Being the first in many families can be a challenging time for everyone; first to go to college, first to graduate college, first doctor, first engineer. I was the first “cop”. The question will come up from investigators and other officers: “Do you come from a law enforcement family?” And when you say no, they are surprised and intrigued.
The question comes up because most people do not wake up one day to become an officer. They usually have seen the grandfather, or father spend is life serving, and they want to follow suit.
For me, I knew around first year of high school. My parents wanted me to be a lawyer or accountant, maybe even an engineer.
I came home one day and told them that I wanted to become a police officer. My parents rejected it at first, but then gave in and let me take classes in high school, believing for sure that this was just a phase.
When I graduated and was looking the Criminal Justice degrees for college, then begged it was just a phase. Being the first police officer in my family meant that I was breaking the norm. It was more than just a norm of my life, but also for theirs.
In their planning of having a child and having them be successful if the world, it did not occur to them that their son would be going out everyday wearing a bulletproof vest strapped on tight and a full size pistol on his waist.
At the time, being so wrapped up in my new-found career path, I failed to understand why they had such an issue with it. I was ready to go out there and help others in traumatic situations and arrest the evil in this world.
My parents saw their son wanting to go out into danger an everyday live life between the COPS show and Law and Order show. This is not to say that they were not in reality, but simply put they did not know what the reality was.
What helped them a little bit was my dedication in becoming an officer and my studies in college. When I started telling them what I learned from school, they started to understand that there was more to this whole “cop thing”.
In my last year of school I started applying to jobs. My family once again tried to convince me otherwise, but it was too late at this point. After going through two application processes, I was hired 9 months later, receiving a date to start the academy.
I share this story with all of you because those of you who are the first in your family thinking about joining the law enforcement family… don’t give up. Others will not understand, and may never understand, but if this is what you really want, don’t give in.
ps. just know in the back of your mind your family is always wondering if you are safe out there, let them know