A few weeks ago, my department came out with a new social media policy. It is a typical social media policy that any professional organization would put into place to protect itself and to protect it's employees. One part of the policy may be a little different than your employer because it suggests not identifying yourself as a police officer. Now, this may seem ironic sense I have a blog titled, "Roman Catholic COP" but I really do not have a problem with that suggestion because I do not necessarily like to be seen as a cop.
Don't get me wrong, I'm proud of my profession and I'm proud of all of my fellow officers throughout the world who are professional and dedicated. I would be proud to have my badge etched into my tombstone when I die. At the same time, I do not normally volunteer that I'm a police officer. It always seems to turn awkward.
It never fails---once someone find's out I'm a police officer the questions start. "Have you ever shot anyone?" "How many people have you shot?" "Aren't you scared?" "What's the worst thing you've seen?" "What's the weirdest thing you've seen?" "What's the scariest thing you've seen?" "Do you know my cousin, Joe--I forget his last name, but he works for [insert some other agency 100 miles away]"
A lot of these questions are questions that, unless I'm close to you, I may not really feel like opening up about. Some stories are ones that I may not want to have dragged up and rehashed. I do have some canned stories that I use just to satisfy people's curiosity and to shut them up. But, I'm very good at compartmentalizing things and when I'm not at work, I don't want to think about work.
I'm proud of my profession but I don't want to necessarily be put into that box. I would be much happier to be labeled by my vocation of husband and father. At the end of my life, if no one remembers me as a police officer it will not be that big of a deal. In fact, I realized a long time ago that I won't change the world as a police officer and I probably will never realize the lives that I do touch. But it is much more important that I am a good husband and a good father but I will know how I impact the lives of my wife and my children. It is much more important to me that they know that I love them and that I do everything I possible do to lead them to God.
Both my profession and my vocation have had negative effects on the other. I work a lot of overtime and off duty jobs that take me away from family time but it's to provide for my family so they are never wanting. And on the other hand, I have never put in for any specialized units and I have remained on the overnight shift for most of my 15 year career so that I can see my family during the evenings, take my kids to and from school and not have my schedule messed up. It's a delicate balance and I think I do a reasonably good job.
Yes, I'm a police officer. I'm proud to be a police officer. But if I had to be labeled----I'd rather that label be "husband" or "dad."