I was sitting on campus Tuesday watching all the 18-20 year old girls traipsing around in their mini-skirts, short shorts, knee high boots and flip flops and couldn’t help but think about myself at that age.
I, standing alone outside the Social Science building smoking, watched as everyone passed by. And then I saw him … the poster child of law enforcement. You’ve seen him before. He has a Crew cut, stoic look on his face, somewhat muscular frame and usually wearing BDU pants during his casual time.
At that moment I couldn’t help but think that I was an imposter … an undercover agent in the Law Enforcement world who now knew all their secrets.
Perhaps I’m over simplifying the last 16 years of my life, but I never fit in from the beginning. I was 20, 85 pounds and female to top it all off when I started the academy. I had decided to apply for law enforcement after being told I couldn’t be a cop by a high school teacher (more than one actually.) I had a chip on my shoulder and wanted to prove to others that I could be anything I wanted to be when I grew up. I’ll show them!
Thus began my undercover gig. From working shift work and being line staff bitching about administration to infiltrating the ranks of Sergeant. Then my assignment took me to the SWAT team as a negotiator.
All of these things were done as if I were a reporter on special assignment. I took my role seriously. I immersed myself in their culture; listened to their stories, cried tears over the horrible things humans will do to one another … I was one of them.
But was I? There were more times throughout my undercover gig that I was perplexed at decisions made my administration, people who donned uniforms merely so they could punish inmates mentally (and sometimes physically), and the good ol’ boy attitude was in full effect throughout my assignment. I wasn’t this person! I wasn’t one to judge others, I wasn’t one to get off on being an asshole and I sure as hell wasn’t one of the “boys.”
It was in November of this year that I knew I had to get out. I knew that I would completely lose Marcy if I didn’t start detoxing from my undercover work. Sure I had only 7 years left to gain a retirement, but at what cost? That fear is what had kept me there … well and the fact that I truly felt like a cop now. I had given up so much about Marcy that I actually started believing I couldn’t do more with my life. It took a death of a friend for me to remember that this was only an assignment, one that should have lasted less time.
So after 15 years my gig was up. My undercover work was complete on April 28th, and to be quite frank, it feels like I’ve been paroled. Not paroled into a state institution, but one of higher learning. And each time I see a police car, someone in uniform or a person that has the appearance they could be a poster child for Law Enforcement, I’m reminded of my undercover work and how grateful I came out of it still being Marcy.