Long Beach, Calif.- Once or twice, I have given space to police officers to describe the often unrewarding work they do.
I'm doing so again. The officer who wrote the following serves in the Long Beach Police Department. Because superiors frown on giving the rank-and-file free voice with the media, he will be Officer X, as were his anonymous column contributors.
He says this:
"I am a police officer. When I get to work, my civilian clothes come off and my uniform goes on. It's uncomfortable and hot, dark colored and made of wool. I have to put on a bulletproof vest. I have two pairs of handcuffs, a small flashlight, a Taser, a baton, some extra magazines of bullets and a gun. I am trained to defend myself and others from serious harm or death. The uniform itself makes me a target of violence. Artists rap about killing me. Gangsters write on walls about doing the same. But I love this uniform. ...