AUSTIN (KXAN) — For many in the police community, it’s a difficult time for the profession, but no one knows the difficulty more than the loved ones closest to officers.
“He straps on that vest, he straps on his belt and we kiss him, we tell him we love him, because these days you turn on social media, you turn on the news, it’s almost daily or weekly, that were hearing of police officers being shot or killed,” Rita James says. James knows first-hand what it’s like to get the news you’re loved one has been shot.
“The officer said he’s been shot we don’t know how bad and they’re star-flighting him to Memorial Hermann,” James remembers. November of 2000, her husband, Scott James was working a graveyard shift in Baytown, Texas. James was shot five times.
“As soon as we got to Memorial Hermann, there was officers from every agency that I could think of, his brothers in blue lined up in the hallway and I thought the worst,” she said.
James survived thanks to a ballistics vest, he and his family moved to Central Texas and he’s been with the Travis County Sheriff’s Office for 13 years. He is a sergeant with the department.
“Everyone sends their loved one out to protect others and you just don’t know you don’t know if that was the last time you were going to see them,” Rita says.
She says incidents like the recent San Antonio detective killing cut deeper each time. “You feel a tingle down your feet and my husband had to go to work that day and you don’t want them to go you literally don’t want them to go to work,” Rita says.
For now, Rita says she holds on to faith. “He still has a job to do and I know deep inside that he scared too not only for himself and for his comrades his sisters and his brothers and sisters in blue, he’s very afraid of what’s going to happen,” Rita says.
She keeps an end of watch folder in case one day her husband doesn’t come home. The Austin Police Spouses Association just helped launch the support group, the Travis County Spouses Association. They say they’re available to help anyone who needs it or would like to join.