JENNINGS, MO (KTVI) – Night after night, police officers facing angry protestors have held their tempers despite a barrage of epithets as well as bottles, rocks and batteries thrown at them.
The police men and women have won praise from their commanders and their relatives who understand the stress they are under.
"We are so proud of how much restraint they display," said the spokeswoman for the St. Louis Police Wives Association. Social media that carries unedited video of protests is hard for relatives to watch. Some protestors threaten to attack spouses and children of officers. Black officers are sometimes derided for choosing to work as police officers.
The mother of a police officer who is also the widow of a retired officer gathers friends and family around her and turns to her faith to deal with the hostility that is being directed at officers and their relatives.
"I wouldn't want to be on the front line; I don't know if I could do that," she said Wednesday during an interview. Officers, she noted, are looking right into the eyes of those who are creating hostile conditions. "It takes a lot of humility and restraint and I don't think that people see that," she said.
We are not identifying these relatives of police officers because of the threats directed to police families in general.
Both say family members must deal with stress too. Instant media, both mainstream and social media, has added to the pressure. "Now the media is huge and everything is right in your face. You can't escape from it," explained the woman whose late husband served more than 30 years as a police officer in the St. Louis area. "You really didn't know a lot of the stuff that was going on; you found out when he got home at the end of his shift."
She hopes prayer will help. "God listens all the time," she believes. "We need this community, this state, the nation to stand up and to pray that God's hand will control the situation in Ferguson and across our nation."