Wednesday, October 28, 2009

FH's Uncle

FH's uncle is even more awesome than I realized. One of the reasons FH went into law enforcement was because of the influence from his mom's younger brother as an officer for 20+ years (whom I had never even met until FH's POST graduation).

FH's aunt called him this evening stating that his Uncle Kenny had just been interviewed by FOX News as well as by Judith Miller for City Journal. Whoa, WHAT?! Who gets interviewed by Pulitzer-Prize winners and national news stations? Not anyone that we know...until now.

After dealing with years of an internal investigation involving corrupt cops, DTOs and burned out cars, FH's uncle is finally able to share some experiences from the events.

You can read the whole article by Judith Miller here, while I want to share a few choice snippets from his uncle on the whole affair:

When I read the following paragraph to FH, it hit a little close to home because of the threats they (the corrupt cops) made toward an LEO wife and family:

....Christesen suspected that Tarango had turned other law enforcement officers and local and state officials, and he hoped that the FBI’s investigation would uncover them. But the FBI had to cut short its investigation and move against the three men in December 2007, after agents overheard Tarango and Countryman discussing ways to intimidate and possibly harm a deputy sheriff. Among the tactics they discussed were following the deputy’s wife around town, taking photos of her and her children, leaving a photo of her on her car, throwing hypodermic needles on her lawn, delivering a box filled with dying rats to the family’s home, and leaving a pig’s head on the front porch. They agreed that this might send her a message that “her husband needs to back off,” a court document states, quoting part of an intercepted conversation between Tarango and Countryman. Further, the FBI overheard Tarango telling Countryman that he had watched the family’s home at various hours, and Countryman telling Tarango that this deputy’s “ass needed to be whacked.”

....Christesen, who is now running for sheriff in San Juan County, still fears that Danny Tarango’s web of corruption may have been far broader than the public has been told. In the wake of the Countryman and Salazar arrests, the New Mexico state police’s narcotics division was quietly disbanded and reorganized. The fact that the state said so little about its actions leads Christesen and others to believe that the conspiracy may have involved other, still-unnamed, corrupt cops, border patrol agents, and public officials.

These last two paragraphs were the most poignant to me on the damages a corrupt few can do for entire departments:

...But “law enforcement and the communities they serve have been irreversibly damaged” merely by the information that Salazar and Countryman gave Tarango and his Mexican associates, Christesen wrote in a statement that he gave to prosecutor Swainston. In his own statement, Swainston asserted that nine separate law enforcement agencies in New Mexico and six in Colorado had been damaged by Salazar’s betrayal. “It is hard to imagine anything more frightening for a law enforcement officer than to find out after the fact that those upon whom you just executed a . . . search warrant knew you were coming because one of your own told them so,” Swainston wrote in an impassioned 47-page sentencing memorandum.

“Cops hate these cases, hate to investigate and prosecute them, because it shows we’re not perfect, that we’re vulnerable to corruption like other human beings,” Christesen says. “A Salazar looks bad for all of us. But how many other counties like ours are there in the Southwest? How can we be sure that our law enforcement system isn’t being Mexicanized? I’m worried that they’ll start with bribes, and end as they have in Mexico, with intimidation and murder.”

Though I've only met FH's uncle a few times, I was in the presence of a great man. I'll always know him as Uncle Kenny even though he introduces himself as Ken and looks like a solidly-built male version of FH's mother. He talks with FH on a regular basis over LEO matters and gives him great pointers from a seasoned officer to a rookie.

After I read the article aloud to FH, he firmly and confidently stated, "One day I will achieve that greatness."

"Yeah, OK. Sounds good, Hon. Can you help me give the kids a bath in the mean time?"

"Oh. Sure."

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Vacationing with an LEO--a little help!

OK, the holidays are fast approaching and visiting with families is a given. However, I need a little help from those that know what I'm concerned about.

See, depending on if FH gets his vacation time approved, we may travel to another state to see my extended family for Thanksgiving, and I want it to be worthwhile. I'm a little turned-off from taking vacations anymore with FH because of the trials and errors (more trials from the errors) of a family reunion we went to this past summer.

We were in unfamiliar territory which set FH's hypervigilent state on red alert. It was the first vacation we had been on in years, as well as the first since he became an LEO.
Any little mess-up or wrong turn resulted in a lot of yelling and bickering. Struggles for control of an uncontrollable situation predominated the trip. I wish I could say the kids didn't see any of it, but we don't have a vehicle with a soundproof barrier between the seats, so the kiddies suffered too. It made me want to go on the family vacation without him!

In fact, it feels completely hypocritical to admit that because a family reunion involved...well, family. Holiday visits with family Who should be the most important part of my family? My husband and children. Seems like there should be a connection somewhere, right?

