My little sister Tracey is a cop.  She started with the Little Rock Police Department as a cadet, and is now a Lieutenant.  She chose to spend all of her working career as a police officer, and God willing she will retire in a few years.  There is no way to express how proud I am of her.

I’ve watched her leave our house while we were all having dessert on Christmas because she had to go back on patrol.  I learned to never call her during the day when she was working night shift because she struggled so much with sleeping.  I’ve rearranged lunch dates because she had to testify in court, or got called out on an emergency.

She has worked patrol, undercover, homicide, robbery…the list goes on.  She has seen the very worst of humanity and what they can do to each other.   She tells me the crimes against children are always the worst, it never gets easier.

She has problems sleeping.  Do you wonder why?

How many of us leave our homes everyday with the knowledge we could be killed on the job?

She was married to a cop.  She is dating one now.  Who else would understand the pressure she is under, the hours she works except another cop?

So when I see the video of those police officers in Dallas running TOWARDS the gunfire, I think of my sister.  When I see the video of police officers pulling the bodies of their fallen brothers to safety I think of my sister.  When I see the video of the families of police officers crying at a funeral, I think of my sister.

And I cry.  Hot, wet tears for the pain that those families are going through.  For the realization that every day my sister goes to work could be her last day on earth because of what she does for a living.  I cry because I realize someone could target her because of her job, her chosen career to help others and to keep our society functional.

There is a problem in our country.  I know that there are some cops that make bad decisions, that are prejudiced.  I know for a fact that good police officers like my sister have a deep disdain for bad cops.  But the overwhelming majority of law enforcement officers in this country are good people like Tracey.

I cannot begin to understand what it is like to be a person with non-white skin in this country.  I’m not black, or Asian, or Hispanic.  I’m a white middle class female and I know that it is different for me.  I’ve seen the sidelong looks when my “daughter from another mother” Kira is with me.   Kira is black.  I know that Kira, an active duty soldier with several tours in Iraq has experienced racism and prejudice.  But she doesn’t blame all whites.  She doesn’t blame all police officers.

As furious as I am about the hatred and blaming of police officers, I am equally furious that black people in our country are still discriminated against simple because they are clothed in different skin than I am.

Kira, Tracey and I have traveled together.  We have had many meals where we laughed until we cried.  We trust each other.  Because we know, really know, each other.

We aren’t unique.  Many people believe in racial equality and also support our police.

What does it take to put a real face on that person in uniform or the black man or woman walking down the street?

There is a video circulating on Facebook right now.   Watch it.  Please.

Then read what my sister Tracey said.

Wow. I don’t talk about my job very often on FB, but this video makes me want to say this….

I have been a proud member of law enforcement for 28 years. I am someone that loves my job, through all the ups and downs, this is what I was meant to do. I wanted to help people, I have done that. And I am proud of the work that I do. Yes, there are officers that abused their authority, there are officers that have made the wrong decisions. I have supervised officers and have recommended everything from oral reprimands, everything in between, and terminations. 95% of the officers I have worked with in the past, and work with now, have been professional, caring, and diligent officers. Numerous holidays/birthdays/family events have been missed because of shifts, emergencies, call outs-off duty jobs because kids needs braces/medical work/college, etc. these officers would do everything again for this job. Most of all, we have felt the loss and devastation when we have had an officer killed in the line of duty. A member of our family has been killed, so do not tell me I (or any officer) don’t know what you are going through. We do. On every officers mind-everyday when we put on the uniform (or in some cases, plain clothes), and we kiss our loved ones goodbye when we leave for our shift….will this be the last day I have with them? And yes, I would do it all again because this is what I was meant to do. I am of the belief-“All Lives Matter, Including Blue Lives”

michelleandtracey
Michelle and Tracey

I wish I had a solution.  I don’t.  But I do know that love and friendship between races and between cops and non-cops is possible because I see it in my family.  Maybe if we started looking beyond the surface we could see our family isn’t just black, or blue, or white.  It’s all colors.

And Tracey?  I love you and I am proud of you.  Stay safe.