After Officer Atkinson's death, several nasty factions within the city decided they would wage war on the police department. They threatened to ambush any officer they saw and claimed there would be more deaths. One evening, I was working 911 and I got a computer message from a friend working in dispatch. "You need to come over here," it said. I got up and crossed into the radio room. I read her screen as she typed what the officers were saying. She was working my husband's precinct and it didn't take long for me to get that sick feeling. He and his partner (not the beautiful Julie) had been lead around a neighborhood several times by a car and on their last pass a man stepped out from behind another parked car and shot at them. After the incident, we found out the guy in the mobile car had called the shooter and told him to come out and kill the officers. To make matters worse, our radio system crashed while this was happening. I sat in that chair next to my friend listening to the silence knowing my husband was out there with a target on him and there was nothing that any of us could do about it. Thankfully, no one was hurt. He came home safely and a few days later we received a bouquet of cookie flowers from the local police association. It was a nice gesture and my son loved them. I'm pretty sure only police officers and their families receive goodies basically stating, "We're glad you're not dead."
My husband had been on the department for about four years when an incident occurred that made me question his sanity. One night about 2 in the morning, I was jolted awake by my husband's sudden movement beside me in bed. I grabbed my glasses and watched in amazement as he jumped from bed and grabbed his gun, all while in a weird crouched rolling position. It's hard to describe but was something you might see in a cop movie. When he came out of the tuck and roll, he was positioned in the doorway of our bedroom gun pointed out the door. It was at that point I heard the noise. The battery in our fire alarm was going dead and would emit a loud beep every few minutes. When my husband realized what it was, he stood up, holstered the gun and climbed back into bed. I guess you can say I'm glad he has such good reaction time straight out of sleep, but I also wonder...
Body Fluid Warning
One day, I was cleaning our bedroom attempting to make sense of all the random papers strewn about on top of the dresser. I truly believe my husband would come home from shift, take everything out of his pockets (and there were a lot of pockets in those BDU pants) and dump it on the dresser. So, I'm sorting through the mess and I pick up a yellow (I think it was yellow. It might have been pink) carbon copy. First thing, the title catches my eye, "Body-Fluid Exposure." Ewww, body fluids! Reading further, I got a vivid description of how my husband had come into contact with this other gentleman's blood and now needed to be aware of the risks inherent in that. Just gross. I suppose it was a good thing for me to know as well since I had washed the uniform he wore that night. I can't imagine most spouses of non-law enforcement people have to think about things like that.
Being married to a law enforcement officer has unique qualities. Sometimes it's good. Sometimes it's bad. Many times it's ugly. Regardless, it's always a journey... and it makes for great stories.