due to the fact that I am a dispatcher for the same agency everyday that they will go home at night. Please know that you are not by yourself and it may help by just talking to your husband. STAY STRONG AND SUPPORT YOUR HUSBAND FOR YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

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Rate This | Posted over 5 years ago

 

I have been married to my husband for 9 years and he has been an officer for 5 of those. I think you just need to be flexible. Yea, there are times when he cannot be there and times when he is there and just plain ole' mean. But having a husband who is happy in his life is worth WAY more than having a husband who is always around and miserable. I am not sure I understand the hospital's problem, but it was rather stupid. In the end though, what matters at the end of the day is not the badge or the uniform, but that you love each other. Hook up with some other wives, it really does help keep your sanity. Every single day they come home is a good day, but they are human, and so are we. You just kind of have to get creative in your life. I belong to a message board that are all leo wives, and they have many times talked me out of killing the grumpy old man. My advice?


Pray, keep your humor, find some like minded wives and love him always.

Ggb_max50

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Rated +1 | Posted over 5 years ago

 

Here's my quick joke and story. I retired in Dec 2008. I went home and met a wonderful gal. She claimed we'd been married 28 years and had two grown daughters. We laughed, hugged and had a long conversation.


From this end of life I can tell you this. My home has never been a shrine to my work. You will not find my medals, ribbons, certificates and plaques on any wall. You walk in and it is just like a regular Joe. I never kissed my wife goodbye with a whispered "Kiss me good because it might be the last time." Even with last night SWAT callouts, it was always, "I'll be home in a few hours."


Cops can be pretty self absorbed. You and your lovely need to spend real time together about where you're going, your plans, and it has to be away from your own home and jurisdiction. Someplace where both a ya can clear your minds.


Also, you need to be of the mindset that an officer / deputy is going to be deployed for 20+ years. With due regard to our military brethren who are deployed for 6 months, a year, ... even longer. A civilian LEO is deployed a long time. With that comes the ability to adjust to unyielding schedules, bosses who are asses, partners who are problems and other temptations found in our work.


The strength that your officer will exhibit will come from his own 'calling' to police work AND it will come from a strong homefront. Police work is anti-marriage. The agency generally doesn't care about you or your family. All they care about is staffing levels and making sure he is at work when he is suppose to be.


Mrs. Sarge and I have been talking a lot lately. Yes, I have missed some things in our past life. But Mrs. Sarge is an exceptional woman....she is the diamond in our family crown. I could not have done it without her. Heck, she had to pick me up three times from the hospital from injuries at work. But she was there. And divorce has never been an option.


It's a tough life. It's a tough job. But you are two tough people !


The Guy !
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Rate This | Posted over 5 years ago

 

I am a police officer. First of all I am sorry for the way the ER treated you and your husband. I hope you are alright now. When ever I goto an ER off duty or not my weapon does not leave my side. The ER has no right to tell your husband to turn it in.


Being a spouse of an officer is one of the hardest things to be. My wife has a very hard time with me being an officer too. She has said to me the same words and thoughts that you have posted here.


You need to be strong for you first then the rest of the family, Your Husband needs you as much as you need him. I know this is my second marrige. I have been on the job for 4 years now. Each and every day/night I tell my wife and kids how much I love them. I go to work and come home to my family. Always remember why you got married its because you love your spouse for who he is. Marrige is a 24-7 job and must always be worked on to keep it going. I would be lost with out my wife. Do not let your Husbands job come between the two of  you. You are now part of another family a brotherhood.


Do what I do take a vac with eachother and give the kids to other family members for a few nights. For me it is 1 to 2 days. At least 2x a month if not more I take my wife out for dinner and whatever else we can do. But most of all we talk. If you do not talk to eachother you will not make it. Remember never give up.


Splash43

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Duke_max50

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Rate This | Posted over 5 years ago

 

Another cop here. Sarge & Splash speak volumes. Marriage is a full time job. It requires patience (short supply in a cop family) and communication. And communication must be in huge supply in a cop family. I have, in the office of our home, a few framed documents on the wall. My diploma from college as well as my wife's. Awards my daughter won through school. Honorable discharges, Army and Navy Reserve. Oh yeah, I do have one that is LE but that is because it came from a LE organization that my dad was president of when I got it so it bears his signature and he awarded it to me. It's kind of special. Other than that I also do not SHRINE my work at home. In fact the only two pictures (framed) of me in uniform aren't even in my house. One is on my wife;s desk at work and the other in in my daughter's living room. I leave work at work.


