Hearts Beneath the Badge: A book for cops and citizens alike
Most law-abiding citizens proceed with their daily lives without thinking to commend a cop for a job well done
Editor’s Note: The following is the foreword I wrote for Karen Solomon’s new book, Hearts Behind the Badge, which is now available for sale. The book is really intended for a civilian audience, but I wanted to share this piece with PoliceOne Members for a couple of reasons. One is that many of the stories told are of PoliceOne Members who learned about Karen’s effort through posts on our Facebook Page. The second is that the more aware you are about this excellent book, the more you may be able to make your community members aware of it too.
When was the last time you read an article in your local newspaper — or saw a segment on your local six o’clock news — in which an act of police heroism was extolled? When was the last time you saw an Internet video in which a police officer did something that made you gasp in appreciation of their extraordinary skills and abilities? It’s probably been a while, but not because exceptional police work is not happening — on the contrary, hundreds of heartwarming and heroic actions by police officers happen every single day. The problem is, happy stories don’t sell advertising — “if it bleeds, it leads” — and awe-inspiring good deeds don’t often “go viral” on social media.
While the mainstream news media continually frames law enforcement in a negative light, and anti-cop zealots devote every waking hour to bashing police officers on the Internet, the overwhelming majority of American citizens admire police officers. They are, however, a silent majority. Chances are good that unless they’re connected in some way to law enforcement — they have a relative in the profession, for example — most law-abiding citizens proceed with their daily lives without thinking to commend a cop for a job well done.
Even if they do have a conscious thought of gratitude for their police heroes, most people today are just too busy to act on that and offer up a word or two of appreciation. Parents are shuttling the kids from school to soccer practice. Laborers are working multiple jobs to make ends meet. Americans are so caught up in the day-to-day challenges of modern life, they all too frequently fail to pause and give an “Atta Boy” to the copper who puts his or her life on the line every single day to ensure their safety. In fact, most folks more inclined to thank the airline pilot as they deplane than they are to thank the police officer standing in line behind them at the fast food restaurant.
In a society where almost the entire public narrative on police is driven by negativism, a few notable voices of positivity do stand out. Some public figures are vocal in their support for cops, and a handful of people in the press actively seek out “good news” about LEOs.
There is even a burgeoning online community of people who support cops. I know this because for the past half dozen years, I’ve been honored to be welcomed into the law enforcement family as Editor in Chief of PoliceOne, the leading information and education website for police professionals. As a consequence of my position, I’ve heard countless stories of the humanity and the heroism of our police officers. I’ve had the privilege to cover myriad announcements of agencies’ officer of the month awards, as well as the many ways — from charitable efforts to visiting sick kids in the local hospital — in which officers go above and beyond the job to serve their communities.
I’ve also came to know someone else whose unique connection to cops has given her access to similarly wonderful tales of excellence in the ranks. Karen Solomon has had a front row seat to the challenges facing our police — she’s married to a cop. Having heard her husband’s accounts of what he’d seen and done on tour, and then seeing the public fury against police following the officer-involved shooting in Ferguson (Mo.), Karen decided she needed to do something to right the ship of public opinion.
She began collecting stories of what is really happening in law enforcement with the aim of retelling those events so the public can see police in a positive light. These are tales of triumph and tragedy — stories of happiness and heartbreak. Each chapter is a gritty glimpse into the reality of law enforcement. Each account reveals more truth about cops than mainstream or social media has been able to — or even be willing to — tell.
Interviewing officers during her lunch hour, Karen collected more than two dozen stories. Many times those phone conversations involved tears on both ends of the line — it is my expectation that many people will quietly cry as they read some of the passages in Hearts Beneath the Badge.
Karen Solomon is to be commended for making Hearts Beneath the Badge a reality. You should be commended for picking it up and reading it.
- Police Heroes