When Dad is a Police Officer: Walking the Thin Blue Line


My toddler’s Daddy is his hero. And why not? Daddy drives a police car, dons a cool uniform, and fights the bad guys. Because my husband also takes his vehicle home, he often signals his arrival with flashing blue lights and sounds his siren to get the attention of our son, Everett. How cool is that?  

Not that my husband has to do much to get Everett’s attention. “Where’s Daddy?” and “When is Daddy coming home?”are the two phrases I hear almost every single day. In the morning, when I try to comfort him, he simply says, “I want Daddy.”

We all want Daddy. We all jockey for his time and scramble for a slice of it.

As a law enforcement family,Everett in police car. we know he could be called out at any minute for a number of things: a blizzard, an untimely death, or for backup at the scene of a crime. Because Daddy is also the chief, he attends Selectmen’s meetings, budget meetings, and public safety briefings. Sometimes, it seems like everybody wants a piece of Daddy. Every moment with him counts.

When friends ask me if I can meet them after work, my response is usually, “I don’t know.”

Because really, I don’t. My husband often intends to leave on time, but we laugh at the reality of that. One phone call, one disgruntled citizen, or worse – an emergency – can easily embroil him in a 13-hour day. Also, his 15-mile commute is often snarled by traffic, making what would be a 20-minute drive a 60-minute one.

His unpredictable schedule means that I am responsible for daycare drop-offs and pick-ups. I am on call for the doctor’s appointments and most sick days. I know that most of the dinners I prepare will go cold long before he arrives home. It is nothing compared to what millions of other police wives experience, but it does not make it easy. And hardest of all, when Everett asks when Daddy will be home, I can’t give him a straight answer.

We are lucky that Daddy still approaches his busy day with a smile and rarely complains.

With more than 25 years on the job, Daddy turned 50 earlier this month and still somehow has the energy to roll around with his toddler on the floor, shovel two feet of snow, and lift all of the household objects that are too heavy for me—including Everett. He’s the go-to parent and his son’s real-life superhero. There’s no one else my son would rather see. They still sit together every morning while Everett finishes his milk.

Still, his mind is always on police work and he keeps his phone close by and one ear on the news.

Unless we traveEverett plays in toy police carl to another country, my husband’s mind is never fully off the clock. We’ve lost a couple of close law enforcement friends recently. One was murdered; the other suffered a fatal heart attack at age 46. Not to mention, the world seems to have become more violent—or at least the news amplifies it. Police shootings, standoffs, and political unrest constantly pepper the local broadcast. My husband always stops and listens, hoping that all are safe. Then there are the times when my off-duty husband has helped other officers track down drunk drivers. And aided stranded passengers on the side of the road. It’s just who he is.  

Being part of a law enforcement family means you walk the thin blue line between his job and family life, but you always have support.

Sadly, I am not very close to many fellow police wives. Part of the reason we delayed having a family for so long was that I wasn’t sure I was cut out to be a single parent while my husband was out fighting crime. For 11 years, I was able to throw myself into work and graduate school while my husband logged his long hours. Many of the other police wives in our circle are long past the toddler stage; others who do have young children are busy juggling the demands of work and family themselves. Still, there is a sisterhood: an “I know what you are going through” sentiment that only police wives can understand.Police flag - thin blue line - In this family no one fights alone

Behind every police officer is a family; they are brothers and sisters, uncles and aunts, and husbands and wives. Most of all, children of police officers just want to see Daddy (or Mommy) come home. 


  1. So well written, so well said. And powerful. Such a human edge to the story, which is often missed when others think of a police family. Thank you for all you both do. This really tells the beautiful story of a police officer’s family, his son and the reality of the sacrifices every officer’s wife must make. Thank you for sharing!

  2. Yes! Yes! Yes!
    You often hear of the brotherhood of LEO. Most do not get a chance to see the side of the LEOW. It’s amazing how you can feel the same things. That someone knows what you are going through. It’s a sisterhood. When one goes down we all morn the same, when one is overwhelmed we get it.

    Bless your family and your LEO.

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