As most of you know, I have been living in Florida for the past 12 years of my life. I grew up in Michigan and lived there prior to moving down to the Tampa Bay area. I have spent the last 10 years serving my Country as a Police Officer. It has been a true honor to have served in that capacity and I can say without any hesitation that it has changed my life completely. I hope that I have been able to change the lives of those around me as much as my life has been changed. While there were times I hated the job (just like anyone hates their job from time to time) I can honestly say that the majority of the time I loved it. There is something about being a Police Officer that only fellow cops can comprehend. I can not describe it to you and I won’t even try because there are not enough words to describe the feelings you get with that profession.
A Police Officer has to switch from boredom to complete gut wrenching action in a millisecond and then repeat that multiple times in each shift. I may share stories here and there but I usually keep them to myself. Some of them, I have done my best to forget. I have cheated death more times than I can count. It’s funny how quickly I have forgotten some of the stories that almost made me a story of the past. I have seen enough bad to last a lifetime. Fought more people than I can even recall. I have been banged up and beat down. But I have also had the honor of serving with some of the most amazing people in my career and have learned something from each one of them. I have made lifelong friends. I have helped people who truly needed help and even the ones that didn’t. I have sacrificed much and truly believe I have made a difference. Unfortunately, it took a toll on me.
December of 2012 – While driving to a call around midnight, I was hit head on by a drunk driver. What the picture to the right doesn’t show is the destructive force of that crash. I was out cold. When I woke up, I remember climbing out of my car and then collapsing as my fellow Officers were coming to help me. I will never forget that night. It was the night that changed my life. Sounds dramatic to phrase it that way but it truly did send my life down a different path. I ultimately tried to go back to work, pretending I was better than I really was. I got in a few more crashes after this one that continued to frost the cake so to speak. But the damage was already done. Despite my best efforts to foolishly continue working, it reached a point where I no longer could. The doctors reached the conclusion I couldn’t continue on. I was medically retired from the career that has forever changed my life.
If you asked me to strap on the Uniform right now and go back to working Mids with my fellow Officers, I would without blinking an eye. I served my Country with pride for the entire length of my career. I miss the job, the friends I worked with, the ability to change people’s lives for the better, the little nuances of working the streets, the ‘gut wrenching close calls’ and the ‘heart pounding out of my chest’ calls no one wants to respond to. There is a saying that goes something like: “you will never feel more alive than when you cheat death.” Not sure who said it first but I could not agree more. I will always have a place in my heart for Law Enforcement. But, that is not in the cards for me and I have finally come to grip with that reality. I have a different path to walk now. A path carved out by multiple life changing events that took place along my time as a Police Officer.
I have made some amazing friends during my time down here, both on the job and off. So many memories I will always have to recall and cherish. I am beyond thankful for everything I have learned and experienced. I have not gotten to where I am by myself and I recognize that everyday. I cannot possibly thank everyone enough for staying by my side through all of the adversity and the challenges. All I can do now is smile, thank God for every day I have on this earth and look to the road ahead. It is going to be one epic journey.