I have been married 23 years because of this attitude. While this job is who I am I am not married to the job, I AM married to my wife. He will need you throughout his career. He will need you as a friend, a sounding board, someone to vent to, etc. The key in communication is to make sure he understands you need him to be those things for you as well. With open communication, and creative ways to make up for missed holidays and such, these marriages can and do work. Again, it is a full time job, but if the love is strong it will survive. And it is well worth it because your's becomes the marriage that your non LE friends see as the standard. My wife has had comments made to her by her coworkers that she is lucky to have such a wonderful husband and marriage. She smiles and thanks them, but the truth is I AM THE LUCKY ONE. Be strong, talk to each other, talk to other cop wives in your area, and keep the faith.


On a side note, I don't know what area you live but in Oklahoma City I can think of no hospitals that ask officers to disarm, except for mental health facilities. And if one ever did they would have a serious problem because no cop around here I know would comply. I think your husbands chief needs to be ringing the hospital administrator's phone off the hook  over this policy. What are they affraid of, the officer going ballistic for poor service? That is just rediculous and about the most unbelievably assanign policy I have ever heard of.


And as for the creative holiday make up...one year we planned a New Year's Eve gathering at our home. But since it was Dec. 31 1999 and people were bugged about Y2K we all had to work. So we recorded the Rocking New Years Eve bash on TV and played it back at our party a week later. And at midnight we popped champaign and made our toast and kissed our loved ones. No one seemed to care it was a week late. Christmas, you can do it on the 26th and tell the kids dad was escorting Santa which is why we did it late. Just ideas that have worked for us. Hope things work out for you both.


If you can put some ice in a glass of bourbon I can drink it. If you can't I can still drink it.

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Rate This | Posted over 5 years ago

 

TheSarge says ...



Here's my quick joke and story. I retired in Dec 2008. I went home and met a wonderful gal. She claimed we'd been married 28 years and had two grown daughters. We laughed, hugged and had a long conversation.


From this end of life I can tell you this. My home has never been a shrine to my work. You will not find my medals, ribbons, certificates and plaques on any wall. You walk in and it is just like a regular Joe. I never kissed my wife goodbye with a whispered "Kiss me good because it might be the last time." Even with last night SWAT callouts, it was always, "I'll be home in a few hours."


Cops can be pretty self absorbed. You and your lovely need to spend real time together about where you're going, your plans, and it has to be away from your own home and jurisdiction. Someplace where both a ya can clear your minds.


Also, you need to be of the mindset that an officer / deputy is going to be deployed for 20+ years. With due regard to our military brethren who are deployed for 6 months, a year, ... even longer. A civilian LEO is deployed a long time. With that comes the ability to adjust to unyielding schedules, bosses who are asses, partners who are problems and other temptations found in our work.


The strength that your officer will exhibit will come from his own 'calling' to police work AND it will come from a strong homefront. Police work is anti-marriage. The agency generally doesn't care about you or your family. All they care about is staffing levels and making sure he is at work when he is suppose to be.


Mrs. Sarge and I have been talking a lot lately. Yes, I have missed some things in our past life. But Mrs. Sarge is an exceptional woman....she is the diamond in our family crown. I could not have done it without her. Heck, she had to pick me up three times from the hospital from injuries at work. But she was there. And divorce has never been an option.


It's a tough life. It's a tough job. But you are two tough people !



Wow, as both the wife of a cop and a 911 op/dispatcher, I could not have said it better.

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Rated +1 | Posted over 5 years ago

 

