“Cops could have been firefighters too, that is if they could have scored better on the exam.”
“God made cops so firefighters could have someone to look up to.”
These are just a couple of the seemingly hundreds of jokes told between law enforcement officers (The Thin Blue Line) and firefighters (The Thin Red Line).
Blue and red make purple…get the title now, you cops out there? Oh, c’mon, I’m just kidding (no I’m not).
Now don’t get me wrong here. If you’re not a law enforcement officer or firefighter (or even married to or in a relation with) and you told these jokes in the presence of either, you’d probably get a real surly look back for offending two of the most honorable public serving professions one could commit to. We may seem to fight like cats and dogs, but to be honest that’s mostly a façade. We secretly admire each other for having the guts to do what’s needed to make a bad situation better within on our realms. Remember not everyone is happy to see us show up!
Truth is there are more commonalties between the two as one might think. Both are not only dedicated to protecting life and your property, but on many occasions they do it together and I’ve been on many scenes where a police officer or sheriff deputy has helped out our crews. They’re always with us on fires, motor vehicle accidents, domestic disturbances and some of the more serious EMS calls that take more personnel than we have available.
When we’re not on duty, some of us switch hats. That’s right. Some firefighters are also cops and some cops are also firefighters. I personally know of no less than 10 of my friends that don a law enforcement officer uniform when they’re not on duty as firefighters and I know that there are many more outside of my social circle. Conversely, there are many career law enforcement officers who also serve their communities as part time or volunteer firefighters.
We not only work together, but we socialize with each other. I know of three married couples who are a mix of the two professions (I’ll bet the firefighter is the cook of the family though) and in my large family, I have several cousins that are firefighters and two that are cops (we’ve grown tired of telling those jokes to each other).
But the true testament of our camaraderie comes when one of our own is in need or has paid the ultimate sacrifice and I know this all too well. Over the past 10 years, our small community has seen the tragic loss of three of our public safety brethren. One was a law enforcement officer brutally murdered on a traffic stop and the others were two firefighters that passed away either from a long standing ailment or an equally as tragic off duty recreational accident.
On each occasion, our two departments supported and helped to guide each other through the grief of losing a member of our teams. We continue to honor their memory, whether it is a fundraiser for a scholarship fund, displaying their badge/department sticker on our vehicles or just bringing them up in conversation; sharing a laugh of the shenanigans we all experienced or remembering how great they performed the job.
I have had the honor of helping out the widow of our fallen police officer each year with her Angel Tree which is displayed at our local library. Each season we compile the names of the law enforcement officers and firefighters who have died in the line of duty during the previous year on national basis. An ornament is made by a child with the name of the fallen hero and displayed on the tree. After the holidays are over, the ornament is then sent to the family in the hopes of showing that their loved one was not forgotten. It’s tedious and depressing to compile those lists as you get a brief snapshot of the hundreds of men and women who died doing something that they loved, but judging from some of the letters I’ve seen thanking her, the effort is well worth it.
There are two distinct colors of lines because there are two distinctly different professions. But sometimes those lines not only cross, they blur in camaraderie
Stay Safe…Stay Cool.