Police Heroes: Law Enforcement Officers Recall Their Best Days on the Job
By Brianna Flavin on 05/16/2016
Ask 10 young kids what they want to be when they grow up and chances are good that a handful will say a police officer. In a child’s perspective, the thought of wearing that badge and fighting crime is akin to becoming a real-life superhero.
But working in law enforcement is definitely no walk in the park. It can take a physical, emotional and psychological toll on you and your family. Not to mention the grueling hours and the imminent danger during every shift. But there are moments that make it all worthwhile.
As these law enforcement officers will tell you, there are some days when you get to be the hero every kid dreams of being. Read on as police heroes share about their favorite days on the job and why those moments make the danger worth it.
5 police stories that prove it’s all worth it
1. Saving a choking infant
Deputy Thomas Coulter of Blue Earth County Sheriff’s Office remembers the day he was called to the scene of a two-month-old infant who wasn’t breathing. Upon arriving at the residence, the hysterical mother handed him her blue, lifeless baby and Coulter immediately sprang into action.
He attempted to clear the child’s airway, but found it blocked with formula and mucus. He flipped over the infant and performed a few light compressions on her back, causing her to spit up the contents. When he turned her over and noticed she was still not moving, Coulter provided two quick breaths.
“I then heard the glorious sound of a crying baby,” he recalls. “Just then the paramedics arrived on scene, and I helped the mom into the ambulance with her child.” He says miraculous moments like that make up for all of the bad days piled together.
2. Closing a hot case
“Being able to see something completed from beginning to end is rare in the job,” says Officer David Sarne of the Platte (SD) Police Department. “For that reason, my favorite moment was being able to turn the biggest case I've worked on over to the state’s attorney for prosecution.”
Sarne takes on a wide variety of duties in his small town, including investigation. When the community was dealing with a string of burglaries, from businesses to churches, he was on the case. He caught a break when a camera caught a burglar breaking into a bar.
The same suspect left behind a real piece of evidence at another location, according to Sarne. He collected and processed the evidence, obtained a search warrant and found multiple items that were reported stolen in previous months.
“My Chief and I were able to get a full confession,” he says. “The suspect even admitted to multiple other burglaries that had not been reported.” Sarne remembers having to complete more paperwork than he’d ever had to in his career, but the sense of accomplishment in finally closing the case made it all worth it!
3. Saving kids from a drunk driver
“Nothing is better than seeing a kid smile,” says law enforcement officer and blogger Motorcop. “Parents sometimes roll down their windows, so the kids can smile wave. I am lucky enough to work in a jurisdiction in which that occurs daily.”
“Saving those kids from what would most likely have been the end of their lives made me incredibly happy to be a cop.”
He remembers an incident in which he stopped a drunk driver who had entered the freeway going the opposite direction. When he discovered the offender was a nanny who had two children in tow, he realized how horrifying the situation could have been had he not been there.
“Saving those kids from what would most likely have been the end of their lives made me incredibly happy to be a cop,” he says.
4. Helping combat addiction
Sometimes law enforcement officers are able to help the offenders they catch. When Marie Fulop, MS and certified financial investigator in the United States Secret Service caught a young man in drug addiction, this was the case.
“Right before going to prison, he almost overdosed,” Fulop says. “His family almost lost him forever.” After serving time, Fulop witnessed the young man fall right back into his old drug habits.
“I tracked him for a couple months and ended up catching him again in almost the exact same situation. He had just taken so many drugs, he didn't realize his body was going comatose,” she explains.
After pulling through yet again, Fulop decided to take matters into her own hands. With his family nearby, she got in his face and expressed her concern for him and his future. After another prison sentence was over, she visited his family and urged them to help rehabilitate him or he’d wind up back in prison or in the grave. The family relied on Fulop’s assistance to get the young man into a rehab facility.
“He has now been drug free for 4 years. He is a hard worker and sends me updates every month,” she says. “He says I saved his life.”
5. A routine traffic stop makes a big difference
Even the encounters that can put civilians and officers at odds are there for a reason. Coulter remembers stopping at a gas station one afternoon when a young man approached him saying, "Oh hey, you’re the cop that wrote me that seat belt ticket”. Coulter recognized the man who had shown some attitude at the time of the ticket.
“It’s mentally tough. But it’s euphoric when victims see justice served. I would repeat this career in a heartbeat.”
The young man stuck out his hand and said, “I want to thank you for saving my life!” He explained that after he got the ticket he began diligently wearing his seatbelt. A week later, he was involved in a serious car accident in which his vehicle rolled.
“His buddy who wasn't belted was ejected and unconscious after the crash,” Coulter explains. Because of his seatbelt, the other young man was able to sit unharmed in the vehicle and call 911 to get help for his friend.
“This young man was choked up as he told me what happened and said he knows he and his friend would have likely died,” Coulter recalls. “It helped me realize that what I do can truly help others.”
It isn’t only the good days either
Even aside from their shining moments, these police heroes can point out many things they love about their work.
“I love the fact that everyday is different,” Sarne says. “Every traffic stop, 911 call, non-emergency call or even a conversation at the gas station while buying a snack is a chance to build relationships and trust with the community.”
There are so many things you experience and learn as a police officer that Coulter wishes he kept a journal to remember it all. “People have such diverse lives, and I find it interesting to learn what makes people who they are. At the end of every shift just jot it down. We learn from our history.”
“It’s mentally tough,” Fulop says. “But it’s euphoric when victims see justice served. I would repeat this career in a heartbeat.”
If these stories inspire you, you might have what it takes to follow in these police heroes’ footsteps. Looking for more reasons to join the force? Check out our article: Why Become a Police Officer? 5 Reasons You Can’t Ignore.