I just answered to another forum where the question was similar. I am not a police spouse, rather a cop. My job cost me my first marriage, and just this week cost me the man that meant the world to me. I wish i could give you a better answer, but i really cant because i dont know all of the details. How long have you guys been married anyways?
Anyhow,
please talk to him. Communcation is very important when you date a cop, because we work long hours, and if youre like me or any one of my zone partners, we are a busy agency, and work a lot of OT, so i usually sleep both days im off. Im grumpy, moody, and tired when i come home, and i usually dont want to talk. My ex's biggest complaint was the nights he had to spend a lone. He wasnt a cop, and we didnt have children together, but he had a son. I was with him for two years, and still wasnt very close to his 4 year old son, eventhough i love kids. I just didnt have the time. He left me because he couldnt marry me, and have a family with a "Mommy that is always gone", or sleeping. The danger associated with it was also a deterring matter.
I reccommend you guys sit down and talk. Tell him how youre feeling, and lay it all out on the table. Come up with some solutions to be together more often, and spend more alone romantic time together.
As far as being able to live up the police wife/husband..... i dont believe in that. We have simlar hours, and mindsets of firefighters, doctors, etc. To be with a cop long term, in my opinion, you cannot be a person that is seeking for something in return. Selfless giving, and a lot of independence. You are expected to be the backbone, and be strong, when he is not home. He is out trying to make everyone safer, and make the area a better safer place for your boy. When he comes home, he wants to see your smile, and have your support. This is the tough part. It sounds like you didnt really support his persuing this career which is the first issue. Justin didnt support what i did either, and neither did my husband when i was a rookie going through FTO training. You have to really think about the idea of giving and giving and not getting a 24 hour emotional support in return. You have to really think about if you can be the type of woman to dedicate your life to supporting the family of a cop, because this comes with its duties, and responsibilities in its own. You need to think long term, and if you are capable of spending the rest of your life like that?

If you do, i can almost promise you that it will be well worth your while. Most older cops i know, that have a woman at home that has supported them all through the years....they are so thankful, and they love their wives more than anything. I loved Justin so much, and wanted to spend the rest of my life with him, i am crushed that my job cost me the ultimate thing in my heart....the one person i wanted to spend the rest of my life with.

As for the hospital... i have never heard of such a think, and im a little outraged.... i go in there all the time like that. On duty, i was in the room watching my Godson come into this world....full uniform and weapon and all.
My mom was recently admitted to the hospital for overnight observation, and i made sure the hospital she went to was the one in the city i worked in so i could check on her...im out there all the time for baker acts....they didnt say anything to me either...they greeted me, and gave my mom special privelages, and made sure she had her own room, and was tended to very well. (My mom thought she was at the marriot or something).

Good luck to you, you and your family are in my prayers.

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Rated +1 | Posted over 5 years ago

 

Oh sweetie, it sounds like all of this really has been working on you physically and emotionally. I am the wife of an officer and let me tell you, the first year was the hardest for me.  I couldn't deal with his ego, the stress, and the fact that we live very remotely and I was left alone in a small community all by myself for months while he attended the academy. The day he left, I didn't think I could handle it. I was worried about everything. I had my kids and our german shepherd and I slept with a loaded shotgun by my bed every night of the week because of never knowing what to expect. 


But you know what, it all turned out just fine, there were never any problems and the people of the community were all so kind and helpful even when I stepped on a nail in the backyard the first few days I was alone.  Everyone wanted to help.  So all my worrying was for nothing.  It's hard and many times in the beginning we fought and I almost left him after the first year, but as time went on, he learned how to drop his job at the door and be the husband I always knew he was before he had the badge.  Now we're going on 20 years this september and all is better than it ever was. He talks to me, vents to me, and our family is having fun and laughing again.  When he gets a call, I just let him go and I don't worry anymore.  I know that he knows what he's doing and I know now that when he goes away for trainings that sometimes can be in average of two weeks at a time, I just enjoy the time off with my kids and I've learned how to do everything independently with or without him. 


You're getting yourself very worked up and that is only going to harm you in the long run.  If you want a good place for support, there is a forum called Policewives.org and I"ve heard the ladies there are great and very supportive and they're there for you no matter what you're going through or when.  You will find alot of solace there and the support that you need being an officers wife. So you can try that if you want.


It sounds like you need some other people, especially wives like you to talk to so anytime, you want, just PM me and we can chat all you like anytime you need too.


Good luck with everything.....

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Rate This | Posted about 5 years ago

 

Guess I am really lucky.  My husband was my friend before we became something more and he was already a cop.  I worked as a Special Deputy and rode with him for a couple of years and then worked as a dispatcher for his department before having to give it up due to health problems.


Having loved the job myself and seeing how he did it gives me peace when he is on duty.  I know that he is smart and careful and that helps me believe that he will come home.  We also are lucky to be with a department that cares.  It hasn't always been that way but some things have happened in the last year that really brought them together.


It is hard to have to attend things as a "single" when you are really part of a pair but be proud of what your spouse does and the difference he/she makes to the commuity and for you family as well.


