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07-19-07, 10:39 PM
Yesterday morning a police officer was killed here in Australia. His name was Brett Irwin. He was a Constable in the Queensland Police Service.
Thankfully for us here in Australia this event is not common. Unfortunately any death of an officer hits the brother/sister-hood hard, regardless of where it occurred in the world.
Since yesterday I have been following this story and reading the tributes that poored in for this man to the Queensland Police Union website.
I have spoken about this at length with my better half, and my mother.
Today I read some more of the tributes and read the one from my mother, my mother-in-law, and some other friends that posted their thoughts, as well as some from members here on this site.
It brought home to me that it is not only those of us who buckle up our belts each night and walk forth into danger that have to live with those consequences but also those around us.
I know my wife was upset at hearing another cop had died. She woke me yesterday morning to tell me the terrible news. I know she can see that it has affected me as it does each time I tell her the news of a cop being killed, anywhere in the world. I know that she worries about me. I know that there have been jobs I have been to and thought of my wife and rung her just to say,"hi, I will see you in the morning. I love you" even before I start the hours of typing ahead of me.
I just got off the phone to her (she is at work) and asked her if it is possible that we go to Brett Irwin's funeral. I am on leave at the moment and this weekend we travel to her folks place, some 5 hours away. Brett will be layed to rest next week in Brisbane which is a further 5 hours drive away.
Without hesitation she said of course we should make an effort. I know she understands that it is not just about paying our respects to yet another fallen officer, but he also represents every officer that has fallen before him and every officer that will undoubtedly, and regrettably, fall in the future.
And to me it is a show of support to Brett's family. After all, if it was me that died in the backyard of some piece of craps house in the early hours of yesterday morning, I would like my wife, in years to come, to be able to tell our unborn child,
"You should have seen your Daddy's friends all standing there saluting his coffin. Friends he never knew. Friends he never met. But friends and family all the same."
So to all the better halfs (wives, husbands, mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, sisters, brothers) out there, thank you for standing by your loved one. Without you there, some of us would have a lot harder time doing what we do. I am sure we are all aware of what you guys go through so we can follow our dreams.
I found this interesting article on the Queensland Police Union site. It is in PDF form so I hope it works for you.
For the Better Halfs.
Thank you all again, and everyone stay safe.
07-20-07, 09:40 PM
George, thanks for making me cry. I think the sacrifice a better half makes is very small compared to what you all do.
I will say a prayer for Brett's family, friends, dept and loved ones.
Take care and be carefull!
07-22-07, 03:04 PM
I never fully appreciated why my (now ex-) girlfriend was so concerned about what I do. I just never got it. She'd worry when I didn't call when I said I would, or when I'd come home late, or if I was walking with a limp or had a bruise or whatever. I thought she was just being silly, worrying over nothing.
Now, as I'm falling in love with someone in fire/EMS, I'm worrying about the same things. When she got hurt in the line of duty, I swear it was like a kick in the gut when I heard the news.
I can't believe how ignorant I was to the sacrifices that my ex was making for me. God's honest truth, we may have been married by now if I wasn't so dang stupid. I lost one of the best things going for me in my life.
Guys and gals, George is absolutely right here... if you've got someone in your life who stands behind you 110%, who is always there for you, and who puts up with all the crap the job comes with, you've got a real gem. Let them know you appreciate it, before it's too late.
08-29-07, 04:38 PM
Amen to that. Forgive the conceited(?) remark to the (bad) bunnies, but this is what it takes to be a Cops Wife. And we're proud of it even if we are unsung. :)
And we may not always be perfect and we may get on your nerves, but I doubt anyone could possibly love you more, as should be evident in what we do and go through. Remember, you are never alone on those streets, we are always by your side. Always.
08-29-07, 10:03 PM
It just occurred to me that not everyone will take the time to read that article. If you can take the time please do click on the link. If not I took some important notes and edits from it for you. I hope it isnt too long, if it is let me know and I'll try to edit it down some more but I do feel it is a very important read. Not only for those interested in the Law Enforcement community but to also give thanks and recognition to the wives behind the badges.
The last kiss goodbye
**Warning: This article may contain severe PTSD triggers. Officer's please read with caution. I've tried to edit it to be more gentle but some things just need to be said.
**If you have ever cursed a cop for your own actions, please, read to the end and maybe you will understand why they come back day after day.
"With this kind of treatment is it any wonder the wives and husbands [and] police officers are having trouble sleeping at
These are their stories.
BEING woken in the night by a wildeyed husband who's trapped her in a headlock is par for the course for one police officer's wife of 30 years. In three decades of marriage she's seen and heard it all and just because her husband goes to sleep doesn't mean his mind is off the job. She said as time goes by, it gets harder rather than easier for officers.
"I have woken up in a headlock- I don't think many officers' wives haven't - after he's been to one brawl after another after another that night and he's grabbed me in his sleep."
