By Ed Meckle, Retired LAPD

INTANGIBLE definition: Unable to be touched or grasped; not having a physical presence

An architect can point to a building or structure he (we are using the editorial “he” here, no disrespect to females). A contractor or plumber can lay claim to any number of projects. Even a factory worker can point to an X count of widgets at day’s end.

There are service persons by the score-waiters, clerks, doctors, lawyers, nurses and the list goes on. But what of the description, “First Responders?”

The law enforcement officer (LEO), aside from arrests and tickets, usually has only his personal satisfaction in providing the daily chores that make up his life. LEO’s must and should take motivation from the service they provide. From finding a lost child, recovering a stolen vehicle or property, and/or settling a dispute ad infinitum. The satisfaction of looking back at shift’s end and knowing that he made a difference in someone’s life (hopefully a good one).

He must take pride in whatever it was he did or didn’t do to resolve the situation; to take from that whatever he needs to bring him back day after day, to provide the fuel that feeds his enthusiasm and drives him no matter how jaded or disillusioned he has become. To prove, if to no one but yourself, that you are a person of character. Then, and only then have you accomplished something.

CHARACTER definition: The mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual. I prefer, ‘doing the right thing even when no one is watching.’

Part II

DEFERENCE AND RESPECT

Have you ever experienced a LEO being introduced to a stranger and watched how guarded he is until told that the other person is or was a LEO? You would’ve seen a complete personality change right before your eyes. There is almost a “formal rule” or ritual that both parties go through, probably done unconsciously. If you doubt me, read law enforcement blogs or Facebook police pages.  Aside from the usual kidding you will notice a sincere sense of mutual respect and love, yes love. You’ll see an almost elaborate politeness, a sense of warrior meeting warrior.

Civil war painting-unknown battle
Civil war painting-unknown battle

In July 2016, I wrote, “I’ve been to see the Elephant.” This term was common to the Civil War wherein the young soldiers tried to put into words the horror they had witnessed. An unspoken, “we have been there, passed the test and I recognize you for who and what you are.”

Granted not all LEO’s go through this ritual but enough for me to notice. Other than the military no one besides LEO’s are that closely bonded.

I have heard too many eulogies, read to many End of Watch (EOW) notices and heard to many tales of friendship and daring-do to wonder why we don’t reach out—right now—to our old friends and partners and tell them of our feelings. Tell them you appreciate all the times together and tell them as only one man can tell another, “I love you, man.”

It was Shakespeare who told us we were a “BAND OF BROTHERS,” are we not? 

Better they hear it now than before it’s too late. Tell them now.