Wearing The Uniform
With a gentle breeze blowing off the Elizabeth River Thursday evening, 22 recruits stood on the diamond at Harbor Park and joined the Norfolk Police Department.
They were men and women, black and white. They appeared to be in their 20s or early 30s. They brought their parents, grandparents, godparents, aunts, uncles, wives, children and friends to pin their badges on their chests.
These young officers are astute. They know they will never be rich. They know that some in the city will hate and distrust them. They know that every call they answer will be fraught with danger.
Yet they’re ready to wade into the shadowy, crime-infested pockets of the city to disrupt drug deals, prostitution rings and gang activity. They will stop speeding cars and break up domestic abuse. They will get drunks off the roads and search for lost children.
They will see things the rest of us never will. Thank God.
Looking at their eager faces I wondered, as I always do, what makes some young people want to wear a uniform and protect their city.
I have no answer.
But those of us who sleep soundly at night should be grateful they do.