It's scary but you'd never sleep if you let it worry you. As it is, you don't sleep much. You know if he's supposed to be home at 2am and if he's not back by 2.30am or 3am you wake up. It's like you keep half an ear open. We have an unwritten rule that if you're going to be late, you ring - no matter what time it is. So he'll call me at 2am to let me know and then it's OK and you just roll over and go to sleep. He did three murders in five days once and we just didn't see him. I was a single parent, as I have been many times. He was addicted to coffee during that time and when he finished, he physically had the shakes.
"He had a really gruesome murder once and it was so bad a young officer went in the front door and then straight out the back door throwing up, even after he'd been warned it was gruesome. I don't remember this stuff because I don't want to.
Sometimes he'll come home at 2am and if he's got to, he'll just start talking. The lack of sleep can be really difficult. He finds it hard when there's a dead body and he thinks, 'my God, there's a kid who's died through sheer stupidity and that could me my child'. But say you have to scrape a baby up off the street it's always harder when it's kids and babies because the
innocence gets to them.
Most wives send their husband off to work and that is it until they come home that afternoon. The worst they may get is a paper cut or a strained back or a worksite accident. When my husband goes to work, he straps a gun to his hip and is purposely sent out to deal with the scum of the earth and the most violent of society as part of his job.
One young [officer] got stabbed with a needle. I've been through this before. They worry about should I kiss my wife? Should I have sex with my wife? It affects everything in your life. I told him, you're going to have three months of **** so if you need to talk to someone who isn't going to cry - because your mother will cry and your sister will cry - then here's my number. We all think we're coping with it but we've all lost weight and had diarrhoea because we are a nervous wreck over what they're doing in their job. They go to work and you pack their lunch and kiss them goodbye and you just don't know.
The husbands of the women officers making up the thin blue line feel it just as much. One man whose wife has been in the force for 15 years said he's had many a sleepless night wondering if the mother of his children would come home in one piece...."His wife has found herself the victim on several occasions. "She's had black eyes and fat lips. "She's been attacked with a knife."
"Try going to a fatal accident involving children and see how well you sleep at night. For months after that he couldn't eat certain food because he could smell it at the scene of the deaths and the smell after that brought the images straight to mind.
Next time you look at a policeman consider this: last night he had to attend the suicide of a teenager that had jumped from the 10th floor on to the pavement. The kid didn't die straight away and he is making horrible moaning sounds that are not like anything you have ever heard whilst cranial fluid pools around his head. But he is dead within a minute and thankfully silent. The cop then has to leave that scene with that image in his mind...
**If you don't know what Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is count yourself lucky. It is images, flashbacks, smells, thoughts, nightmares and even sounds that continually replay in the mind after you have witnessed a traumatic event. And it is hard to deal with. If you think you have never been rescued by an officer, think again, you don't hear about these stories because they don't tell them. They protect you from the pain and scars of the world. Everyday.
**So I pose to you this question: Why do they do it? They don't just rescue babies or slow down the self centered driver who forgets there are people in those cars next to them. Why would anyone run into a gunfight or into oncomming traffic to save a herion addict? Or a criminal? For more often than not it's those people that are in harms way and in need of rescue. So why do they do it? Because they love you. And every day they pray that you will see that and straighten up. And if they catch you, and arrest you, and you get out of jail and need their help, they are there for you again. It's true that sometimes when they know you have had multiple chances and keep screwing up they are going to be frustrated and a little less polite. And sometimes the crimes are so deplorable it makes it hard to see humanity. Some are so frustrated that they swear they don't know why they do it or swear it's just for the 'innocent'. But every morning that they wake and pin on that badge and strap on that gun they pray, "let today be different..." Everyday they pray for you, they don't give up on you so don't give up on yourself.
Don't let their nightmares be in vain.
I'm not going to tell you now to go find GOD, just know that HE hasn't given up on you either and HE is waiting for you to come home.
Oh, and why do the spouses and significant others do what they do? They love you too and love that their partners still believe in humanity enough to risk their lives for it. It doesn't get much more Noble or Honorable than that. These officers have earned Respect.
** This article was edited for space and can be seen in its entirety at:
Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin
Size: 1227.51 sq.cms
08-30-07, 12:39 AM
Thanks for editing that. I thought the article was pretty powerful when I read it.
I have woken up at night with my wife in a wrist lock. Makes you think how tightly strung to the job you are.
08-30-07, 11:18 PM
I was glad to do it. I hope I did the original article justice. It's true that there are alot of things in a Cops life that differ from Joe citizen families. After a while you tend to accept it and what may seem startling (such as a midnight headlock and not in a good way ;) ) to citizen families is the norm in an LE home. Comes with the territory as they say.
Anyone care to share stories of how they have calmed their significant others after a jolt like that? G rated of course (we might be able to get away with a little bitta R :D
For my guy, I like to scratch his head or back until he drifts back off peacefully :)