By Sean Riley – President & Founder – Safe Call Now
The cold hard truth… I really know nothing about being a great father, not even a decent father. I know what it takes to survive in the world of law enforcement, I know what it’s like to support the “Thin Blue Line” at all costs, I reveled in the “Brotherhood and Sisterhood” but I failed miserably as a father. The day that badge was pinned on my chest, authority and leadership were bestowed upon me to carry out societies duties and see to it good always prevailed over evil. Little did I know that someday I would become the evil that I swore to protect others from. It’s not the evil that you think, it’s much worse because it’s those attributes and traits that kept me safe on the streets that I brought home to my child and projected onto them. I had become a monster.
When my daughter was born, it truly was the greatest day of my life. I remember being scared, how am I going to take care of her, how am I going to protect her? I was raised and grew up in a great family, I saw everyone else do it, I saw everyone on the force do it, and surely it can’t be that difficult? Once I saw her, my world was good. I’m a family man now, a cop, the world is in my palm. I decided I would lead my family by demonstrating those qualities that helped me succeed in law enforcement. Things like leadership, command presence, situational awareness, clear communication and many others. They worked in my dealings with and leading the general public they will definitely mold and shape my family and child into productive community members. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
The behaviors that kept me safe and alive on the streets, the ones I became so adept at to accomplish the mission at hand are the exact behaviors that made me a horrible father. Along with those enduring qualities I thought the badge presented to me, I was a “cop” to my daughter. I was and am still proud of my career but over the years have realized it’s just a career and I missed out, no… threw away the opportunity to just be a father. The most important role given to man and I failed.
I took great pride in the fact that I was able to always handle calls and solve cases with maximum efficiency. What I was really good at was deflection, emotionally shutting down, barking orders to take control, using deceitful tactics or a ruse (The US Supreme Court said I could), interrogating others and standing up for right vs. wrong. When it was time to clock out at the end of shift, I took off my uniform and with great pride drove home only to realize all these years later, I brought that straight to my daughter. I was a great cop… I was a horrible father. “Fail”
The sad thing is, I justified to myself that my behaviors were righteous and just. What I couldn’t do and what I never saw at the time was that I couldn’t seperate being a cop from being a father. One is a profession, the other is a gift. I took the greatest gift of my life for granted and lost it for 15 years. By the grace of God and the mercy of my daughter she allowed me to reconnect with her. We have just started on this journey together.
There is no roadmap for me because I haven’t the slightest idea of what to do because I don’t know what it’s like to really be a father. I’m scared, probably even more terrified that I will mess this up again. I know I’m going to make mistakes, I know I’m going to try hard and fail again but here’s what I do know, I’m HERE this time. Me… not the cop! The father in whatever that role looks like as we both walk this road together for the first time. My daughter is 26 now and I’m forever grateful she is the one who has shown me what forgiveness is all about. Maybe it’s time I step up and stand beside her as her father for the first time.
If you, someone you love or someone you know needs help, call:
Safe Call Now: 24 Hour Confidential Hotline: 206-459-3020
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Or call Shannon Clairemont at 661-466-6352 or Vanessa Stapleton at 304-651-3008