By NFOP Secretary Patrick Yoes
We are ordinary people who answer a higher calling of public service, and at times we are called upon to do extraordinary things. Our jobs are often rewarding, mostly mundane and sometimes terrifying. We are on the front lines of a war between order and chaos in communities all across America.
We finish our shifts, go home and hug our families. We try to shield our loved ones from the pain of a raging storm of emotions deep inside of us. We are haunted by sights that cannot be unseen. We struggle to understand the conflicts we witness and the carnage perpetrated by people most would like to think don’t exist. Even after our worst days, we pull ourselves out of bed, suit up, put on our badge, strap on a gun and do it all over again. We are America’s first responders, and it is not in our DNA to leave our communities unprotected.
Over 1,500 attendees at the 2017 National Fraternal Order of Police Conference in Nashville were treated to a special screening of a documentary that offers a humanizing look at line-of-duty police deaths across the country and how these losses affect those close to the fallen, as well as the communities they serve.
From the first moment, Fallen grips you and squeezes every emotion. Simultaneously inspirational and terrifyingly real, this film feels significant. It portrays a crucial history lesson on violence against law enforcement and a representation of the tightrope that cops walk every day, in every city and every town.
Upholding the law is not easy and has evolved to include the role of therapist, marriage counselor, addiction specialist and spiritual advisor. Police officers see the worst of humanity. They witness the cruelty and brutality that most run away from and see only through the often-biased lens of the media.
Who do officers turn to when they are overcome by stress? No amount of training prepares them for the fight of their life they may encounter on any given shift. Police officers are at tremendous and ever-increasing risk, targeted because of the uniform they choose to wear, and ambush attacks don’t always mean someone lying in wait. It’s about the element of surprise. The heightened atmosphere of anti-police protests adds fuel to this fire and strains already tense police departments. Yet, every day, officers show up for work and continue to protect and serve even those who hold them in such contempt.
This film is a powerful reminder that if we look closely, cops are just regular people who selflessly and thanklessly put their lives on the line every single day.
Fallen is available on demand from your local cable provider, iTunes, Amazon, Google Play and Vimeo. For more information about the film and theatrical screenings, visit www.fallenproject.com.
Read this story in the Fall 2017 issue of FOP Journal.