Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

More than just a uniform

I grew up watching my dad walk out the door every day not knowing when or if he’d come home that night. As a kid, that never phased me; it was what was normal for the daughter of a police officer. But early this March there was a moment where he could have not come home at all. One man didn’t. One man was shot just for doing his job.
In less than two years, my hometown has suffered the loss of two police officers. In both scenarios, all I can image is that their uniform was the only thing that mattered. But cops have lives outside the uniform: lives that include families and hobbies of their own.
Unless you’re a police officer yourself or the family member of one, I don’t think you can possibly understand the sacrifices these people make in their day-to-day lives and relationships. My dad is one, and I barely know. But I know this:

  1. My dad does a thankless job. He serves people who have little to no respect for him – people he’s made his entire life about, who he’d lay down his life for – people who hate him. He’s been physically spat on by the people he serves, fought with people who had nothing to lose and has seen unspeakable things, revisiting them day after day until the case closed.
  2. He leads a double life where work and home are almost as separate as church and state. Before he got promoted, he never wore his wedding band to work because he was afraid that someone might target our family because of what he did for a living. He wanted to keep us out of “his world.”
  3. I didn’t get to see my dad very often. Because of that, my mother is the most independent woman I know. At times, it was as if she was a single mom because when I came home from school growing up, my dad was already gone for work. When I got up in the morning, he was on his third hour of sleep – if he was lucky. Sometimes, he wasn’t even home yet.
  4. He missed out on birthdays and school events and competitions and every holiday in existence. It was always nice to have him home on Christmas morning though, even if he was falling asleep on the couch while my brothers and I were opening presents because he’d only been home from work for two hours.
  5. It wasn’t just holidays and special events that he missed. His work got in the way of normal, everyday things, too. Texts like, “Hey honey, I’m going to be late picking you up from practice – there’s been a bank robbery. Be there as soon as I can” were texts that I grew used to getting. A disappointment that I grew to accept was coming home from school, all excited to tell him something, to find that he wasn’t home, and hadn’t been home since his eight hour shift had turned into 19.

Eventually though, his job took its toll on our relationship. I started to get angry at this guy who appeared once a week and took on the role of Father when he didn’t know what my day was like the day before, or what my life was like in general. As my father’s daughter – my father’s very stubborn and no-nonsense daughter – I let him know that. It was an ugly time for us.
But then I went to college. Now, I finally understand the life of service and sacrifice he’s led, and I couldn’t be prouder of the man he is and the work that he does. But I know that when you see him, all you’ll see is his uniform. But that isn’t all he is.
My dad loves fishing. He used to have a secret dream of flying airplanes, a dream that he has turned into a hobby. He’ll play baseball forever, no matter how many times he tears his meniscus (twice, so far). Glacier National Park is his favorite vacation we’ve ever taken, even despite our whining at the time, calling it our “Trip to Nowhere.” He’s more than his uniform, and so are all the other people who wear it.

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  • K

    Karen SheradenApr 12, 2022 at 9:56 am

    Many thanks to your dad for his service and sacrifices.

  • M

    MichelleApr 11, 2019 at 5:49 pm

    Nicely done Jordan! Reading it I feel you emotions and can tell how much Love and respect you have for your father as you should and as we all should respect all police and men and women in uniform. Thank you Mr Come for all you do to protect us and keep us safe. You have such a Beautiful daughter and so talented.
    Great Job!

    • C

      CharApr 11, 2019 at 11:11 pm

      Beautifully written. As a daughter of a police officer I have lived every word

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More than just a uniform