There were so many times during my 30+ years as a police wife that I longed for a "sisterhood" among police spouses. The officers seemed to have a "brotherhood" of sorts at the department and among their peers which is so crucial to their existence. But, there were things I needed to discuss as well with someone who may understand the intricacies of this type of "family career".
The events and circumstances that were common in our household just didn't seem to ring a bell among my friends, as their husbands were accountants, salesmen or engineers. We didn't have the "typical" law enforcement home, and I was so grateful that we didn't have to live out that appearance of the "John Wayne" style of police work. Many times I had witnessed that type of officer and I was always so relieved that our officer was a solid family guy. My husband always seemed to maintain a friendly, helpful attitude and because of that, many friends and neighbors didn't even realize he was a police officer. But, there was still a tinge of something that was missing - so much I wanted to share with another wife that could offer a plate of loving empathy with a side dish of firm common sense. Because, let's be honest - we police wives have got to pull ourselves up by the bootstraps to survive - we just need the right type of support to get our minds thinking in the right direction.
It was a long time coming - so many years of situations, schedules and uncertainty all came to rest when we were able to form a spousal support group among the spouses of our city.
This spousal support group first came about just a few short years ago, when another police wife and myself became aware of an immediate need. It was just after the Dallas, Texas officer ambush in July 2016 when fear struck the families whose loved ones served as law enforcement officers. A chill rose up in all of our spines because of the continual attack on law enforcement, and the spouses in our city were uncertain if they wanted their officer to go to work the next day. It was panic in an epidemic portion throughout the nation. Our families who bleed blue were on high alert - eyes glued to the news and arms holding onto our officers more tightly than ever..
There had been a few incidents of violence against police officers during the previous months, however, for some reason the event in Texas was really the icing on the cake. Even though my husband had long since been off the streets in a management role, hearing of all the recent attacks on police officers still struck me to the core.
So there we were, spouses and family members sitting in front the police psychologist and the trauma support team, coming together for a city-wide meeting - communicating to us that the job of a police officer was really still one of the safest careers to choose. Intellect was lost on our families that day, because although our minds were telling us we were most likely going to be fine, our hearts were telling us a different story. We pondered together how we could make a difference, being aware of the needed to come against the fear and solve the problem of the lack of family support within cities nationwide.
That is how our little group began. We started with whomever was at the meeting that day and we continue on now, as a resource for spouses to call on when things get scary.
Please read more about Steps to Begin A Spousal Support Group (written by our co-founder, Kirsten Knorr) and an article I wrote for the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) The Difficulties of Maintaining a Spousal Support Group to gain more knowledge regarding this area of support and to hopefully to assist you in beginning a group for your own department.
Grace and Peace, Linda