Meet Amy, my friend of 30+ years! Wife, retired police officer,
and mama to two furbabies. Enjoy!
Age: 29!!! No, 42!
Earle and Scout...my kitties of course are my babies!
Police Officer/Crime Scene Detective
|The early years, with her niece
What made you want to become a police officer?
I was always, for as long as I can remember, aware of injustice in the world...and
wanted the duty to protect those who are meek, victims or unable to stand alone! I hate bullies and bully behavior. To help
give the innocent a voice.
your family feel about it?
My parents actually never said much one way or the other...I think they were proud.
You were on the police force
for how many years? When did you retire, and why?
Started July 8th, 1991, retired November 3rd, 2008, so 17.25 years. I was 'forced' to retire, due to a life
changing back injury. I was hurt on the job, nothing 'romantic' but hurt during Defensive Tactics Training, where basically
we train to learn new fighting techniques. I was injured by fellow officers, and my disk (lower back) was herinated
60%. I had two back surgeries...the first one was useless, and then I had a second surgery, where my nerve was put back
where it belonged, and my spine vertabrae were fused. I can now stand, and function...but not to the point of working...anywhere.
I know it's been difficult for you to be retired at such a young age. Can
you share with us what helps you to deal with all that you've been thru with this?
it was an extremely hard transition. As soon as I returned to work (after the second set of surgeries), I knew I was
"unfit" for duty, and needed to file for disability. I was unable to perform my job. Yet, I had to keep
it a secret from everyone, except my husband and our (Police) Benefits Officer. If the City found out that I was applying
for disability, I would be medically seperated, which is essentially being fired.
I was dealing with four surgeries,
two back to back each time, a year apart. With the intense pain, and the pressure it was putting on me at work, due
to the need to call off, I was nearly losing my mind. I did not qualify for the Federal Family Leave Act (the second time
around, I guess because it was a Workman's Compensation Case). The FMLA is when you have a medical issue, etc., where
you can take as much time as you need, without fear of pusnishment or harassaament from co-workers or supervisors. So
again, I did not qualify, and I was still having to call off at least once a week, and "getting in trouble for it".
was unable to share my dilemma. I couldn't tell my boss, "Look, I am trying to resolve this-I have filed for disability"!
I had to tolerate the lectures, etc. My co-workers "resented" me (it wasn't so much me, per
se-it would have been whomever was in my position). They had to do without me for 10 months already, which put more
pressure and stress on them, and there wasn't always someone to fill my 'slot' (with overtime).
Once I was back,
I had to deal with feelings of animosity, and then resentment for me calling off so frequently. (Then there was a whole
fisaco with Overtime, which I tried to volunteer for, to make up for my time off, and that only angered some, because they
did not realize I was trying to 'make-up' for my being a burden. It was totally misread, and blown out of proportion.
To top it off, my supervisor did not even defend me). I wasn't dealing with it well, because, physically I was "dying",
and emotionally, I was "raw", and feeling things way more than I would normally. I hated being in that position,
and I hated that my co-workers had to suffer so much, because of my physical ailment. It was a terrible time for all.
Prior to my first surgery, not only was I injured, but I was dealing with my Dad's Alzheimer's-full blown, crazy, violent
Alzheimers! Watching his capacity diminish, and watching my family structure diminish all at the same time was destroying
me. I learned at that moment, co-workers are co-workers, and not friends-at least not in the true sense of the
word. A co-worker misread how I was handling my "situations", and decided, out of concern, to tell my
supervisor that she thought I was suicidical, because my behavoir was so erratic. It was very hurtful, because my job
was the only stabilty I had. As if everything going on wasn't bad enough, they took my gun away, and suspended me with
pay. Extremely humilating, but that turned out to be a HUGE BLESSING, because my Dad died while I was off work...and
I had plenty of time to get myself together.
I returned to work, and began the process of filing for the Disability,
which is a very tiring and stressful process in itself. Millions of doctors appointments, and hoops to jump through.
Yet, after almost a year I received the Disability...much to my relief, because I thought of how much stress I was alleviating,
not only for ME, but for my co-workers! I was so happy, yet never had the chance to think all that far in the future,
and the ramifications of my leaving! It was like it happened overnight...
It seemed like my 17+ of Service
was under-valued, and all for naught. I never got a goodbye or a kick in the pants!! It's not like a
regular retirement, where you can give notice, or there are any good byes. I walked in, announced it, and I was gone.
I was also very saddened and stressed that things really didn't improve for my co-workers (for various reasons), and for the
two detectives who had to pull all the weight (and who are still "suffering"). So, my leaving really didn't
help much at all. And honestly...I WAS thinking of them more at the time, than myself-and it was such a let down.
The 'burden" was gone, but nothing improved. So ironic!
Once I left, it all hit me, and I
began to feel it all-the fact that, "this is my life" (the pain, etc), my career was over (I was no longer
a cop-it's all I knew), my co-workers really gained nothing, my Dad was gone, so on and so on. So many life changes
at once. I gained 60 pounds, and went into a deep depression. I was trying to work through all of this-all the
hurt and pain physically and mentally. Only by the grace of God did I survive. I just trusted Him. I just
came to the realization that it was meant to be...and that God had other plans for me. There is so much more to the story,
that I prefer not to share...and it just opens up old wounds.
It has taken the past 3 years to get through this-a
lot of tears, and a lot of chewing 'it' over. I didn't even realize I suffered from PTSD from both the job and the way
I was treated (by the City, etc.) while I was suffering and trying to get my disability!! Yet, I am a fighter, and I
began to take charge of my life again! I began to exercise (as much as a broken body can) and eating heathly.
I have lost almost all the weight. I sought out a Christian counselor, and through her (God put her in my life) Christian
books, and my Faith in God, I am finally getting by. I am currently in counseling and working through the last little bits
of the issues/stress...but I am doing just fine. God has other plans for me...
What is one of your memorable,
funny moments on the force?
Oh my gosh...there are so many...and
some I wouldn't be able to portray 'innocently' enough for your readers!
Lemme see...once we responded to
an old hotel that had been converted to living quarters for poor, mentally disabled, and the kind of 'down and out.'..I cannot
even tell you why we were there...JUST that I could not assist my partner in getting this gentleman to his room, because I
was too busy holding the wall up, with my body, as I was bent over laughing, bc the old guy's pants kept dropping to the floor
and exposing his boxer shorts! It was so comical! My partner wanted to kill me!!