Have you noticed that sometimes it's just easier mentally to NOT bring your LEO? I know that sounds petty and small, but that's kind of how I'm viewing this upcoming vacation. Even if FH doesn't get the time off, I'm still extremely tempted to go without him, but that would mean leaving him alone on Thanksgiving.
Well, almost. His mother and siblings are nearby, and they're always "taking care" of him, so he won't be alone. He also has a bunch of nerdy friends that do a lot of RPG and computer games (yes, I married a closet nerd. He looks so "normal" on the outside!)
I've realized that we need to figure out how to do vacations again now that he's an LEO because it's not fair to anyone in the family to just leave him home every time (as tempting as it may be), but I need some help.

What can we do to make the vacation memorable (but in a positive way because the summer reunion was definitely memorable!) so that my LEO and I enjoy the holidays? What have you noticed helped you?
Besides, would if the fam decides to bake their turkey in a bikini and we miss out on it? I'd never forgive myself.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Wow....some people!
Here is a little clip from "Police Women of Broward County". I absolutely love this show! Thanks to Kimber for getting me hooked on it. I watched this episode tonight and could not belive this woman's reaction! I was so mad at her that I started to yell at her through my computer! (I watched it online). She is ridiculous! Just watch!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Just a little fun!
Here are some of the local officers in our area! So so so funny! Watch it! Thanks to my hubby for doing it!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

I wish you could.......

I don't know who wrote this, but everytime I read it I want to hold Fish and never let him go. I want to comfort him and tell him I'm sorry if I don't understand what he goes through. I admire him for the daily crap that comes with the job. I love him and can't live without him. Read this and go love on your hubby! (Or wife, whatever the case may be!)

I wish you could...

I wish you could comprehend a wife's horror at 6 in the morning as I Check her husband of 40 years for a pulse and find none. I start CPR anyway, hoping to bring him back, knowing intuitively it is too late. But wanting his wife and family to know everything possible was done to try and save his life.

I wish you knew the unique smell of burning insulation, the taste of soot-filled mucus, the feeling of intense heat through your turnout gear, the sound of flames crackling, the eeriness of being able to see absolutely nothing in dense smoke-sensations that I've become too familiar with.

I wish you could read my mind as I respond to a call, Is this a false alarm or a working fire? How is the building constructed? What Hazards await me? Is anyone trapped?' Or to call and ask what is wrong with the patient? Is it minor or life threatening? Is the caller really in distress or is he waiting for us with a 2x4 or a gun?

I wish you could be in the emergency room, as a doctor pronounces dead, the beautiful five-year old girl that I have been trying to save during the past 25 minutes, knowing she will never go on her first date or say the words, 'I love you Mommy', ever again.

I wish you could know the frustration I feel in the cab of the ambulance or engine or cruiser, the driver with his foot pressing down hard on the pedal, my arm tugging again and again at the air horn chain, as you fail to yield the right-of-way at an intersection or in traffic. When you need us however, your first comment upon our arrival will be, 'It took you forever to get here!'

I wish you could know my thoughts as I help extricate a girl of teenage years from the remains of her automobile. What if this was my daughter, sister, my girlfriend or a friend? What were her parent's reaction going to be when they opened the door to find a police officer with hat in hand?

I wish you could know how it feels to walk in the back door and greet my parents and family, not having the heart to tell them that I nearly did not come back from the last call.

I wish you could know how it feels dispatching officers, firefighters and EMS out and when we call for them and our heart drops because no one answers back or to here a bone chilling 911 call of a child or wife needing assistance.

I wish you could feel the hurt as people verbally and sometimes physically abuse us or belittle what I do, or as they express their attitudes of 'It will never happen to me'.

I wish you could realize the physical, emotional and mental drain of missed meals, lost sleep and forgone social activities, in addition to all the tragedy my eyes have seen.

I wish you could know the brotherhood and self-satisfaction of helping save a life or preserving someone's property, or being able to be there in time of crisis, or creating order from total chaos.

I wish you could understand how I feel finding someone's Grand Parent or small child deep in the dark forest alone, cold and wet and giving them back to their family safe and sound.

I wish you could understand what it feels like to have a little boy tugging at your arm and asking, 'Is my Mommy okay?'! , not even being able to look in his eyes without tears from your own and not knowing what to say. Or to have to hold back a long time friend who watches his buddy having CPR done on him as they take him away in the Medic Unit. You know all along he did not have his seat belt on. A sensation that I have become too familiar with.

Unless you have lived with this kind of life, you will never truly understand or appreciate who I am, we are, or what our job really means to us.

....I wish you could though.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Some Honest Thoughts

Note: I had a different title for this post, but I felt the new title is more fitting for my random thoughts.

