I met Ralph in December 1996 on a blind date, and we immediately hit it off. He was friendly, funny, and came across as a deeply spiritual man—everything you could want in a husband. Hearing he was a law enforcement officer, however, left me apprehensive. The men and women called to this job do it knowing they may never come home on any given day. I liked Ralph, so I was concerned for his safety. Nevertheless, we kept dating and married in November 1998.
The lifestyle of an officer’s wife may be different than the norm as disturbances always take precedence over our pre-planned events; in fact, many nights you might be eating alone. But Ralph truly loves his job, and I know worrying doesn’t keep him any safer. That doesn’t mean that I don’t often worry, because I do! It doesn’t mean I haven’t paced through our house while looking out the window and wondering if another officer is coming to notify me of the unimaginable. It simply means that I’ve learned to trust in something, or rather Someone, who casts out all fear.
Eleven years ago, when our first born was only six-weeks-old, Ralph was sent on a call where a man was holding his wife hostage in their home. The suspect had been drinking and was extremely depressed. Ralph set up directly in front of the home, while fire/EMS, other officers, and the SWAT team were positioned closer.
Ralph directed his spotlight at the home and began calling for the man to lay down his weapons and surrender. While he was sitting in the driver’s seat of his vehicle, Ralph was reminded of something he had read earlier in the week about the patrol car being a target at all times. As soon as he got out to use his door as a shield, a gunshot rang through the patrol car windshield, and the bullet slammed into the headrest where he had just been seated. A SWAT team member took that opportunity to knock the suspect to the ground and end the conflict.