I was a quarter of the way done with my cigar when someone had sent me a text of the link that opened the video.
I started to watch the video from my chair at the counter in the cigar lounge and immediately recognized that it deserved my undivided attention; so I left the lounge and went to my car to watch the video in it’s entirety, undisturbed.
The black and white video from inside of the jail showed two officers of the Cook County Sheriff’s Department (Corrections Officers) in the mist of being attacked by several inmates in their Division 9 section.
The officers were attacked, back up officers arrived in swarms and the inmates used the system to their advantage and surrendered prior to any officer applying force. Smart, very smart. And also infuriating.
I had seen several videos over the years of officers being attacked by unruly and out of control people as well as the media’s version of “bad officers” attacking citizens and every other incident of law enforcement contact with the public imaginable.
I have made a name for myself over the years as being someone who stands up and vocalizes righteous law enforcement ideals, while demanding accountability for those cops who have either lost their way or had snuck through the cracks in the hiring process in the first place. I have fallen on the sword for what I believe in and those I honor as brothers. I believe in the people who serve, those they serve and the ideals for which they serve. For we are those we serve.
That is the Thin Blue Line and its meaning to me. And it is held by amazing warriors who have answered the call to walk a life that few others can, as integrity and self examination of discipline and acceptance of responsibility is key to mastery. Make no mistake, my armor is dented, nicked and damaged in parts. But my skills have been sharpened and my senses far too keenly developed to be challenged without my personal sacrifice amounting to anything other than a victory for what I believe in. My integrity is untouched.
I am supported by many and hated in equal measure. But my calling is not to find safety in the eyes of approval by all, rather it is at the side of those like me who willingly enter the burning fire of pressure and testing so that we as a brotherhood may walk through the scorching flames and exit hardened, forged and as a new creation. And we do this all for love of those we serve.
I sat there in my car, video ended, sitting in silence and feeling the overwhelming frustration of helplessness in that I was not able to help. Social media, videos, articles, what does all of this surmount to if the officers that I believe in do not have the backing we all talk about for them to be able to uphold this Blue Line that we all say we support?
“I got your 6” is this new phrase that is flooded over the internet in comments as if people truly believe that there is power in words alone without the support of actions behind it.
What does, “I got your 6” mean to you? What does it mean to the officers who you say it to? What does it mean to those who hear it and fail to understand the depth of it’s meaning to those they serve along side of? Are we what we swore to or have we become divided and scattered in a field of a self serving feeding frenzy which fattens us one day yet slows us to the point of vulnerability the next? We have become lost in a world of those who claim they love the police yet truly hate those who wear the badge… and far too many of those affected and shun into the lost, misguided, confused and hate, are cops themselves.
“I got your 6” to me was a calling. It was a prayer and that was answered while feeling absolutely helpless after watching that video of two officers being attacked and still wanting, no needing, to serve them in a way that gave them acknowledgement in their sacrifice and service. Far removed from my post and involved in my own fight, I felt my place with them, along side them and proving to them that they mattered to me most.
From the darkness of my car, while sitting in the glowing light of the street lamp, I asked, “what do you want me to do?” and He answered, “run.” And knowing from my past never to question, I knew that the map was already laid out and the path was already set for me to walk. I saw the thorns, the jagged rock, the vicious sea and the unforgiving sky; yet I answered the call.
And I will honor the call no matter what.
There is a saying I have to remind myself constantly of and it is simple and gets me back on track after I find myself being off the rails at my own doing for too long: “Thy Will be done… not mine.”
I knew in that moment when He called out, that I would be thrown into the most intense of fires and the forging would be an all out war on my character, integrity and very name. But this is His Will and not mine. The fight is for Him as He has shown me that this is not my victory to win, but one for all of those who serve and who are loved to their faces, hated behind their backs and sacrificed as lambs to the slaughter by those who have forgotten that they answered the same call once before as those they call “brother”.
All of us in law enforcement have said that we “answered a calling” but some have decided to ignore to the purpose of what the calling was for. I have not and I know countless others who’s actions and righteous love for their oath inspire me to constantly measure up to their standard as I move forward through these fires. And their love for our oath and people is what fortifies my armor to the point of impenetrability during this war.
And it is this war which I will lead us on to victory.
I answered the call to serve and I will lead so that the world will know who we are.