My fellow chica in arms Momma Val graciously gave me this award with some other outstanding cop wives. I don't know if it was because I admitted to being a hypocrite or laughed at my husband getting tazed, but I accept it as an honor and will probably be gloating about it for a few days.

"Who am I? Oh, just the honest cop wife," with a cheesy grin and corny finger snap in the person's direction.

Or not. See, it's motivated me to continue being honest in the blogging world. A lot of times, I'll share a post AFTER I've figured out what I did wrong so I look like I'm in a better light than being ignorant on a situation. I HATE not knowing it all, and the more I know...yeah, you can guess the verdict.

The only thing I knew about the LEO world (didn't even know what that acronym stood for until a few weeks into FH's career) was that police were out to get us on silly things like not making a complete stop at a stop sign or filling a quota. Therefore, I didn't really know what I was committing to when I decided to support FH on his career choice of joining the local PD.

Oh, and police aren't JUST out to get up on the incomplete stops. Sometimes they still need to fill the quota so they'll pull over someone for out-of-date registration or out headlights and discover narcotics or DUI individuals. Crazy!

I grew up in the town that FH serves and protects, and it was only a few years ago that I realized that we had drug problems and sex offenders. Yes, I lived a sheltered life. I was a bookworm that no one bothered in corrupting because I'm sure I'd sooner nark on them than partake.

I now realize that while in my youth I was sheltered because the local police officers were keeping me safe by handling the sludge of humanity to make it better for families in the community. Sometimes it's still easier to not know all the gritty details of FH's day because it doesn't bring the filth that I wasn't aware existed home.

Don't think that we always have an idyllic home setting, though. Because the sludge info isn't shared, this also leads to a lack of communication between us as husband and wife because there's no simple (and fully honest) answer to the question, "Hi, Honey! How was your day?"

Just recently I was brutally honest with FH about his attitude and anger that he's been inflicting on us, and I said some things that had no sugary candy coating at all. A better cliche would be that they were salt on an open wound because they were so nakedly true. Should I have said them? Maybe. Should I have been a little more tactful? Definitely.

He's been really trying this set of days off to be a better figure in the home, and I can tell that it's been hard for him because of the honesty behind those angry words. He catches himself when he starts to revert back and tries a calmer approach by realizing that he can't take the words back, which helps him to watch what he says.

My honesty also helped him feel free to share his frustration of my know-it-all attitude on LEO books and blogs I've been reading up on to better understand a world I didn't know anything about a few years ago. I HATE not being in the know! What I initially thought was supportive and helpful when sharing points I got from the aforementioned, he thought I was questioning his knowledge on the subject and pointing out his failings. I had no clue I was doing that!

One thing that first attracted me to FH (besides his full lips...but I digress) was the awesome and intelligent conversations we would have. Yeah, I know. WAY nerdy, but I feel it was well balanced with his awesome kissing abilities. We both love world history from the Bronze Age to the Renaissance, AND he loves reading, so I thought it was a perfect match.

Before FH joined the ranks of boys in blue, he was a history major in college. I already received my teaching degree in that subject as well as English, so sometimes I would call him on his inaccurate dates or cultural insights when he'd talk about an event in history with someone (you know, when I write it out, that really is an annoying thing to do, and I do it ALL the time! Hmm...).

I just wanted things to be accurate. Blame it on the hundreds of history hours amongst fellow majors that were all right on the subject being "discussed." I won't even start on what happens when English majors get together....especially if the topic at hand is grammar. Blech!

Well, I guess that ultimately what this honesty award has brought out in me is the acknowledgment that I'm a know-it-all, and never intended to hurt feelings when I "share" my insight. Be that as it may, know-it-alls are annoying! I haven't really encountered very many amongst LEO wives because the majority that I follow and read are insightful. To me, know-it-alls aren't very aware of their audience; they just like hearing the sound of their own voice (whether literally or through writing). My cop wife friends in the blogging world are VERY aware of their audience, though that doesn't stop the occasional mutating troll in blogland (check out Meadowlark's "No Trolls Allowed" sticker on her site. AWESOME!)

As copswife stated when she received the same honesty award,
"Another category of commenter that gets under my skin is the know-it-all.
It really irritates me when people think they are the end-all and be-all of
wisdom. Maybe it's because I have an all together too high opinion of my own
smarts, but who can say."

I may be annoying at times when I share insights or tactlessly point out incorrect information, but I don't know everything. Yeah, it's tough to admit. It doesn't matter how hard I try to prove that fact wrong by gaining expertise through reading materials, it's true.

Thanks for the honesty, copswife (and no, I didn't think you were directing that statement just towards me, I'm simply agreeing with you). Thanks for the award, Momma Val. Now, to read up some more on the LEO world! This time, not so I can be a know-it-all, but a little wiser with my knowledge.