The Unimaginable

Stand With Honor

Benjamin Salerno

People sometimes ask me what is the hardest thing about being an officer. Even if they don’t ask, I know they are thinking it. I think most officers wherever they are would tell you the same thing: It’s the way you become a bit callous to the things you see. I don’t mean that in a bad way, at all. I’ll admit you do become callous because you simply have to cope with the things you’ve seen without letting it affect the rest of your life—your real life with your wife, your kids and your friends.

I know people in corporate America that think they have stressful jobs, but it’s nothing like what we have to deal with. They go home and worry about maybe they didn’t get some paperwork done, or maybe they had to lay someone off. That’s the worst day for them. It’s nothing compared to telling a wife her husband died, or a child that her father died, in the line of duty. I’ve been there. Too many of us have.

In law enforcement we see a lot, but we don’t always talk about it much. We see women and men battered, children who are abused, people who don’t have food and literally eating dog or cat food to get by. And, at the end of the day, we still go home. We still forget it all and kiss our spouses and embrace our children.

So, I’ll tell you that the fact that thousands of officers like me do that every day just to get by is the worst part of the job. And yet, even though we might get callous, we take the next call. We always do. That’s our job.


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