How did you react the last time you got pulled over by a police officer? I can tell you that I got that lump in my throat and got all fidgety like a little kid getting caught with her hand in the cookie jar.

Thankfully my kids weren’t in the car with me the last time I got pulled over. I was driving my husband’s truck and I wasn’t sure he had his insurance card, and my mind was running in a thousand different directions. Then the officer walked right up to my window and said, “Who’s the cop?”

Hummm, what you do you say to that? I said, “I’m sorry, I don’t think I understand.” He responded again, “Who’s the cop?”

Now, I’m still shaken up from the lights and the sirens and I just squeak out, “You’re the cop?”

He shakes his head and again says, “Who’s the cop!” I emphatically reply, “You’re the cop!” I thought he might be on an ego trip, who knows. I’m just trying not to tick him off.

He then says, “Ma’am, your tag has a FOP symbol on it.”

Boy did I feel stupid! We still laugh about that around my house. Every once in a while someone will walk up to me and say, “You’re the cop!”

How ridiculous did I feel. But I can tell you this, I was going to give respect to that officer, even if I didn’t understand what he was trying to say to me.

Respect — that’s a great word and an even better way to live.

When my daughters were younger there was a movie that said, “Call the Po-Po!” in reference to calling the police. It was a comedy and we laughed about it a lot. I didn’t realize how much my daughters were paying attention until my house got robbed one afternoon.

I called the county sherriff’s office and they sent a deputy right over. I was single at the time with a 3- and 4-year old. The officer was sitting at my kitchen table asking questions and filling out a report when my 3-year-old walked in the kitchen and asked at the top of her lungs, “Who called the Po Po!”

I turned red and wanted to sink into the floor, but thankfully the kind officer (who is actually a friend of mine) responded with, “So, is that what your mommy says?” He laughed about it and I’m sure shared it with his co-workers.

But when the rubber meets the road, what are we teaching our children about police officers? Do you speak of law enforcement as if they are the bad guys? Do you act like they are just trying to catch you doing wrong so they can flex their muscles?

Sure, there are bad crayons in every box and I’m sure there are bad police officers also. But for the most part, these guys are out there just doing their jobs and if you are obeying the laws of the land, then you should never even have a run-in with them.

Police officers have bad days too, and I’m sure there are times when your petty disregard to the rules pushes their buttons and they react badly. Believe it or not, there are days when I am like a grizzly bear behind this desk. Even the slightest inconvenience will set me off and I’ll take it out on everyone around me.

Admit it, you’ve had a few bad days at work also. Police should get that little bit of a break also. If you’ve ever had a bad experience with a police officer, don’t hold it against all policemen for the rest of time. Give them a break.

And for the love of your children, give respect to police officers when they are just doing their jobs. If you talk rudely to a police officer in front of your children (young or old) then you are setting a standard of disrespect for authority, and they won’t forget that when you start to put your foot down on an issue. Their minds will go right back to when they saw you being disrespectful to those who have authority over you. Then you will, in essence, lose some of the respect that your children may have had for you. Kids see through our words to our actions and it is very evident in how we treat others.

Be respectful and even thankful for our police officers. They are here to protect you and your family; and in my experience, they are good people trying to do the best job they can.

Follow the rules and be respectful toward those in authority over you and you will probably never have a bad experience with your local police officers.

But if they ask you, “Who’s the cop?” when they pull you over, the appropriate answer probably isn’t, “You’re the cop!” ... just for future references.

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