Protect and Serve
9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.—People have worked, had a lunch break, worked some more, and are now headed home to have dinner with their families. I, on the other hand, am just waking up, heading out to serve my city. Well, I would just be waking up if I was doing what is recommended for a night shift officer, but when you have an amazing family, like my beautiful wife Canah and my boy, Roman, you just don’t have time to be sleeping in that late! I’m Zierre Spencer, and this is what a day of work looks like for me as a Texarkana, Texas Police officer.
Ideally, I’d sleep until at least 3:30 p.m. or even 5:00 p.m., but most days I sleep from about 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. because if I sleep much more than that, I feel like my life is just passing me by. Life doesn’t stop just because I’m asleep, so I feel like I miss out on quality time with my friends and family. My wife and my kiddo are my world, and I thank God for them every day. I’ll gladly miss out on sleep if it means I get to spend a few extra memorable moments with them. You’re probably thinking, “this is supposed to be A Day in the Life of a Police officer, and he hasn’t talked about being a cop once!” The truth is, I actually have been talking about it. I’m a Police officer 24/7, just like I’m a Father, a Husband, and a Christian 24/7. Each roll is intertwined, and I simply can’t talk about one without mentioning the others because they are who I am. I certainly could not be an officer without the backing and support I receive from the other roles.
As soon as I get to work, I get debriefed on the high-crime areas, stolen vehicles, recent incidents, and other notable events. (By the way, most of these stolen vehicles are happening because people aren’t locking their car doors… just a helpful tip) Finally, it’s time to hit the streets. Sometimes I come to work and it’s quiet, but we never say the “Q-word” out loud because that’s just asking for something to happen. Other times we come into work and the city is on fire! (Figuratively not literally, because that would be the fire department’s problem.) What I mean by the city is on fire is that there may be a call holding where a kid just ran away from home, another call for a group of people fighting in the park and another call where people heard shots being fired. When all of that has settled down, another call may come in for a theft in progress at your neighborhood Walmart, a car driving recklessly down Stateline, or Karen calls because she cursed her neighbor out and her neighbor had the audacity to curse her out in return. And don’t forget the domestic violence call we just got between a husband and a wife. We deal with a lot and luckily, I’m not the only one responding to all these calls. The Texarkana Texas Police Department has several shift officers ready to protect and serve the citizens of our city. Every day, officers put their lives on the line to protect good from evil and sometimes even evil from evil. Because like the devil, evil doesn’t discriminate. Often the criminal can become the victim. As an officer it is our duty to set aside personal feelings and biases and render aid to whoever needs help.
Beyond handling crimes after they have happened, we are also vigilantly looking for ways to deter crime before it happens. We are ever patrolling the streets in the late hours of the night, looking for potential burglars and drug deals. We are trying to make the city streets cleaner and safer every day.
Sometimes stopping crime includes traffic stops. They happen every day and have the potential to be very dangerous. We constantly walk up to vehicles with extremely dark tinted windows, unable to see inside. Convicted felons with firearms and drugs could be in that vehicle. Or it could simply be a citizen who was running late and ran a red light. Many scenarios are possible, and we have to be mindful and ready for all outcomes. Before the traffic stop occurs, there is no telling what’s going on in the driver's mind. They could be planning to evade us, or strike, or they could be nervous about the contraband they are hiding. They may just be nervous at the thought of being pulled over, and sometimes they genuinely do not know why they have been stopped. They were distracted because they have just heard about a loved one’s passing and run right through a traffic light. Likewise, there is no telling what the officer who is pulling you over has just been dealing with. We could have been wrestling a gun away from a suspect or arresting a suspect we chased down some dark alley. We could have just run from a dog chasing us, or just finished informing an unknowing individual about a loved one we found deceased. And that’s just job-related issues. We all deal with our own personal and family issues as well. Sometimes you may just encounter an officer who is having a rough day. We are human, just like everyone else, but we do our best to serve and protect. Sometimes we can make mistakes. We all have rough days, we all make mistakes and I think if we could recognize we are all human, we could get along much better. All it takes is a willingness to see things from the other person’s point of view.
There’s not an officer in Texarkana who got into the profession of law enforcement without a desire to protect and serve. Like many jobs, we don’t do it for the pay; we do it because we love it. We love to help and be there for people in their time of need, and we love serving our city. It is great knowing we are working so our friends and family can rest easy. When 7:00 a.m. rolls around, I’m finally home from a long night of work. I open the door to my home, ready to see if the little one has been on the night shift like his father, or if he and the Mrs. are fast asleep. If he’s awake, I take over so my wife can get some rest. She’s been up all night too dealing with a much harder job. If all is quiet, I’ll take a shower, grab a bite to eat, and call it a day. I need to get some rest so I can do it all again tomorrow. I sure do love my job and my community, and I sure do love my family.