By Kevin Stuckey
My locker holds my pictures and magnets that show my personality. I look at my family pictures and give myself a moment to smile and reflect on my family before I open my locker to get ready for my shift.
I log on as soon as roll call is over. As I load my car and do the mic check, a hot call comes out. I rush through my log in process so that I can respond. I get to the call and do everything I can to assist the primary officer.
My squad only has three people today so I don’t make it very far. I am called to back another officer in a district on the other side of the precinct. And so, it goes for the next four hours, from call to call in adjoining districts. I don’t make it to my own district until half way through my shift.
I miss meeting up with the shop owners that I have worked so hard to create a relationship with – the people that have been asking for more police presence. The car prowl hot spot has gone unattended because I have been running from call to call. It becomes painfully obvious that we need more people in patrol.
My squadmate and I are dispatched to a violent DV call. We get there and handle it. We make an arrest and head to the precinct to write the report and process the prisoner. We made a righteous and necessary arrest, but it quickly becomes a detriment as our remaining squadmate has to cover our entire district alone.
Finally, the end of shift has arrived. My squadmates and I head to the precinct to prepare for the end of shift. We gather at the precinct and prepare the last of our paperwork. This is the time that we unwind from the stress, when we talk shit and make light of the mess that we waded through that day.
The drive home is when I hold on to the light points and laughter that I had that day. I work to put the events of my day into the mental lockboxes that I have created. I do this so that when I arrive home my family sees me. They see me and nothing else. I love my family and I refuse to bring the negativity home to them.
Officers in general see people and assist them on the worst day of their lives. They call police to help them deal with it. I swore an oath to the citizens of Seattle and I am willing to do whatever I must to fulfill that oath. Come hell or high water I will do everything within the letter of the law to do what is needed to make every situation right. I know some will not like me for it, but I will do what I am able to do to help.
That’s the secret of the police. We know we won’t always be popular, but we do what is right regardless. The moment we pin on the badge we change. We all take on the warrior spirit and aim to protect our districts, our people, our community.
There is a reason that patrol is called the backbone of the department. We stand firm against the wind of change that rages all around us and standfast in our need to do what is right and just. Patrol is where every single one of us started, and where we all fall back to when faced with darkness.
We should never forget where we started. Never forget who we are as people. Never forget to look out for each other. Never forget.
Kevin Stuckey is the president of the Seattle Police Officers’ Guild.