A letter from a cops wife, please read..
The Plight of the Disabled Police Officer and His Family
Hello, I would like to touch on a subject that so many individuals don't like to think about, much less having to deal on a daily basis, caring for a spouse who was a police officer and who became totally disabled while on duty over two decades ago. I am the wife of such a police officer and my children and I have been living with the repercussions of that event for the past 26 years. You would think that over time things would get better, maybe in some small ways they do but in general they haven't. I am saddened when I think of the things that have changed in our lives due to events out of our control. I am also frustrated and angry by the apparent lack of compassion and interest that has been shown towards us by the community my husband worked for, the department he served in, and the public in general. I know from talking with the spouses of other injured officers over the years that I am not alone in feeling this way, but that doesn't help much.
I have a lot of unanswered questions that hopefully someday perhaps there will be an answer, until then I guess you just have to tough it out. My story is one that is so gut wrenching to me that I sometimes wonder how it has been possible to get thought this dilemma up till now. I count on my faith, the patience, and nerves of steel.
Being a Police Officer was a dream that turned into a reality, then became a nightmare all in a matter of hours. My husband didn't realize that the job he stood tall and proud of and the City he swore to Protect would ever not be there for him, that is until he was so critically injured in an on duty accident that permanently disabled him. We deal with the aftermath of those injuries daily and we realize they will never allow him to live without pain and suffering. This is fact and not fiction from a spouse who has experienced this first hand.
I completely understand the support given to the spouse and family of an officer when the unthinkable happens and that Officer pays the ultimate sacrifice. His family is assisted and taken care of from the time of the tragedy and remembered every year by the Police Department they worked for and through the Police Memorial in Washington D.C. This support is the honorable thing to do and the least that we can do as a nation in paying homage to out fallen officers.
However, what happens to the disabled officer who also has paid the ultimate price but in a different manner? What about those officers that have become permanently and totally disabled? Who will be thinking about those officers? Their department you're thinking, right? Wrong, think again. It has been my unfortunate experience that no one cares. The ones who tell you whatever we can do for your family or you just say the word. Well obviously your words, when you utter them, means nothing and fall on deaf ears.
How does a family cope with the magnitude of a horrifying injury, do the children ever recover, well it depends on how old they are at the time of the injury. Just picture yourself maintaining 2 children working 2 jobs with a disabled husband and him feeling helpless knowing that in society today as in years past the husband for the most part is the bread winner. To have your career suddenly end due to no fault of yours is really inconceivable and devastating to say the least.
I speak from first hand experience. Is there no one out there that has the answers? I have a few words of advice and a warning. When men or women choose a career in law enforcement in an effort to make their families and communities a safe place to line in, just be sure that you don't become disabled in the process of carrying out your duties.
Perhaps someday there will be change.
Since my husband's injury I have formed a support group for Spouses of Injured Police Officer's S.O.I.P.O. "Any moral support or assistance that I can render to the family of an injured Officer I am there to do it." I'm doing my best to assist others by sharing my experiences and advice for dealing with the aftermath of the injury and help them to understand the hurdles they will endure in the coming weeks, months and yes even years. I try to explain to the spouses how the system works for disabled Officer's or how the City says one thing and does something else.
Finally, I try and answer questions regarding long term care and deal with the nagging questions of why this whole thing has happened and what if anything they can expect in the way of assistance. Unfortunately my husband was robbed of the most precious thing in his life, his well being and memory, sustaining a skull fracture so intense that he suffers seizures on a daily basis, and will until the end.
So, please if you have a congressman or a lawmaker that wants to prove what he can do give this issue of Rights for Disabled Police Officer's to champion for.
Lea Ann Weatherford (Florida)
Wife of Disabled Police Lt. Bruce C. Weatherford
Hialeah Police Department
I found this on the web and it struck home for me. Only guys that have been really injured on the job can
I remember when it happened to me, my body was screwed up as well as my mind it all happened so fast.
I was retired on accidental disability and that was it.
I always thought about collecting a pension and not having to put up with all the bull anymore but man
was I wrong. Not only was I not the man I was , I was no longer a POLICE OFFICER.
All I had was time to think and think that's it, and it sucks.
My whole world ended that day, because I realized I liked being a cop, you don;t know what you have until
it's taken away.
Remember, it can happen at anytime when your wearing that uniform. and after, you won't have a uniform to wear.