A TIME TO BELIEVE
By Lt. Randy Sutton (ret)
There was a time when you believed in me. You knew who I was and why I wore that uniform. You knew that I believed also. I believed that when I put on that uniform and strapped that gun belt around my waist, I was much more just a man. I was a cop…your cop. I knew my job then. It was to make sure that you could walk the streets safely, that your daughters would not be accosted and your sons wouldn’t be dragged into a gang. You knew that my job was sometimes not easy and often dangerous and you appreciated me for being willing to take that risk. You spoke to me when we passed in the street and we smiled at each other. I knew you and your family. We spoke of our children and as I walked away and stepped back into my patrol car, you thought “I’m glad that he is protecting us, I hope that he is safe tonight.” I drove through the streets during the darkness and during the light constantly vigilant, looking for those who might do harm and I wasn’t afraid to confront them and ask who they were and what they were doing. Sometime I found the predators and took them off the street and at the end of those days, I felt good. I knew that I had done my job and more than that, I had done my duty. My duty to protect you and your family. And when I returned to my own family at the end of the day, my children were proud of me. They knew that I was a protector and respected by my community. I basked in their pride and it buffered me from the danger that I faced and the cruelty that I witnessed and the heartbreak that often I was powerless to stop. Because I knew that what I did was important. Important to my family and to my community and to those who stood beside me bearing the same burdens and responsibilities with a gleaming badge worn proudly on their chest.
Now, my heart is full of doubts. I see how you treat me differently when another media story careens across the headlines accusing the police of being heartless killers. I watch as you avert your eyes from mine as we pass in the street. Where once I felt your trust, now I feel your doubt. And it hurts. It hurts because I am the same man, the same cop and I would still give my life for you and your family. I know who I am. I know that I believe that I make a difference every day and that the risks that I take are worth the sacrifice. Because without me and those that serve beside me, our towns, our cities and our nation would decay into a world that none of us would want to live in.
I will still stand the line. I will continue to serve. I will still place myself in harm’s way for you and if need be, I will give my life. But I wish that you still believed.
Randy Sutton is a 33 year Law Enforcement veteran and the National Spokesman for ‘THE AMERICAN COUNCIL ON PUBLICE SAFETY”. www.defendingtheshield.org He served ten years in the Princeton New Jersey Police Department and 23 years with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department retiring at the rank of Lieutenant. He is recognized as one of the most highly decorated officers in the LVMPD history, having awards for Valor, Community Service, Exemplary Service and multiple Lifesaving awards. He has trained thousands of Law Enforcement Officers in the United States on the subject of “POLICING WITH HONOR”, and has been recognized by the President of the United States while receiving the “POINTS OF LIGHT” award. He is the author of “TRUE BLUE Police Stories by Those Who Have Lived Them”, ‘A COP’S LIFE”, “TRUE BLUE To Serve and Protect” and “THE POWER OF LEGACY, Personal Heroes of America’s Most Inspiring People” His web site is www.thepoweroflegacy.com.