If you know me, you know that I am all about supporting our Police Officers. I am friends with so many here in Indiana, as well as back home in Arizona. Ever since I was a little girl I was in love with the profession. I can remember my father taking me to the demonstrations at Reid Park in Tucson Arizona with K-9 Officers from around the state. I remember looking up at every officer that ever passed me in awe. That admiration grew as I got older. I be-friended many Tucson Police officers and Pima County Sheriff's Deputies as an adult. And one day, I found myself so captivated by the line of work that I applied for the Tucson Police Department. And I got in.
But, life changed, and it wasn't meant to be. But the love-affair I had with the profession stayed with me for almost a decade after that, even though I found myself unwillingly distanced from it all.
Then I moved to Bloomington, and my eyes were opened in a different way to the uniform. I was older and more mature, and a flood of police friends and their families once again entered my life. For the first time, I wasn't just associating them with the badge they wore. I knew these people on a deeper level. I have watched their children grow, I have watched them fall in love, I have even seen some of them face the most difficult periods of their lives. They all mean so much to me, and I have so much respect for them. Not ONLY because of their job, but because they are who they are underneath that uniform.
So one day recently, amidst all the hatred that currently infects our world against these amazing people, the idea occurred to me to start a photo project. One depicting these officers as the people I know. The ones everyone tends to forget they are, because they are so distracted by the badge and their perceptions of what an officer is. Human beings. Who feel. Who leave their families on a daily basis, always with the thought in the back of their minds that it could be the last time they say goodbye. I really hope you will all stay with me on this one, and see these people the way I do. They are all truly some of the best friends I have ever had in my lifetime, and I can't imagine not knowing them.
I started with an IMPD officer I have known for a long time now. I stood by his wife the day his military company came home. I've watched him leave for work and say goodbye to his children. They have been so important to me for so many years. And the way his little girl looks at him makes my heart happy. He is truly her hero. She doesn't refer to him as an officer when she talks about him,. She just calls him "Daddy". She doesn't associate the profession with anything other than "that's her daddy". If only we could all look at him and all his fellow officers the way she does.