Confessions of a Corrections Officer’s Wife – What it is Like to be a CO’s Spouse
My husband and I have been married for over 15 years and together for almost 20. I knew that when we started dating, there was a possibility that he would be in some form of Law Enforcement because – well, it’s a legacy honestly. His Dad, brother, sister, uncles and Great Grandfather are well known in the industry of law enforcement, so I had expected that he would follow in their footsteps one day and that would be his calling. A few years ago he made the commitment to become a Corrections Officer, or a CO which is a common term used in the field. I knew what we were getting into as a family, but little did I know how it would affect us and our lifestyle moving forward.
It’s been almost 3 years since my husband was sworn in to be a Corrections Officer and since this is a Lifestyle site, I figured I would turn this particular post into a series, like my “Confessions of a Stay at Home Mom”. After a few years, I’ve decided that this would be a great way for me to vent, share my ramblings and my support for this man I love. So – stay tuned for more of these types of posts in the future. Now, let’s get into what it’s like to be a Corrections Officer’s Wife.
What it is like to be a CO’s Spouse… the shortened version!
Let’s start with the statistics, shall we? Corrections Officers have a 39 percent higher suicide rate than any other occupation, with a life expectancy of only 58 years. Many don’t realize that that is 20 years less than the average American. With mental illnesses like PTSD, anxiety and depression being a huge issue for CO’s in the industry and high divorce rates increasing consistently over the years. As a couple, my husband and I knew the statistics, but we also know how strong our relationship is, though – I’ll be honest, this job has had its challenges on our strength over the years.
As if those statistics were the only thing we had to look forward to, there is the actual job itself. Each day my husband walks through the gates of the facility he works in and each day I think about the dangers he faces behind the doors. As I watch him leave the house, I’m consistently reminded of what lurks in the buildings he works in and I have to entrust his co-workers, his comrades to have his back when I struggle to give up that right to anyone already. Disease, murderers, criminals – all of which he has to deal with on a daily basis, I have to entrust that he will have the right judgement calls to protect himself and believe that God will bring him home safely to me.
I understand that many in the field of law enforcement may have similar and high demands of what my husband has to deal with daily, but I also see that due to misconstrued issues, assumptions and past issues lend for Corrections Officers to have a bad reputation. The fact of the matter is, most Corrections Officers do the job of a Police Officer day in and day out with little to no protection or weapon outside of their own bodies, their fists – to protect themselves. They are the EMT (Emergency Medical Response / Paramedic) on scene, the Fireman to put out fires and the Police Officer with little to no recognition and much less resources than many of those uniformed enforcers have. They are unrecognized in their job and what they do – day in and day out and many people scoff at what they are because they are ill informed of their daily job or duties. My husband took an oath to serve a community and protect a population (inmates) and it can often be held against him or his fellow CO’s. Or, held against me, because I am married to a CO. The fact of the matter is – Police Officers spend a small portion of time with these criminals, inmates, those that are doing time… only to drop them off at the Correctional Facility where my husband spends his entire day with them until they are released, if they are released. Again, during this time only protecting himself with his own fists, no weapon to protect himself other than his eyes and his own body.
“He’s a Police Officer, EMT, Fireman all in one!”
I’ve often been asked why my husband doesn’t make appearances as often as he used to on my channel and blog and frankly, it has a lot to do with the safety of our family. It may seem like it is not a big deal or small sacrifices for great reward but the fact of the matter is – my husband is in a field most people know little about and those that think they know, are assuming or using strong allegation, rumor and no knowledge to judge appropriately. As a family, a job like this really pulls at the heart strings and waiting as my husband comes home each night safely is one of the hardest things I could have ever experienced as a wife.
We are a strong family that is close and we always have each others back, but something like this can definitely test your strength, your beliefs and your love. I’ve had sleepless nights, more so now after there have been issues in the modules where my husband has already been injured and I’m sure that this job will continue to weigh on my heart over the years. I’ve had to explain to our children why their dad could not come home in time to watch a performance, because there are times when there is a lock-down or he is required to work overtime. I’ve had to fight back tears when my husband comes home to tell me what he had to deal with at work. I am the protector of my household and children while my husband is away – bearing arms to protect us from dangers and staying strong when I know I just want to fall apart. But, as a proud wife of a Corrections Officer, I stand tall and thank God for his blessings and for protection over my husband as he continues in his career. It’s not an easy task, but hey, such is life – right?
If you are a CO’s wife, know that you are not alone. And while times can get tough and everything and anything will test your strength, there are women like us that are here for support. Like I mentioned before, I hope to have more of these in the future, so keep an eye out for that. Even if it’s just something to give you a little guidance or a few words to remind you that you’re not alone, I want to be able to share this with you.
Hold on, have Faith! You are not alone! – Honey