I don't know what the deal was with your ER but they were way off base.  Think I would have to be writing some lettters and making some calls about that policy.  


Hang tough.  If you love him, and it sounds like you do and that he loves you, it will all work out.


 


 


 


 


The Second Amendment....America's original Homeland Security Plan.

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Rate This | Posted about 5 years ago

 

I know it is hard! These week has been especially trying for me too! Seems like there is nothing left for us by the time they get home. We schedule around them and it seems like we are always waiting and worrying. But I guess it says something about our strength if we can make it work. I love my husband so much but I am constantly wondering how long I can live this way and how it will affect us in the long run. The bottom line for me is that I would rather be with him than without him so I am in it for the long haul. It would be nice to have a break from it for awhile though. This LEO lifestyle permeates every aspect of our lives (they can't even sit with their back to the door for god's sake!). I understand it but sometimes I feel like I didn't sign up for all of it. Hang in there! I think we all feel this way!

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Rate This | Posted about 5 years ago

 

It sounds to me, like you two didn't really talk about this new career path before hand. You have to understand that Police is way more than just a job. It becomes a part of your life. I realized after I started my job, that I was hanging out less and less with my "old" friends and more and more with my co-workers. I am currently single (twice divorced but that's a whooooole other post) so I don't really have that to worry about. Maybe I never will, but that's still to be determined..


On another note, the folks at the hospital are loony. That's a bunch of BS. I guarantee they wouldn't have a problem with him bringing his Gun in if they had a psych patient with a gun would they? And you said he "had to choose between you and his gun". That's not the case at all my dear.


Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil. For I have trained my whole life for that moment.
AWB- They Call me FLEX!!!!

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Rate This | Posted about 5 years ago

 

I don't know what state you live in, but most have state laws that state where the officer is allowed to carry a gun, which is usually everywhere, at least in Colorado that's the law. Sounds to me like the hospital was totally out of line.  Being in uniform, he should have been allowed to wear his gun. If he locks it in the car and it gets stolen, now he would be in trouble with the dept.  No win situation.


It takes a very strong and understanding person to be a cops wife.  No getting around it.  There will be a lot of times like holidays, major desasters, or just plain old shift work, when you will be alone.  He will miss the kids school plays, and other social activities.  It's part of the job.  I have had a lot of young officers trying to balance the home life with the job.  Some are pushed into a corner of choosing between the wife or the job.  Most of the time they choose the job. It's is a tough decision, that needs to be thought out carefully.  My wife got use to it a long time ago.  She was very understanding and always supported me and stood by me.  I guess I was one of the lucky ones.


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Rate This | Posted about 5 years ago

 

I have not read all the responses to this topic, but can speak from personal experience...down to the actual day that my husband was shot and died in the line of duty.  I won't go into all the issues with the hospital itself as I have my own questions about how some things were handled in out situation as well.


I can, however, speak from the position of being a surviving spouse who had to leave the hospital at 5 in the morning to go home and tell my 9 year old son and 7 year old daughter that they weren't going to "visit Daddy" like they thought, but that he was gone.   It was 17 years ago, but still seems like yesterday...


We were going to a community college together at the time.  One of our mutual friends asked me, as we waited between classes, how I dealt with knowing that something might happen to him at any time.


My answer to her was the same as it had always been...."God knows and is in control of when we will be born and when we will die."  Randy had a quote taped to his ticket board so that everyone he stopped saw it.  It read," I am immortal, until God is finished with me."


We too, had hospital visits that made us think about what could happen.  During one, just a few months before he was killed, I was actually in the ER room right across the hall from him and the prisoner he had taken in to the ER.  I guess no one realized it with all the commotion, but I had to lie there and listen to this guy threaten to kill him in many different ways, as well as threaten all of us in his family.


I honestly do not know how I would have dealt with it without having faith that God was in control.  I questioned why for many years, until I finally realized that there would never be a why that was good enough.  Now, I just try to look back at the people who were touched by both Randy's life and his death.


After all, in all reality, WE can't change it.... even the things with the hospital that weren't right or the woman who knew the man who shot my husband had a weapon on him.....Bless you though, as you continue to deal with this.

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Rate This | Posted over 1 year ago

 

I know that this is not related to the topic at hand but I was just curious if any pd wives have husbands with anger management issues and how they deal with it..... I am divorce bound please help.