The thinnest part of the blue line

Not being one to take things at face value, I looked up the “thin blue line.” Generally accepted as a symbol used to show solidarity with law enforcement, there is a fair amount of controversy associated with the symbol. Controversy? Related to law enforcement?

Perhaps the most current controversy involving law enforcement is whether they should continue to be compensated for the work they do whether in wages or retirement benefits. But don’t be deceived. There seems to have been a hazy cloud of controversy surrounding the shiny badge for some time. And to prove my point, I give you two words, Wyatt Earp. A law man of the wild-west and best known for his part in the shoot out at the OK Corral, his past is hardly exemplary.


It has become a standard part of our culture. When asked what he does, my husband never says, “I’m a police officer.” Can you guess why? What follows is typically a story of unjust ticketing or “speed traps” or a whiny interlude about the total jerk officer that pulled them over last week. The Andy Griffith mentality has faded out like black and white television and in it’s place is high def.


My husbands professional experience has been dealing with people who break the law, snotty and rude people, and some who would rather see him bleeding out on the sidewalk. For him, life is measured in potential threats and worse case scenarios. It changes the way he views the world. That’s his training. And his training and experience do not shut off the moment he walks through the door at home. His badge is off, but his vigilance is not. And such a condition means that he will ask me to do things that seem strange to outsiders. And guess what comes from that?


Even being married to a police officer opens the door for some dissension. A law enforcement family, or any first responder family, seem to have a unique set of rules. And there are instances where this causes controversy among friends and family members.

There are times when the rules that govern our home are challenged. “Why would he ask you to call him before you are on your way home? Don’t you think that’s a tad controlling?” Or, “Really? You aren’t allowed to open the front door in the middle of the day?” I could list the different customs that keep the peace in our home and that “normal” people deem crazy. I have plenty of fodder. But that’s not the point. The point is this–stop the controversy.

We all have a degree of crazy. Superstitions. Habits. Traditions. The difference is, most of us don’t wear our crazy on a clean pressed uniform, marked by a shiny star on our chest. By following a few “rules” around the house, I help put my husband’s mind at ease so that he can focus on his job and come home safe. Seems like a fair enough trade to me.

The thinnest part of the “thin blue line” is where crazy seems unnecessary and pointless. But sometimes the crazy is necessary. Then we call it something different.



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6 Comments on "The thinnest part of the blue line"

  1. Sue
    04/10/2012 at 7:46 am Permalink

    Very well said! Just had this conversation with a friend about our doors always being locked when we are home. Some things just make life easier.

  2. Rebecca Qualls
    04/10/2012 at 7:49 am Permalink

    Thanks Sue! Indeed. Some things just make life easier.

  3. agg
    04/10/2012 at 2:29 pm Permalink

    I have been an officer & my husband is an officer. This is so true & great. I now cut hair & hear pple complain about police all the time. I don’t mention my affiliation with law enforcement unless I want them too feel as uncomfortable as they just made me. Always I ask did youu break a law? Its pretty funny how that point doesn’t seem important to them. So you break the law and the officer is an ass because he enforced it? Nice. Just like every inmate claims….I didn’t do it! LOL

  4. missy
    04/10/2012 at 11:03 pm Permalink

    Rebecca, I have enjoyed all your posts to date!!! My husband was a special investigator in the Coast Guard for 21 years and is a Gulf War Vetran and he was also a Sherrif Officer for a few years and now a Correctional Officer with 10 years under his belt. I love reading your posts it reminds me of the “special” unwritten rules we have. I struggled with it when we were first married but once I realized like you said the vigilance is still there even though the badge and gun may be off they are really never “Off the clock”. Its not him being controlling. Every once in a while he will tell me a story of something that has happened and I am like wow I had no idea. The things they see and have to deal with are always with them. Your post a while ago had me in stitches when you talked about calling your husband from the car and he had come to all kinds of crazy conclusions that something had happened to you. Please keep the stories flowing. I have really enjoyed them, Missy : )

  5. Rebecca Qualls
    05/10/2012 at 6:44 am Permalink

    Thanks Missy! I’ll certainly try! 🙂

  6. Missy
    04/10/2012 at 11:07 pm Permalink

    Ok kleenex please : ) I just was rereading your post and just noticed the very last line…….Heroism. They are true Hero’s!!!!!

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