Being married to a LEO (law enforcement officer) is not the easiest, however it is well worth all the uncertainty, worry and long shifts. My husband is the greatest gift I have ever been given and I consider it an honor to love and support him through this life. Being a LEOW is not just something I do from 9-5. It is a lifestyle, a constant pride for that badge he wears over his heart and the code he follows both on and off the job. Here are a few tips for new LEOWs or partners to a LEO.
1. “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.” This may seem like an odd saying to start out tips for partners to new LEOs, but it’s true. These men and women sacrifice so much every day to serve their communities. If you can’t get behind your spouse or partner while they endeavor to make this world a safer place, get out now. The environment they work in is stressful and dangerous and the last thing they need to worry about is the drama they are going to face when they walk through the front door. It’s okay if this life isn’t for you, it’s not meant for everyone. But be aware and speak with your significant other before causing more misery than you both can handle that will cause more pain in the end.
2. Meet fellow LEOWs. I cannot stress how important it is to find other women (or men) who are supporting their love just like you are supporting yours. It can help ease the stress that comes with the job because no one else really gets it like they do. Family and friends are important but no one will understand that panic you feel at 3am when you can’t get ahold of him or the frustration when the job pulls her away from dinner for the fourth time this week. Fellow LEOWs can offer advice, a shoulder to cry on and just good old-fashioned stories about their experiences with the life. If you are new and don’t know anyone on the force, introduce yourself to your husbands coworkers first and meet the spouses through them. At the next work event, say hi. It can be intimidating but it will be so worth it! Also, check and see if your post or organization has a Facebook page or newsletter. This can help you stay informed on upcoming events, lend you information on basic procedures, and give you countless resources to connect too.
3. Follow blogs and social media accounts of LEOWs. If you aren’t connected to your significant others work group yet, follow blogs, Instagram accounts or Facebook pages that focus on encouraging blue line families. Our officers are constantly faced with criticism, scrutiny and questions about the job. Sometimes this can be difficult to understand or get used to. Connecting to positive sources can help through that transitional phase as you begin to understand the social view on Police forces. Now I will say that we have experienced so much support from most of the people we have encountered. The media can be overwhelming in the negative coverage of situations gone wrong or those bad seeds that somehow find their way into different factions of life. However, my husband has told me on multiple occasions that he has received more support than criticism from the interactions he’s had. It’s important to realize that not everyone feels that our officers are the enemy.
4. Limit media coverage. As mentioned above, our media has made it their mission to involve themselves in matters that they can’t even begin to comprehend. This has caused a wave of anti-police feelings throughout our great nation. Limiting your connection to those stories and coverage can help decrease the feelings of anxiety and worry that come along with the constant consumption of that kind of content. Something else I am very careful about viewing is officer involved shooting clips or chases that involve crashes. You know the ones that last for a minute and a half on Facebook that you just can’t seem to scroll past. These can also cause unnecessary panic and stress so I just avoid them at all costs if possible.
As you integrate into the blue family, you will find the things that work best for you! The transition into such a family can seem daunting but trust me, there is nothing like it. You will have endless support within this family, countless resources to connect you, and a true feeling of loyalty that can rarely be found elsewhere. This life isn’t easy but no one said it would be. You just have to plug into the things that best encourage and uplift you so you can be the best support to your significant other as possible. Are you a new LEOW? I would love to hear about your experiences below!
*None of these images belong to me and are courtesy of Google images