Blog Post

  • Sarah T.

Backing the Blue Line: Giving Support to Same Sex Law Enforcement Families and Couples


I can remember that conversation a few months into dating, “So do you think you can do this – be a police wife?” I remember being so certain, “Of course, I can. I love you. I think being a police officer is so brave.”

My spouse was being so respectful, having been an officer for many years by the time we met, and invited me to read some of the books available for police wives and police families. I read the books diligently, and walked away believing in us, and our future.

WHAT I DIDN'T KNOW THEN

What I didn’t know back then, was how it could really be at times. Don’t get me wrong, there were so many days that were just like anyone else’s day and we continued with building our relationship, our family, and our lives.

And then… AN ALERT ON MY IPHONE & LESSONS LEARNED

One day, I received my first phone call from a number that looked familiar, and called several times while I was in a work meeting. The third or fourth time, excusing myself in front of a client, I answered, and heard, “She’s okay but she’s going to HCMC.” That day, it was a sprained ankle. She would want me to point out that she “caught the guy.” That phone number looked familiar because it was a coworker’s cell phone, so the numbers were only different by a few.

I learned something that day I didn’t know.

I know now to take calls from numbers that started with that area code, and prefix.

Always.

After experiencing a serious medical issue during my pregnancy, I was placed on bedrest at twenty weeks. I had to lie flat on my back literally. Two months to the day into my bedrest, there was breaking news; Officer Crittenden was killed in the line of duty. There I was…me, the television news coverage, and trying not to be so fearful, so stressed, so sad to start labor as that little guy was not ready yet.

I learned something that day I didn’t know.

I had logically thought about officers dying in the line of duty, and yet I have not previously experienced the en vivo, whoosh of emotion that would show up with a single breaking news alert.

I know now that any day can be turned upside down by a few words scrolling across a screen.

Back then it was on my television.

Today an alert on my iPhone. I CAN'T TALK NOW

One day, while still on bedrest and growing that baby boy, I learned about another type of call. The phone rang and it was my wife, she said, “I can’t talk but I wanted to call you before it hit the news. I am okay. I’ll call you back right when I can.” I think I started to have contractions that night from the stress of hearing about a pursuit, where one of my wife’s partners was injured by a suspect. Thankfully, no baby that day.

I learned something that day I didn’t know.

I know now to appreciate a phone call before seeing it on the news, Police Clips or social media.

BEFORE GAY MARRIAGE

Remember there was a time before gay marriage was legal? I remember that there were stories from just a few years prior to our commitment ceremony of how departments would not, and perhaps by law could not, honor the partner following a line of duty death.

I think this is when I started my “mental rehearsals” – how I trained myself to respond to the “what if” questions. I started rehearsing mentally what would I do if she died and I was without our home. What would I do if she was injured and needed care? And so on and on and on and on…

At times, I could rehearse and walk myself through it, I would live here, and I would do this, and I would rely on that. At times, my worries quieted. Other times, it didn’t. Sometimes, that conversation from years ago would come back, “So do you think you can do this – be a police wife?” and I would question myself, “Could I do this? Who do I talk to about this? I never knew it would be like this, or there would be days like this.”

I learned something I didn’t know.

I know now my mental rehearsals are helpful but only to a point, and I can do them briefly in ways that serve me and my relationship.

I know now.

I know now I wouldn’t change my marriage for anyone. I wouldn’t change our family. I love my wife and son. There are many days that are typical of most any family. There are more challenging days, and yet I have control.

I have control of the thoughts I engage in.

I have control of the media I expose myself to.

I have control of the self-care I do.

I have control of the quality time we spend together in my relationship, and my family.

I cannot and never will be able to control the what ifs, and no amount of planning will prepare me for the worst-case scenarios of being a police family.

So today, I radically change my life and live by what I knew back then and what I know now. I will say it to myself like a mantra:

I can do this. I love her. I think being a police officer is brave. I have control of the thoughts I engage in. I have control of the media I expose myself to. I have control of the self-care I do. I have control of the quality time we spend together in my relationship, and my family. I cannot and never will be able to control the what ifs, and no amount of planning will prepare me for the worst-case scenarios of being a police family.

This may not work for others, but if it works for you, join me in this mantra!

SUPPORTING AND HONORING ALL LAW ENFORCEMENT FAMILIES Mission, Vision and Values of Backing the Blue Line: Here at Backing the Blue Line, we are committed to inclusivity as we work to fulfill our mission to "unite the power of members and generosity of donors to honor and support Minnesota Law Enforcement officers, wives and families; We mobilize to provide services, labor and assistance during times of illness or work-related incidents."

Backing the Blue Line (BtBL) strives to include ALL law enforcement (LE) families regardless of marriage, religion, gender, race, political affiliation or sexual orientation and does not discriminate across those lines when it comes to who we support and our Standard Operating Procedures (SOP). BtBL has made a commitment to diversity in its membership and all females in a relationship with a MN law enforcement officer are encouraged to apply.

We invite all MN police wives/significant others/domestic partners to join our private Facebook Group where we have united a community of 1,700+ police wives and significant others to provide a community of support through friendships, networking, and discussion. It is also for raising awareness of the need to support our unique lives and share the bond that comes with being a law enforcement family. Please note that it is a closed/private group due to safety and security concerns. As such, all Facebook private group members must be approved. Visit Backing the Blue Line on Facebook for information on joining.

"There have been times where as a wife of a female officer I have felt alone, even with the wonderful support of this group, on the unique dynamics facing our relationship. There have been times in the past I was unsure if I could trust and be welcomed by this group - and thankfully I now know I can indeed trust this group and feel welcomed and respected." - BtBL member We also invite all MN police wives/significant others/domestic partners to become full members of Backing the Blue Line to take advantage of all membership benefits and have additional opportunities to give and receive support.

Please comment below and tell us if you stand with Backing the Blue Line as an ally to our LBGQT+ Minnesota Law Enforcement Officers. Let's show them our support and thanks for their service to our communities!

About the writer: Sarah T. is married to a 15-year officer of a suburban department, currently on special assignment. About the photos: Each of the photos in this post includes real Minnesota law enforcement couples and families. Backing the Blue Line extends a warm thank you to each of them and their wives, husbands, partners, girlfriends and boyfriends for giving permission to share their beautiful photos here. We are honored to be their allies and support them and their families as they serve our communities.

#policewifelife #LGBQT #SameSexLEOfamiliesandcouples #LGBQTallies #LEOfamilylife #LEOWLife #PoliceWifeLife #PoliceFamilyLife

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