John Reilly was a state trooper for 34 years. The following little anecdote is just one small, typical incident and example of the stresses and challenges most cops go through, which the average person does not experience or can relate to. Quoted from James Patterson & Matt Eversmann's "Walk The Blue Line" (Little, Brown and Company, 2023). The recently published book is filled with almost 100 short first-person accounts of police officers and selected significant incidents during their careers.
"It's well after midnight and I've pulled over a speeding car carrying three males. Two are in the front seat, one in the back. When you're a state cop and working the highway, you're not always dealing with criminals. Speeders aren't criminals, you know what I mean? But these three guys are acting very suspiciously, making furtive movements as I approach. The one in the back is moving around the most.
"I'm not a big guy, maybe five seven and 155 pounds. And when it's two o'clock in the morning, and you're pulling over a car with a bunch of people in it, it's dark, and you're on the side of the road, you're by yourself - you have to be careful.
"The guys are young, in their late teens or early twenties - kids, basically. I have them get out of the car, one at a time, giving very clear instructions about what to do and what not to do. Where to stand. I've always prided myself in speaking to people of all ages, shapes and colors with respect. I treat them the way I want my own family members to be treated.
"The kid from the back seat starts to walk away from me. His back is toward me. I see him slide his right palm into his belt line, as if he's about to pull out a weapon. He starts to turn toward me. I pull out my gun, thinking about an incident that occurred on my second day at the academy. Our class was out on a long-distance training run, a cruiser in front of us and an ambulance trailing behind in the event of a medical emergency, when one of my classmates collapsed. They were working on him within seconds, and, unfortunately, he still died.
"It became a huge story, news articles saying that drill instructors were spitting on him and yelling 'Die, maggot, die'. I was there and that didn't happen. Right then I learned that I'm going to be at places where things happen and don't get reported correctly......
"I come from all kinds of cops and public servants. What people don't get, in my opinion, is that we're just family guys who want to do the right thing.
"'Leave your hands where they are,' I tell Backseat Guy. 'Do not take your hands out of your pants, or I'm going to shoot you.'
"'Don't shoot me! Don't shoot me!'
"I grab his arm to keep his hand in his pants. I've got to keep my eyes on him while watching the two other guys. If something goes down with Backseat Guy and I get into an altercation, I'm wondering if his two friends will come over and kick the shit out of me. Or maybe they'll whip out their phones and start recording. The world is completely upside down. I unbuckle the guy's pants. I pull them down and see what he's holding.
"'You asshole,' I say. 'You almost got yourself killed and my career ended for a little bag of weed?'
"'I - I didn't want to get caught with it.'
"The kid's a nervous wreck. So am I. We all kind of hug it out on the side of the road."
How ongoing traumatic exposures impact first responders:
"It’s actually estimated that police officers experience approximately 3.5 traumatic events in a 6-month period throughout their entire career. If you multiply that by 30 years you get over 200. Not to mention just hearing about significantly traumatic events can also create post-trauma symptoms. So, this number might not account for all the information they gather through work talk, over the radio, or if they are involved in a peer support team or critical incident stress management team." https://www.police1.com/health-wellness/articles/how-ongoing-traumatic-exposures-impact-first-responders-IKu7UkIsm2SqWtXB/
Invisible Wounds of the Aching Blue https://www.mybestbuddymedia.com/2020/10/invisible-wounds-of-aching-blue_3.html
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Inside The Mind of a Police Officer https://www.mybestbuddymedia.com/2019/06/inside-mind-of-police-officer.html
The Victim Mentality: 23 Signs to Help Sufferers Overcome This Soul-Crushing Mindset https://www.mybestbuddymedia.com/2022/03/the-victim-mentality-23-signs-to-help.html
Effective, Safe & Overlooked Way for Police to Stop Aggressive Mentally Ill Attackers https://www.mybestbuddymedia.com/2020/10/effective-safe-overlooked-way-for.html
How To Think Like A Detective https://www.mybestbuddymedia.com/2021/04/how-to-think-like-detective.html