vinnie montez

To those who don’t know me:

I’m Vinnie Montez, a third generation Mexican American, born in Boulder, Colorado. I have been serving my community in law enforcement, both as a volunteer and as a commissioned peace officer since I was 14.  I am proud to be a Commander in the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office. I love the community that I serve, and I would never want to serve anywhere else.

My mother and father never had a real education. They cleaned houses, businesses, and other facilities to help raise a son who knew what it was like to earn an honest dollar and work hard for what you get in life.  I was taught to care for others and give back to my community.  I was taught how important it is to be inclusive, creative and show love for everyone.  I believe all people are equal and there should be no discrimination based upon race, color, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender, etc.

I’ve spent the last 22 years as a peace officer.  I love where I work.  But I believe that you must speak out if you believe injustice exists.  For the first time in my life, I feel deeply hurt because I have concluded that many in America don’t think much of law enforcement.  It’s either that or they don’t understand what we do behind the scenes and in the dark hours of the night.  When citizens are at home and asleep or off on holidays, law enforcement is protecting them and responding to calls for service. We are doing our best to protect people from the evil that exists in this world.

I have waited for several days to write this, but I am still terribly disturbed by the hatred and criticism leveled indiscriminately upon the law enforcement profession in recent weeks. During my tenure at the Sheriff’s Office, I’ve rarely seen any messaging in the media or elsewhere recognizing the good that law enforcement is doing.

There is no acknowledgement about the personal struggles that officers go through; only the sensationalizing of the events they’re involved in. There is rarely an acknowledgement that a “total of 1,627 law enforcement officers died in the line of duty during the past 10 years, an average of one death every 54 hours or 163 per year. There were 135 law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty in 2019.”[1] There’s no acknowledgement that the average life expectancy of a police officer is far less than the U.S. general population or of the sad fact that more officers die by suicide than are killed in the line of duty. Suicide is now the leading cause of death for police officers.[2] Some my friends, including one that I personally trained, have taken their own lives as a result of work-related issues and stress.

I want to ask those who don’t know me:
Do you have any idea how hard it is for the men and women serving our communities to serve in this profession today?  Do have any idea what it’s like to show up on a scene where a mother has cut down their 16-year-old child who hanged himself in the garage?  Do you know what’s it like to say “I’m sorry for your loss” and not be able to get the sound of family members’ agonizing screams out of your mind?  Do you know what it’s like to give CPR to a 17-year-old kid, to be covered in blood, to do everything you can to save his life, but then have him die anyway?  Do you know what it is to live with the guilt, wondering if there was anything else you could have done? Do you know what it’s like to watch a young man lose their father in front of you, to almost witness a fight between that young man and the paramedics because nothing more could be done?  Do you know what it’s like to hold that young man and say you’re sorry for his loss, only to feel like it was just words with no impact?  Do you know what it’s like to listen to a suspect tell you how he sexually violated a young child?  Do you know what it’s like to show up on an accident scene with multiple fatalities and others who are critically injured?  Do you know what it’s like to step over a body like it’s a sack of potatoes because there is nothing you can do, while maintaining your composure and helping those that can still be saved?  Do you know what’s it like to have someone spit in your face?  Do you know what it’s like to have someone tell you they hope your family members die? Do you know what it’s like to be punched in the face repeatedly while you’re at work? Do you know what it’s like to damage or lose your relationships because you work holidays, overtime, different shifts, and miss family events? Do you know what it’s like to try and forget about what you’ve seen, smelled, tasted, felt, heard and touched?  Well, I do.  I’ve experienced every single one of these things and more.

I don’t want medals and I don’t want your sympathy.  What I do want is for our citizens and community leaders to recognize the men and women who I serve with and the things we’ve sacrificed to protect our communities… and maybe give us a little credit for undertaking an incredibly complex and challenging job.

Please don’t judge us for the misconduct of a few rogue officers. Believe me when I say that we don’t want them in our profession, either; they need to be held accountable as any criminal should be. But they are the exceptions. I ask you: get to know the men and the women who make up your local law enforcement agency before condemning us based on the actions of a few.

Vinnie Montez

“IN EVERY GOOD COP IS A GREAT PERSON”

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Deticated to the Men and Women in Blue

CREATING CONNECTIONS 2018