My name is Chad Wiebers and I have been an officer with the Omaha Police Department for 3 years. Prior to becoming a police officer I was in the United States Army for 12 years as a military police officer and had two deployments to Iraq.
At a young age I looked up to police officers and looked at them as people I knew I could run to if I was ever in trouble or scared and I wanted to be that kind of a person when I grew up. But I was actually able to experience truly helping someone when I was on one of my deployments, which completely sealed the deal on knowing what I wanted to do when I grew up.
The mission I had overseas was to be a police officer for the Iraqi citizens. Part of that was to meet the locals, talk with them, and show them that we were there to help. The area I was deployed to was very poor and most homes were tents or mud-walled buildings. Over time, my squad and I were able to meet a lot of Iraqi citizens and gain wonderful friendships with many of their families. It was very common for us to sit in their homes and drink chai tea with them (we would call it “no sleep” due to the amount of sugar they would put in it).
As time came for my unit to return home from our deployment we began going around to say goodbye to all the locals. As we were saying our goodbyes the tears and hugs coming from the families were as hard to walk away from as the tears and hugs from my family back home. Fathers, mothers and children would hold onto my leg as I was walking back to my vehicle and I would have to pry their arms away and have their other family members hold them back as we drove away. One little girl, who was about three years old and reminded me of my daughter back home, held onto my neck and me to her for about 10 minutes and we both shared the tears of goodbye.
As we were leaving one home, I wiped the straggling tears from my face and asked our interpreter, “Why are they all so sad we are leaving, I thought they wanted us gone?” My interpreter then answered “These people have never felt truly safe in their entire lives until you showed up. They knew that when you were with them no bad guys (terrorists) would even look at them because they had you, their friends, standing next to them. They knew they could trust you and you would protect them. You are their heroes.”
Although I will never see any of those Iraqi families again, I surely will never forget them. I could feel how much they wanted us there and needed us their to defend them and to scare away the bad people. I knew that I wanted to do the same thing in my country as I did there. I want to protect people from the bad people. I want to help people become better. I want to help make the place I call home, like everyone else, a safe place for our children to grow and live. That is why I became a police officer.
I want to protect people from the bad people. I want to help people become better. I want to help make the place I call home, like everyone else, a safe place for our children to grow and live. That is why I became a police officer.
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