This morning I had my cup of coffee with a cop.
This morning as I was drinking my cup of coffee and checking work stuff, I get a text from my friend, and fellow local photog Ewa. She tells me that theres this coffee with a cop thing at one of our local places, Coffee Guys, starting in about an hour and if I want to meet her there. Which, this is one of the many reasons I love the flexibility owning my own business gives me, because I was able to get myself and my son ready and meet her there, obviously with my camera in tow. We get there, I get a bagel with cream cheese, a chocolate croissant for Archer, and a LARGE coffee for this mama. We sit down with Ewa, begin to chat, then it hits me: we should do an impromptu photo project.
Lately with the climate of the news and controversial stories coming out about cops, I feel that it's important AND necessary to remember that the bad cops are a small few, they definitely aren't all. But isn't that like people in general? There's some really crappy people, but I'd like to believe theres more good people than there is bad, and this includes cops. So today we wanted to change the narrative, to bridge the gap. We wanted to change the bad news, the negative stigma, the not so pleasant thoughts. We wanted to change that, even just for a day. Maybe that will be a ripple effect, who knows? I also wanted my son, even though he's only 14 months, to see police officers up close and personal. I wanted him to have that level of comfort and feeling of safety being around them. I feel like it's so important to expose our children to humanity at an early age and teach them about life and respect. I want my son to know his place in the world and respect everyone else's. This morning, he had a BLAST getting stickers from the cops and babbling away telling him all about his sockless feet because he refuses to keep socks on, even if its 50 degrees out.
But I think out of all of this what I wanted to bring back to the police force and the feelings towards them, is a sense of humanity. That they ARE people too. Real life, living and breathing human beings like you and me. They wake up, put on their work clothes, and go out into our community to perform their work duties. However, I can't remember the last time I put myself in the line of fire to take photos at a wedding... oh wait, I haven't. So yes, their job, like the military, first-responders, and the like, is quite a bit different. While I believe all human beings inherently deserve respect, I think theres also something to be said about really showing that respect to those who put their life on the line for our well being, each and every day. Their selflessness that they represent each and every day is admirable to say the least. I was honored to sit amongst a few of Morgan Hill's finest and enjoy a cup of coffee from coffee guys and get to know them.
But today I didn't want to know about their job or their duties. We wanted to get to know these officers for who they are. Who they are as human beings when they go home and take off that uniform and put on regular clothes like you and me. We wanted to know these officers as people, because that's who they are. So without further ado, I'd like to introduce you to some of those who protect and serve the community I live in:
Officer Sheena Woodland:
Does a lot of gardening and canning. Just made fig pomegranate preserves. Loves dogs, has three of her own.
Officer Mindy Zen:
Loves French Bulldogs
Officer Jeff Brandon:
Owns his own photography business and also does all the department's portraits. He's also a part of the forensic CSI team taking their photos.
(He also has a Canon Mark IV like me!)
Officer Bill Norman:
Loves watching his son play in high school football. Hopelessly addicted to golf.
Officer Shane Palsgrove:
Played soccer at San Jose State as left half back and left defense
Officer Chris Woodrow:
From Ireland, a tailor (not a seamstress), and has a degree in theater.
Officer Jason Broyer:
Used to race in motocross.
Officer Scott Silva:
Father of 3. Tries to be just a normal person in society when he's not working. Doesn't want to take work home with him so he can focus on his kids.
DA Community Prosecutor Johnny Gogo:
Born in Germany, but spent the majority of his years in Guam.
Officer Victor Benitez:
Loves sports, especially football and the Haybalor's high school team.
Chief David Swing:
An outstanding soccer goalie and die hard NASCAR fan.
These are people, these are service men and women of our community, these are human beings.
Next time you see an officer I encourage you to show them respect, maybe say thank you, or simply just say hello. Let's change the narrative. Let's bridge the gap. Let's show our children what respect looks like, and let's not only talk-the-talk, but also walk-the-walk.
Thank you MHPD for your selflessness and dedication in serving our community and your willingness and eagerness to meet with the residents of Morgan Hill over a cup of coffee.
To see my friend, and fellow local photographer's blog post and experience check it out here: