The Police Officer

Poetry by SCW member Betty Halstead Moss honoring the police officer.


When I hear a siren in the city at night
I cringe at the thought of what may be the plight
Of some young officer who is making that call
Will he survive or is it his time to fall

So many give their all on our streets today
Trying to protect the citizens who pay
Little respect to the police officer who may die
In his quest to keep peace; one must ask why

To know an officer who guards our streets
To know his heart, his strength, his feats
To know his character; his inner soul
To share his vision, his life-long goal

To know he walks with danger each day
To know he is fearful in the same way
As any soldier who has chosen to care
Looking after others, his life to share

I know such a one who is retired today
He holds a gold badge of honor to pay
No fortune was made as a cop on the street
The motor, the squad car, or walk on the beat

His family lived in comfort, ‘tis true
They lived in fear of each day too
“Will Dad come home after duty tonight?”
Always that little under tone of fright

Many of our citizens understand
The plight of law officers over this land
How the danger rises with lack of respect
The breakdown in society and its effect

No longer is an officer in control of a scene
He stands to be judged by a freak movie theme
He is stressed by the thought of losing control
He knows he must stand firm and be bold

Then there are those who in their haste
Make unwise judgments resulting in waste
Or possibly the loss of an innocent life
The officer never recovers from the strife

An officer’s routine has always been clear
Keep his back to the wall and a keen ear
Eyes always moving, a hand ready to defend
With the action required when lawless offend

He may spend hours to direct traffic on his feet
In the hot sun or gusting rain on the street
He walks bravely into the domestic fight
Not knowing what’s next or what is right

He chokes on the nausea that rises to his neck
As he pulls the injured child from a mangled wreck
He struggles with anger and rage when a call
Takes him to a killing, small children and all

He thinks for a moment as he walks to the car
Of the lawbreaker he just beckoned from afar
Will he be a calm citizen who just didn’t think
Or is he a drunkard with too much to drink

And the stopped car the officer must check
Could be a criminal or a dangerous suspect
Who is waiting with hatred for the law
And anxious to kill any officer he saw

Or he may face the stricken deranged man
Who is determined to take his life if he can
In his mindless panic he threatens the cop
Who is there to try to convince him to stop

The officer tries to calm the tragic scene
But a distraught broken man it seems
Loses control, the officer faces the gun
Shots are fired; it’s a game never won

In spite of his courage and love for his job
He must feel the struggle and how he is robbed
Of time to be with his family he adores
On overtime he completes paperwork galore

He finally goes home, puts his feet on the stool
Turns on the TV and some media fool
Condemns his comrades without reason or facts
Of being in the wrong, always bad police acts

He is the first to condemn his fellow brother
When he makes a bad call in one way or another
He knows they are human and subject to panic
Some may waver, become careless and frantic

He supports the law who take up the task
With investigation and for the facts ask
The officer must be punished for his mistake
He police life is over, the badge they must take

For those in the right who follow the rule
Call for equal justice and tempers to cool
Let the judge make decision of what is fair
No system is perfect, it’s human to err

He asks for respect for his badge and authority
To be remembered as one who in the majority
Upholds the law and respects all humankind
Honor him; THE POLICE OFFICER with YOUR welfare in mind

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