Protected, But Scared: What It's Like To Be A Police Officer's Child

by Bri Ray

Let’s be real here — and a little cliché: Our dads were our very first loves (this applies to all the ladies out there) and will always be the most amazing men on this planet.

I’m sure we can all remember sitting by the door, waiting to hear Dad come home from work, running up to him and giving him a huge bear hug when he finally made it.

But, what if he was late? Did you worry something bad had happened to him? Most of you will answer “no” to this question, but some will say “yes.”

We’ve all heard from others at some point in life, “My dad is my hero,” but mine is considered to be hero to not only me, but to many.

My dad is a police officer. Here's what it's like to grow up in a family like mine:

As a little girl, I felt so much pride knowing my dad was out protecting our city from crime; I’m now 21 years old and that pride remains, but I can’t help but feel fear knowing he's out there on patrol.

Why do I feel fear? I can’t get on the Internet without seeing someone bash on police officers. People say some very scary things, even going as far as, “A dead cop is the best cop.”

Do you know what it’s like to read that? It’s earth-shattering to know someone out there thinks my dad would be better off dead.

What does your dad do for a living? Imagine someone saying, “A dead _____ is the best _____.” Scary thought, huh?

So now, on top of already worrying about him being out on patrol, facing dangers that are part of the job, I have to worry about some nut job who put a target on my dad for simply reporting for duty.

No one seems to understand the fear that comes with being the daughter of an officer.

Not many of us have ever had to hear, “Your dad was involved in an incident today. I’m not sure what happened yet, but you need to remember how much your dad loves you.”

Not many of us sit in our rooms, praying the garage door will open soon and that he just got caught up with a lot of paper work. You can’t imagine the fear that comes with being the daughter of a man who puts his life on the line in his day-job.

When your dad got home from work, did he ever tell you about his day over dinner?

I’m sure it was nice, hearing what he did all day, knowing what kind of day he had. When your dad's a police officer, that’s not how things are. He won’t tell you about his day.

He won’t tell you about the people who shot at him, the people he had to fight to protect himself, the car chase he got involved in.

He won’t tell you these things and you won’t know about his day at work. I used to get upset because my dad would never talk about work, and he acted differently than other dads.

Now that I’m older, I realize he didn’t talk about it because he was protecting me. He was protecting me from knowing the horrors he sees daily and from knowing just how much danger he’s in.

Do you get what I’m trying to convey?

For you, I want to humanize the man behind the badge. People don’t understand what this life is like. I want you to remember these things:

- When you threaten an officer, you’re threatening my dad, his family, me…

- You have so much hate for the police, and yet, my dad continues to put his life on the line to protect yours. Funny, huh? He doesn’t even know you and every morning, he wakes up, puts on his uniform and sets out to do whatever he can to protect you.

- It’s not my dad's fault you broke the law and you got a ticket, or you got arrested, or you're serving jail time — it’s YOUR fault. You chose to break the law; my dad was only doing his job to protect.

The next time you see an officer, before you automatically label him as an assh*le out to get you, remember, this is his job; he has a family to go home to. He has a little girl waiting to hear from him, waiting to hear “I love you” one more time.

This one’s for you, Daddy, for being brave enough to do what others wouldn’t, for protecting even those who persecute you and for being the best dad any girl could ever ask for.

I’d also like to say thank you to all of our service men and women who put their lives on the line daily to protect the lives of others.