Poem: Awards Banquet

A veteran cop describes the split-second decisions that go through a cop’s mind when faced with a man with a gun


Calling all police poets! PoliceOne’s new column highlights some of the inspirational, moving and funny poems authored by our readers.

In 1994, Sarah Cortez left a flourishing corporate career to become a police officer. Having written poetry since 1992, her poems started to focus on her experiences as a police officer. In “Awards Banquet,” she describes the details of a shooting told to her by a fellow deputy who worked her shift. Her hope is that civilians who read her work will understand the realities police face, and that cops who read her work will say, "Yep, that's the way it is."

This poem is reprinted with permission from “Cold Blue Steel" by Texas Review Press. For more poems by Sarah, visit www.sarahcortezcop.com.

Email your submissions for consideration to editor@policeone.com.

Awards Banquet

for Deputy Craig Hughes

I don’t wonder
about the wife, face down,
straddled by the husband
in a closet.

I don’t even wonder
about the husband
angry or crazy enough
to want to kill.

I have questions
about the gun – its
silhouette against a dim
interior of hanging shirts,

a splatter of shoes.
Loaded or not, one of those
plastic fakes or real.
Maneuverability in a tight

space. And that one officer
yelling at him to drop it. The
husband complying, then
picking it up. The second

yell. Did the officer
remember his new baby
at home, the son
in first grade? Of

course not. He shot
and killed the right
person. Saved a life;
took one. Tonight

in a crowd of fellow
cops and spouses, he
gets a plaque, greying
crew cut shining in stage
lights. He stands
removed. Honored.
Alive.

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