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Editor Opinion: Images of Officer Sleeping on Duty

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Police Officer

We have received several emails and messages today about the images posted on another media sources Facebook page of an officer sleeping and questioned if we would share the images on our social media pages.

Let me start off by saying, as you all know, Eastern Shore Undercover is a pro-police page so naturally, we are NOT going to share the photos of any officer sleeping.

We are NOT like other media sources and we are not going to, nor will we ever, post an image just to get a click or a like. I disagree 100% with posting the image and feel that it should have never happened.

I think it was tasteless and for the record before people scream about this page giving their opinion…. yes, this is the opinion of this page! If you don’t like it, don’t read our content. Period!

For those wondering, there were photos posted of a police officer sleeping in his patrol car from an agency not in our coverage area and the officer appeared to be sleeping. While we normally don’t post anything outside of Wicomico and Worcester County, I decided to comment on this because I can share an opinion from a police officers perspective that many don’t realize and it may prevent you questioning an officer if you see this happen here in Wicomico or Worcester County.

First of all, let’s ask ourselves what we are questioning here? Are we questioning the fact that the officer “may” have closed his eyes for a few minutes as if it is a bad thing? Or are we simply looking for something to shine a dark shadow over law enforcement, and are using an image of a officer sleeping, to help with that goal?

Let me be the first to take it on the chin here and say that when I was a police officer, there were MANY times that I closed my eyes for a few minutes. My daughter came to me today and showed me the photos and asked if I ever did that and without hesitation, I said “YES, 100%, many times”.

If you think that made me a bad cop, then so be it but I would rather close my eyes and catch a power nap for 5 minutes than jeopardize my safety or the safety of others because I was too proud to say I was tired and exhausted from a long night of work.

Many people don’t realize the rigorous schedule that most law enforcement go through when it comes to scheduling so let me explain it you from my experience. When I worked midnights in the Ocean City Police Department, in the summer, this was my normal routine. I worked midnights for 8 straight years and throughout the summer, this was the norm.

9:00 PM – Begin my drive from Wicomico County to Ocean City. This is permitting I was not called in early to assist with calls for service. But let’s just say, that my shift started at 10:00 PM and I never wanted to be late, so I left at 9:00 PM not knowing the current traffic conditions.

10:00 PM – Start rollcall. Depending on who was running the rollcall, this could last anywhere between 20 minutes and 1-hour. No kidding and many officers will agree and most are laughing right now. There are some supervisors that loved to talk and those roll calls would drag on and on.

11:00 PM – On the road and responding to calls. The shifts run through 8:00 AM so you have basically 9 hours on the street driving around, responding to calls. Now keep in mind, some of our local departments work 12 hour shifts and god bless them because I am not sure I could have ever got use to that schedule!

8:00 AM – Your shift is over and now, you have to start preparing for court. Criminal Court starts at 9:00 AM however you have to be there at 8:30 AM to talk with the State’s Attorney and discuss your case. Court will normally last until 11:00 AM on a good day, noon on a bad day.

1:00 PM – You are done criminal court but now you have to go to traffic court. Traffic court starts at 1:00 PM. Depending upon how many cases they have in traffic court on the docket, you could be there anywhere from a hour to two hours. So let’s just say the Assistant State’s Attorney was decent and they knew you worked the night before and they get you out by 2:00 PM.

2:00 PM – Now you drive home from Ocean City to Wicomico County. Well, you get home roughly at 2:45 PM and you spend a hour with your family. Don’t forget folks, they still exist. So let’s just say you get done your hour with your family and now it is time for you to go to bed.

3:45 PM – That means at 3:45 PM, you get to close your eyes to go to sleep. Most people get 8-10 hours of sleep a night right, but sorry, I don’t know any law enforcement officers that get that. Let’s say you get to sleep for 4 hours.

7:45 PM – You wake up, not by choice but because you have to get up and get a shower because guess what….. you have to work that night. You get a shower, eat dinner, say hello, I love you and good bye to your family and out the door you go to do it all over again!

You see folks, what I’m trying to say here is instead of knocking the officer for closing his eyes, why not have a heart and thank him or her for doing their job…..and thank him or her for not taking the risk of driving home tired, putting you and your family at risk.

We scream at Tractor Trailer drivers when we find out that they have driven more then 8 consecutive hours but we expect law enforcement to work 10-12 hours, driving all around responding call to call and then blast them on social media when they want to do the right thing, which means closing their eyes for a brief moment to refresh and wake up.

Oh, did I mention the truck drivers are mandated to take a 30 minute break by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. I can tell you this without hesitation that cops do not, can not, and most will not take a 30 minute break on their shift because the radio doesn’t allow it. Breaks are taken in the cars, and they eat when they can, most times with their food being cold.

I’m not saying cops go in to work and they all take naps. I’m not saying that cops should be out there going to sleep because reality is this isn’t a safe environment anymore and it is very dangerous for them. What I am saying is think of it from a different angle.

Think about how you feel when you don’t get your 8-10 hours of sleep and then remember the schedule I just told you about and that officer sleeping. Think about how tired you get when you take those long drives for more then 6-8 hours and then think about law enforcement, who do it every single day, 10-12 hours a day.

What is the old saying, “Walk a mile in their shoes” well, this is a prime example of that. I’ve walked that mile and I can tell you folks it is not easy! Cut them some slack, I think they deserve it.

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