What we should say to Officer Colvin Georges
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When I was a kid growing up in New York City, everyone in our neighborhood wanted to be a cop.
There was something so special about seeing that uniform and knowing that a cop was a good guy who carried a gun and a radio and was so important. It didn't matter if you were a girl or a boy, everyone wanted to be a cop. We knew that cops were trying to stop the bad guys. We loved to look at the police cars and enjoyed hearing the sirens as they raced by on the road.
I don't think we realized that they were racing toward something dangerous, only that it was exciting and there was some trouble they were taking care of. They were our super heroes.
Back in the day, both girls and boys all knew that cops were special, that they were our friends and that we could always count on them when we were in trouble. We had been raised to know that if we were lost, we should look for a cop. If something bad was happening, we would look for a cop. And if we needed any help for anything, we would look for a cop. Cops were at the top of the list of who got respect, and we were always polite and courteous when we saw a cop.
My uncle was a cop and that gave me special status. When he would visit, we would get to wear his hat, and we were allowed to carefully look at his gun. We got to hear cop stories and sometimes he would put the siren on in the police car for us to hear. We would listen by the open window of his car and hear the other cops talking on the radio.
On holidays, he would show up only for a few minutes, in his uniform, because he always had to work. We never realized what a sacrifice that was in itself. He never had a hot turkey dinner, he only got the leftovers.
We all knew our neighborhood cop, Jerry, and he was called upon for all sorts of emergencies. Nobody was afraid to ask Jerry for help for anything, and he always gave help. And we all felt safe because we knew we had a cop on the block.
Once, when a bad man came into our neighborhood and followed some young girls, of which I was one, and exposed himself, the first person we ran to was Jerry. He spent hours looking for the perpetrator and comforted us at the same time. We knew Jerry was on the job and he would find the bad guy and we would be safe.
There is something so special about cops that it always stays with you. But as you grow up, you see that the magical job that you wished you were part of is really dangerous. You realize that cops do more than ride in cars with flashing lights and get to carry a gun and wear a badge. You realize that they risk their lives for us when they are "looking for the bad guys" and that sometimes some of them die a hero's death.
You realize that we as a community owe them more than we can ever repay - but we can at least say thank you for the ultimate sacrifice.
Thank you, V.I. Police Officer Colvin Georges. Godspeed.
- Maria Ferreas, St.Thomas