I Love a Ferndale Police Officer
By, Kate Kranz
In December 2008 my husband started his career as a Ferndale police officer. It was one of the happiest and scariest days of my life. I was so proud of the man he had become and for achieving the dream he has had since he was five years old, but I was petrified knowing what his career would entail. We have discussed his career since the beginning of our relationship and continue to address it throughout our marriage. I never hesitate to address my fears when it concerns his career choice and he is never quick to dismiss them. Different situations trigger a variety of worries and often spark a lengthy conversation regarding the topic. Some concerns were to be expected when being married to a cop, others I had never considered.
Alcoholism. Infidelity. Depression. Spousal Abuse. Suicide.
Police officers have a higher risk of these compared to the general public. Some of these don't scare me, but others do. Overall, my fear is that his career will change him. Each day he goes to work knowing he is likely to witness ignorance, abuse, drugs, violence, and death. Because of this, I worry that eventually he will become jaded. I worry he will lose faith in mankind. I worry he will become cold. I worry that it will affect his role as a father and as a husband. I worry that he will lose himself. I worry that because of his badge, I will lose the man I fell in love with, both emotionally and physically.
During his training in the police academy, my worst fear was quickly brought to attention when a Grand Rapids police officer was shot and killed. Officer Robert Kozminski was responding to a domestic disturbance on July 8th, 2007 when he was ambushed and shot in the head while trying to establish a perimeter. Officer Kozminski was only 29 years old and left behind a three year old daughter. Just two weeks after my husband became an officer, an Oak Park police officer was shot and killed. On December 28th, 2008 Officer Mason Samborski was killed by a 16 year old boy after driving him home. Officer Samborski was only 28 years old and also left behind a wife and infant daughter. I remember these days vividly. I remember the somber look on his face when he told me the news and the ache I felt in my chest as I watched the funerals broadcasted on the evening news, knowing that my husband was in attendance, dressed in a uniform that united them all. They are the "Brothers in Blue."
My worst fear played out in front of me as I watched the loved ones of Officer Kozminski and Officer Samborski say their final goodbyes. Tears ran down my face as I watched their little girls in their beautiful dresses stare in awe at all who surrounded them, still too young to grasp the heartbreaking reality.
I cried watching Samborski's wife walk out of the church behind her husband’s casket, too weak to walk without the support from loved ones.
I cried as I watched Kozminski's daughter stand by her father's burial site and his casket blanketed in white roses.
I cried as I prayed to God, begging Him never to allow me to be awarded a folded American flag.
I'm proud to be able to say "I'm in love with a cop." My husband wears a Ferndale badge and I couldn't be more proud of the man behind that badge. I have a great respect for all officers who devote their lives to serve and protect, but I also have respect for the women who love them. Their job is not easy, but neither is ours. And I know I'm surely not alone in my fears. These are the fears I must face every night. Every night as my husband leaves for work I give him a hug, a kiss, and say the same phrase I've said each night since December 2008.
"Be safe. I love you."
Five words. A simple statement, but the message behind it is beyond simple. Every night I want to say "Be safe and be sure to make smart decisions. Do whatever you have to in order to make sure you come home to your wife and daughter. Remember, you don't have to be the hero... just come home and continue to be our hero. Keep a good head on your shoulders. Have faith, but keep your guard up at all times. Continue to be compassionate, don't let this job change who you are. Don't allow this job to harden your heart or the man I fell in love with. Do what is right, uphold the law, fight for justice, but above all... come home to us. I love you."