This past week I was fortunate to attend the Berkeley Police Retirees League's annual luncheon, where I was able to catch up with many of my former teammates. It was a very uplifting and enjoyable event. I had the opportunity to talk about THIN BLUE LINE COFFEE and talk about the good work of C.O.P.S., which many retirees were familiar with already. It was also a time to reflect on the two Berkeley PD officers who never made it to retirement since they were killed in the line of duty, Officer Ronald Tsukamoto and Sergeant Jimmie H. Rutledge. The City of Berkeley has an online memorial to them:
For all those who have lost a relative or friend in the line of duty, or is now praying that a loved one recover from a line of duty injury - my thoughts and prayers are with you.
Today I was interviewed by Kirby Wilbur of KVI 570 radio.
My interview starts around 19:40 into the podcast.
Kirby was very supportive and I'm thankful for the time he devoted to spreading the word about THIN BLUE LINE COFFEE and the cause we support.
I was interviewed a while back for the Edmonds Beacon and they recently published this article, "Coffee for a cause."
When I was retired out from the police department on an injury, I was fortunate to get a 'civilian' job in a software company reasonably quickly. I thought to myself that I had transitioned from dealing with crack-addicts to working with Mensa members. Occasionally one of my new workmates would complain to me about the work s/he was doing. Although I could understand their frustration, I had a difficult time sympathizing as I reflected on my 18 years as a police officer and the realization that the job of police officer had only gotten harder since I had left. I know at times I felt that my job as a police officer was incredibly stressful and depressing. The software industry is stressful, but a different kind of stress. Everyone new they were going home at night. To keep my life in perspective, I had a copy of the following poem framed on my desk and I read it often.
While searching for a copy of this poem to include in this post, I came across a video made by an eleven year old who put images and music to the poem. It can be found on the THIN BLUE LINE COFFEE Facebook page. The author of the poem is unknown.
"The Final Inspection"
The policeman stood and faced his God,
Which must always come to pass.
He hoped his shoes were shining.
Just as brightly as his brass.
"Step forward now, policeman.
How shall I deal with you?
Have you always turned the other cheek?
To My church have you been true?"
The policeman squared his shoulders and said,
"No, Lord, I guess I ain't,
Because those of us who carry badges
can't always be a saint.
I've had to work most Sundays,
and at times my talk was rough,
and sometimes I've been violent,
Because the streets are awfully tough.
But I never took a penny,
That wasn't mine to keep....
Though I worked a lot of overtime
When the bills got just too steep.
And I never passed a cry for help,
Though at times I shook with fear.
And sometimes, God forgive me,
I've wept unmanly tears.
I know I don't deserve a place
Among the people here.
They never wanted me around
Except to calm their fear.
If you've a place for me here,
Lord, It needn't be so grand.
I never expected or had too much,
But if you don't.....I'll understand.
There was silence all around the throne
Where the saints had often trod.
As the policeman waited quietly,
For the judgment of his God.
"Step forward now, policeman,
You've borne your burdens well.
Come walk a beat on Heaven's streets,
You've done your time in hell."
Please take a minute to think of how you can help these officers and their families in their time of need. I started THIN BLUE LINE COFFEE to do just that, to make it easy and enjoyable to donate to a law enforcement charity. Your contribution may be small, but combined with others it can be a formidable force for good. Enjoy very good coffee knowing you are doing good in the process. Thanks.
This past week we've had two incidents of senseless violence against police officers.
The first incident of note was the incident where 3 officers standing in front of a convenience store in Phoenix, AZ, were struck by car. There was no known reason for this assault besides just wanting to hurt police officers. If you are unfamiliar with this incident, you can see a video of it on the Phoenix Arizona Police Department's Facebook page. Thankfully no one was killed.
The second incident happened on Friday, 15 Sept 2016, in Philadelphia, PA, where an officer was sitting in her patrol car when a person walked up to the car and shot her 8 times leaving behind an anti-police message on a piece of paper. More information can be found on the PoliceOne website. Again, thankfully the officer was not killed.
Whether you like the police or not, there is no justification for randomly hurting and trying to kill police officers! These officers have families, friends and others who love them and they are all affected by these senseless acts of violence.
First we need to stop the violence. I'm not sure what the answer is - more outreach? more community interaction? more empathy on both side? less divisive speech? less grandstanding?
I am sure that these random acts of violence have an impact on the officers, all officers, and their families. Random violence puts everyone on edge. Spouses and children worry even more when an officer leaves for work. Officer safety becomes the highest priority, which can lead to separation between the police and the community they protect because every encounter becomes suspect. It is not good, it is not healthy, and it is not the way we need to be to get through these trying times.
THIN BLUE LINE COFFEE supports organizations that look at the big picture. Organizations that help the injured, their families and co-workers so that the downward spiral is broken and officers and their families can return to work and to living healthier and better adjusted. Some help is in the form of funds to pay for bills, others is in the form of community letting those in pain know that they don't have to face these issues alone, and some help is in the form of understanding, listening and acknowledging that we're all human.
Help us, help them - by purchasing coffee & mugs from us, you are donating to Concerns of Police Survivors.
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The law enforcement charity that Thin Blue Line Coffee donates to is the Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.), which provides assistance after traumatic events and also provides training on how to appropriately respond to survivors of traumatic events.
One big reason we chose C.O.P.S. as the charity of choice is because they recognize that trauma effects more than just the immediate family of an injured or killed law enforcement person, but everyone around that person also. Survivor guilt, cumulative stress, depression are just a few of the ways police work can impact a person and those who work with and love him/her. C.O.P.S. organizes training to help departments recognize, assist and prepare officers to deal with the traumatic effects of police work. We believe all departments should have this training.
By purchasing from this site, you help us to promote the good work done by C.O.P.S.
We've heard from a lot of people who think our mission is worthy. Caring for the families and teammates of those killed or injured in the line of duty is a noble task, but how big of a task is it? If you look at the Officer Down Memorial Page for 2016 you can see that 81 officers have fallen so far this year nation-wide. That grim metric does not include the many more injured in the line of duty. The need is great.
If we all give a little, it adds up to a lot. Think about that the next time you have a cup of coffee.