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Poem: Maybe It’s...

A veteran officer shares the memories of calls that stay with cops for the rest of their lives


Calling all police poets! Police1’s poetry column highlights some of the inspirational, moving and funny poems authored by our readers.

This poem is by Steven Almendarez, who is currently a police sergeant with a county police agency where he has served for almost 15 years. He previously served for five years on a federal law enforcement agency and in the United States Marine Corps and the Maryland National Guard.

“I wrote this after an incident where my officers and I responded to an unresponsive 3-month old who did not make it,” said Sergeant Almendarez. “After almost 20 years in law enforcement, I’d seen a thing or two but this incident drove me to a mental breaking point. Having three children myself, I think it hit me even harder. I vacillated through depressions and realized all the victims I had encountered in my career were still with me in my mind.

“With the current perception of law enforcement and crime pandemics getting worse, it’s starting to make me question why I even bother to push forward and risk my family’s safety and my livelihood. Then I remember all those I have helped. Society sometimes thinks we are ‘robots’ and we just go ‘call to call’ and forget about the day once it’s done. What many don’t realize is that every single incident, interaction and experience stays with us for the rest of our lives whether we like it or not.”

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Shiny badge and pressed uniform
Is our armor
We walk with our heads held high
But no amount of protection can heal the scars inside.

Maybe it was the three-month-old
Who will never see month four
Or maybe the pretty young lady
Hanging from her bedroom door.

Maybe it was the addict
We saved for the “umpteenth” time
Or the innocent old lady
Who was killed for a dime.

Maybe it was the father
Who relentlessly beat his son
Or the toddler who accidentally
Shot himself with a gun.

Maybe it was the mother
Who stood there and lied
About abandoning her children
So she could get high.

Or maybe it was the lady
Who no longer wanted to fight
So she slit her wrist down to the bone
And died alone in the night.

Maybe it’s the officer
Who was killed doing what they loved
And now patrols the heavens
As an angel from above.

Or maybe it’s my worry
For the officers in my command
Ensuring that they never fall
And by their side, I stand.

Maybe it’s seeing my son
As I go to work suppressing a little cry
Not knowing if to his daddy
He has said his last goodbye.

Maybe it’s the thought
That “Taps” may blow for you or me
Because we know in this profession
It’s an inevitability.

Maybe in the line of duty
Maybe in my bed at night
Wherever time will take me
We cannot let fear win the fight.

But maybe, just maybe
It’s the thank yous and the smiles
They don’t come too often
But when they do they go for miles!

It’s the good maybes that keep us going
The lives saved and bad guys caught
That it wasn’t all for nothing
When we stood our ground and fought.