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.’
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.
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.
7 replies on “The Call Box: Intangible”
The LAPD union or “The Protective League” monthly news paper is the “Thin Blue Line.” All things LAPD, practices, personnel happenings throughout the Department, births, deaths and the like like are published to keep all associated with the Department up to date on issues that effect all “brothers and sisters” current and retired. Each division, section or unit can submit their article to the news paper for the monthly publication for all to read. But the most interesting thing , to me, is the last section of the news paper, the retirement corner. Here retirement groups, the lunch, brunch groups through out the U. S. talk about the folks who attend these socials. Yep, even in retirement these unofficial “roll calls” still bring us together. From the “four digit midgets,” those who’s LAPD serial numbers are early post WWII to the most recent retirees, to retirees of other agencies who’s departments don’t have these socials, we all talk one language, COP…..It was a language learned not from books or a formal education or from a self taught at home program. It was learned on the streets and the educators were many, and they were from both sides of the “Thin Blue Line.”
Beautiful message, Ed. First responders see the unthinkable, and have to function at such a different level than other professions, just to survive. The bond with each other is deep.
Again, thank you for enlightening us on all of these dimensions of police work.
I hope you felt this understanding, respect and love from my Dad. He isn’t here to say it, but I know he felt it. We remember “Eddie Meckle” being spoken of as kids. You were loved by him, and we all feel love for you too. You share something with our Dad that very few people did.
Love and respect,
Maura Fitzgerald Sekas
Thank You 20048. Were I so eloquent as thee/
Thank you Maura : I think of your dad often. I’m glad my meanderings
rekindle old memories
Love you all…
Ed, you are right on point! Being a police officer is the only profession I can think of that for every shift of their entire 20+ year career they are potentially a “target” because of the uniform and what they represent. No other profession, not even our military warriors can make that claim. That’s why officers are hesitant to make social contact with people until they discover that they have this same understanding or bond. “I Love You, Man.”
Ron Corbin (17027)
Thank you Ron