“I was born in a village which lies on the Border. I grew up seeing every day the Border fence and people on the other side. My grandfather told me stories about the Borders. He told me everything about my country, culture, values. He told me a long time ago we were one nation and lived together. He showed me maps and put me to sleep with tales about the Border. I did not understand it, but I knew he was right. I did not fully understand why I had not to went to the other side, but I respected his instruction. Few years later my grandfather became ill and shortly before he died he said “The border is not to get you away from others, but to put you closer to your own people. By keeping the border, you are keeping your family, community, country. Keep your borders and respect the foreign ones.” This was not only the time I realized what the Border is, but the moment I chose to keep it. That was the moment I decided to become a border policeman.
Today and each single day I go to work, knowing what “Neither step back, behind us is Bulgaria” exactly means.
“I am a mother and my daughter is very proud that I’m a police woman. She knows that I look out not only for her safety and security, but also for her friends in kindergarten. What she doesn’t known is that I am dreaming for the day when the system will be changed and it will not be so bureaucratic. She doesn’t know I am dreaming of the day when not only my family but all citizens will be proud of their police. I believe that day will come. ”
A few months ago I was out playing basketball with my children when the ball rolled into the street. I went to it, but suddenly the laugh of my children disappeared and they froze. They saw two patrol cars on the corner. The vehicles turned and were moving slowly towards our house. Then my 7 year old son turned to me and asked: “Mom, is everything with Dad, ok?”. My heart also flinched at the sight of a patrol car, but it was not as painful as watching the tears in the eyes of my son. And then I realized that my children have their own concerns about the profession of my husband. While the cars were coming slowly, I felt how time stopped. Things changed when one of the officers smiled and waved his hand to the children. Children ran up to me and shook heavily waist. I hugged and kissed them while I was ensuring them their dad is ok and we could call him, just to hear his voice.
Then I thought that while we are recognizing those who are working in law enforcement structures as heroes and are proud of them, there is a small population of characters whose voice is often not heard. These little characters are children in the communities the police.
If you ask, any child of an employee in law enforcement structures, it will tell you that mom or dad is the biggest hero. They know that in this work, bad gays are trapped and their mom or dad make the world a better place.
You’ll see these children to play policemen with their water guns. They are the ones with the good and courageous mom and dad and are proud to have them as parents, but the little heroes are worrying about them.
I found that my children are worried not only about the safety of their parents, but for all who are working in the system. They see many of them as best friends’ parent or theirs’ mom or dad best friend.
Our children face many prejudices. Several times I have seen my son came home upset by another child who as soon as understood his father is a police officer, said that all police officers are bad. Too many times I’ve been out with them when I have seen parents who treat their children with the police officers.
Unfortunately, most children are terrified of the police, but there is no child of a police officer who can understand it, because they see them as a defender not as treat. They see him/her as someone who helps. They see her/his as their mother or father.
It’s good to know our children. They are the ones who make sacrifices in Christmas mornings in which their father or mother is missing due to work. They are the ones whose birthday parties, school plays and recitals have been missed from mom or dad, because they were at work.
Make sure you thank them for their sacrifice and you will found time to listen, because you can learn a lot from them.
Your children also have duty and it is daily. They struggle with prejudice, overcome worries about you, convince people that you’re the best, support friends whose parents are also police officers and the only thing they want is to be well and to back home after works safe and secure.
Each day is different. There are days I’d been shouted. Days when people fainted in my arms. Days when my stripes had been torn and people spat in my face. Days, I’ve heard and seen how the life vanished.
Days like these are not uncommon, but are quickly forgotten, because are followed by the other days. Days like today, when the people robbed grandfather Dancho have been revealed. Days which we cannot forget, because the tearful elderly man brought us, as his gratitude, a basket with apples and told us “Thank you, guys. Thank you, you’ve been here…”.
There are also the other days and they are the worst – days that you know you cannot help and you are powerless. Days when you wished you could prevent a crime or incident. Days that you want the institution you work in is not so unwieldy. Days when you are praying on behalf of the victims’ relatives to survive and justice to prevail. Days in which your are furious and angry. Days you are asking yourself whether it makes sense and do you have the strength to keep doing your job.
In those days, three things are keeping you to move forward: the love you have to the profession, the colleagues and people like grandfather Dancho.
With gratitude to my colleagues and grandfather Dancho
One official at the Ministry of Interior