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Matt Lyons, Oceanside Police

A New Chapter

An Open Letter To My Brothers And Sisters In Blue

By Matt Lyons

I’m being reassigned to the detective division next week. Another chapter in my career, a new year. Welcome 2015! Being assigned to uniformed patrol, especially here in the city I work in, has been fun and challenging as hell. But is hasn’t been a rose garden either. During this transition in my career I got to thinking about what it has meant to me to be a police officer, wear that shield and a blue uniform in service to my community.

Matt Lyons, Oceanside Police Department (courtesy photo)

Matt Lyons, Oceanside Police Department (courtesy photo)

There are no words that fully explain the roller-coaster ride you get from pushing a black and white in a “Southern California” city when you’re taking care of the public’s business and safety.

The best I could come up with was; It’s pride, heartaches, excitement, thrills, scary, loss, mean, vicious, triumphs, service, fulfilling, and camaraderie all wrapped in one.

Especially on a hot summer weekend night shift! You’re in a tough neighborhood, the calls for service are stacking up, a pursuit is being called, a foot chase, setting up a perimeter, the airship is up over your head doing call outs and has the spot light brightly shining down on you and your partners watching your six. It’s the moment you locate a missing child and the face of the distraught mother whom you reunite with her child. It’s returning a stolen purse to women who whose cashed check is inside and she can now pay her rent.

Best of all you get to do this with some of the best men and women in the business and they become your brothers and sisters when those relationship bonds are forged in the fire of crisis management and risk. Priceless! You do this calmly and professionally and make a huge difference in the community.

But it’s time for this old dog to transition to a desk and a stack of cases. I will confidently hand the keys over to the younger “Centurions of Blue!” My city is in good hands. I will miss it terribly as do most who move on from patrol to other units. You don’t realize how much you will miss that and what a privilege it is to be a public servant in this capacity with the immense responsibility the public has entrusted you with. It humbles me to my core.

I am also optimistic in America and know that the majority of citizens we serve do support us. I know that there will always be those who will call us names and try to attack what we stand for. Our brothers and sisters in the past have dealt with similar issues over the years, from 1838 when Boston first established its own police department to the present modern day professionals that serve communities across these great United States. We are no different. We “Serve and Protect!” The mission is the same! The job is the same! We just have better technology.

I feel we represent more than the uniform. American law enforcement agencies all recruit from one race. “The human race!” We in this business know all too well, “That its people who drive those police cars around the cities and not robots.” People with feelings, dreams and desires to do well and help. Ready to go into harms way for another. Warriors even!

So I remind you all, even if you already know it. We represent peace, civility, service, law and order! What an honor and privilege! Be safe brothers and sisters and keep up the great work. Thanks for your service. America needs you more than ever!

Matt Lyons has been in law enforcement since 1980. He retired as a USMC C.I.D. Special Agent from the U.S. Marine Corps after 22 years of honorable service and is currently a sworn Police Detective in Southern California. His duties have included patrol, field training, crisis negotiation, criminal investigations, K-9 handler, and executive protection. He attended and graduated from Park University and has been teaching for Central Texas College (Continental Campus) since 1998 as a member of the Criminal Justice Faculty.