“Well don’t you look dashing in your company uniform.”
The sweet voice tickling my ear was that of my wife Denise. Her soft hands placed on my shoulders gave me goose bumps. I couldn’t remember the last time we had an intimate moment. I almost forgot what it felt like to be touched by her.
“Thanks, Baby. They call this “LAPD Blue.” It’s the hot new color of the fall.”
She pressed her soft lips against my cheeks, sending another string of goose bumps down my arms. My how I longed to be closer to her and Aaron again. My son was now five…no…six. I had missed his last three birthdays, but the little guy was gracious. He always forgave me and reassured me that he understood that “daddy was busy fighting the bad guys.”
“There is a bagel and some coffee in the kitchen if you have time to grab a quick bite before you head out. Sorry, but we are fresh out of doughnuts.” Denise giggled.
I adjusted my badge and turned to face the love of my life. I cupped her cheeks in my hands and gave her a passionate kiss.
“I love you so much, Baby.”
I walked out of the bathroom and across the hall. My son Aaron lay fast asleep, his G.I. Joes scattered next to him in the bed. He must have fallen asleep while playing army. I gave him a peck on the cheek and pulled the covers tightly over him. I grabbed my food and headed out the door.
The cold morning air nipped at my ears as I got into my squad car. They let me take the vehicle home sometimes. I pulled out of the driveway and began my drive to the station, a routine that I had been performing for ten years now…ten long years.
I left my beautiful suburban bubble and entered the gritty downtown streets of Los Angeles. This was my beat, and I took my job seriously.
I saw Sylvia walking down the sidewalk. I waved to her as I passed by. Sylvia was a prostitute who I had arrested several times. My heart went out to her. She was a woman who experienced molestation and rape throughout her life and found it hard to have any kind of self worth. This is the only way she felt she could pay the bills.
I turned down an alley and stopped next to a man sleeping by a dumpster.
“Good morning, Larry.”
“Officer Parks. It’s good to see you. How’s the family?”
“They’re doing real good. You staying out of trouble? Staying clean?”
“I’m trying, Sir. I really am. It’s just real hard.”
“There are plenty of free resources available to you. Just let me know if you need any assistance. And don’t forget to read The Bible I gave to you, ok?”
“I won’t Officer. Thank you.”
Larry was another one my heart broke for. He was a homeless heroin addict. I tried numerous times to help get him clean. I even paid out of my own pocket to place him in rehab. He kept going back to the needles, but I wasn’t giving up on him. It was my duty to help the widows and the orphans. It was my duty to help the “least of these.”
In some ways, I felt like I understood what Jesus went through. Like Him, I spent most of my time with the drunks, the prostitutes, and the criminals. And like Him, I too was often misunderstood by people around me. Loving the men and women you are arresting is not part of LAPD protocol. Serve and protect was our motto. The word love was no part of it.
I sat in traffic just a few blocks from the station. I pulled out the small Bible that I kept in my shirt pocket. I opened it up to the front page. Written in Denise’s handwriting were the words:
To daddy with love from Aaron
The book was a precious gift from my son for my thirtieth birthday. The book had a hole in the middle where it had stopped a bullet from hitting my chest. The book reminded me of my family’s love and of the love and protection my Heavenly Father so graciously bestowed upon me.
Jesus had placed his hands and feet inside this navy blue police uniform. He guided my steps. He helped me to protect, to serve, and most of all to love.
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