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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Cop's Families

Cop’s Families

Before I start down this path, I need to emphasize everyone’s experiences are different.

In my previous post I stated how cops tend to be suspicious.  I received a comment that a Cop's suspicious nature must be tough on the Cop’s family. It’s funny, as with anything, reactions can be on either side of the spectrum.

I remember being told when I started my career in law enforcement, that while in uniform, officers (for the most part) were sharp, keen, intuitive and focused. In essence, the type of person you would want to come when you called for help. However, the same individual that was so confident, controlled and focused ‘on-the-job’ could be a train wreck of epic proportions when dealing with their personal life. 

A majority of the officers/agents/law enforcement I worked with made it a point to keep their families out of the loop as far as certain aspects go in regards to the job. What they don't want their family members to know is the terror. The ugliness of the streets and the slime they deal with daily. They want to protect them (their family) from heart wrenching sights and the fact that more often than not there is no HEA. Of course, that could be the reason for so many cop divorces and family estrangements. But that is the fuel for another blog. 

Yes, cops are very suspicious and prone to question those around them, especially those they don’t know or quite yet trust. But when it comes to their families, most LEOs have the biggest blind spot. Some officers actually subscribe to the thought process of  because I love you, I have to trust you. And in order to trust you, I cannot or will not scrutinize everything you do. If I do, I might find something I don’t want to either see or know. 

Now, there are officers at the other end of the spectrum that don’t trust anyone. They watch and wait and prepare to be wronged. As with any other self-fulfilling prophesy, they smile when they can say, "See? I knew I couldn’t thrust him/her."

The people I’ve seen most affected by the suspicion and paranoia of LEOs are their children. I know this, personally, because I am one of those dastardly people who could be considered over-bearing and over-protective where my child is concerned.

When I put in for and started working Sexual Predators, the only person living with me was my mother. Once I started working with a team, I couldn’t help but notice how protective and paranoid all the LEOs with children (working in the unit) were about who and where their children were and who they were with. Each of these Agents/Officers had a very short list of those people they allowed to take care of their children.

It's an unfortunate fact, most children who are sexually abused are victimized by relatives or close family friends. Cops live with that knowledge. Is it any wonder they're suspicious and paranoid?

Within three months of my working Sex Preds, my son entered my life. The first case I pulled was a child pornography case involving a toddler. Can you guess who I saw every time I looked at the photos?

That was a very difficult time for me. Needless to say, I also developed a very short list of who could watch my child.  

Most LEOs have guardian/protector mentalities. We know what can happen and fight to make sure our loved ones don’t become victims. So we become butt heads and invade their privacy, not because we don’t trust them – it’s their friends we have issues with.     


  1. Great post, Margaret. Definitely food for thought when I'm crafting my LEO characters.

  2. Great post full of thought-provoking stuff. I love how deeply you go into the heads of LEOs. Thanks.

  3. Thanks for another informative post, offering a glimpse into a cop's world. Looking forward to the next one.

  4. It's not only cops, Margaret. When my teen daughter started showing signs of trouble, I tapped her phone. In those days, it was easy. What I found out didn't make me happy, but it gave me a place to begin to save her and one of her friends whose parents weren't so willing to take risks. Don't ever feel bad for being "overprotective." Overprotective is what people call you when they want your child for their own purposes or when they don't want to take responsibility for their own children.

    You really showed me a range of attitudes for my cop characters to strike with regard to their families and friends. A right degree of suspicion is what I call "alert." Paranoid is something else again, and can push a good guy character into the bad guy column. I can see how a truly bad guy could manipulate a good guy through his fears. That could be wicked fun.

    Thanks for more nifty info, Margaret.

    Happy New Year!

  5. Great blog Margaret!! :)

    I always learn something new...

    Lisa :)

  6. Janet, thank-you. I hope my information helps.

  7. Gabriella, I am in a great goals class and one of my major goals for 2012 is to stop fiddle farting around and post a lot more regularly.

    Let me know if you have a topic of interest or a question that needs answering.

    Thanks for leaving a comment.

  8. Lynda, you have it nailed. It's okay to be what you call 'alert' in fact most officers are trained to be in a relaxed state of readiness / alertness. But if not careful that state of readiness / alertness if left unchecked can morph into paranoia.

    And as you pointed out it can make for great story fodder.

    Lynda thanks for stopping by and for taking the time to share your great insights.

  9. Lisa thanks for stopping by. Glad I can reciprocate on the learning. Because I'm still reeling from all the information you shared on social media.