Last weekend two San Diego PD officers were ambushed trying to do their job. I used to work with one of the officers, Dan Bihum, while at Eastern Division. Dan is a bright, kind and capable guy. He is a police journeyman. The kind of guy who suits up in blue- cinches down a Kevlar vest and straps on a gun with no complaints and little regret. He handles his calls, helps his colleagues and protects his community, often without them knowing he is there alone in the darkness. He prowls the night looking for things out of the norm, seeking to arrest or chase off criminals intent on evil. Dan is a police journeyman.
This officer chooses to be that guy who carries his lunch pail to work, grind out a living in a physically and emotionally draining environment. He is at work day in and day out, cold rain or blistering sun. Yup Christmas, Thanksgiving, his anniversary and birthday – he is there, on duty, suited up and ready to go. He is a journeyman cop. We need them. These police journeymen and women push a black and white for more than a decade – a heroic feat in itself. Their loyalty and consistency is something we should all marvel at and hold high as a model of honorable policing.
So, when you see the gray hair, bald dome or a little overweight cop, recognized he has tortured his body by working graveyards, carrying 30 pounds of gear and eating terrible food while functioning on little or no sleep for years. What you see is an officer who bombarded his/her mind with images no one should see let alone relive in their sleep. View him/her with profound admiration. The journeyman has survived the grind and constant drip of stress and horrendous working conditions most people would buckle under. They have earned our respect as police journeymen. They choose to police rather than promote, knowing full well the consequence of their decision.