About Bradley's Blog:

A cop, a writer and a whole lot more.

Here you'll find my thoughts on writing, links to my published works, law enforcement musings and other tidbits. Please subscribe to my blog and I encourage you to share anything you find worthy. Thanks!

Disclaimer: these are my opinions and mine alone. I am not speaking as a representative of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department in any shape or form here. These are not necessarily the opinions of my employer.

Las Vegas

Las Vegas

Thursday, November 13, 2014

A Mother's Grief

On a cold Las Vegas winter's night in 1993, I laced up my boots, strapped on my gun belt and pulled on my bullet-proof vest. I was a rookie cop and hadn't seen all of the ugliness in the world yet.

The first call of my shift was a traffic accident with "unknown injuries" in a trailer park. The rescue truck beat me to the call and as I stepped from my squad car, I saw a paramedic crying like a child. It still turns my stomach today.


I ran up to a pickup truck and that's when I learned what happened. A woman had been standing at the driver's window of the pickup, talking to a man behind the wheel. The woman's two year old little girl was running circles around the truck as her mom spoke with her friend.

When the conversation was over and the man went to leave, the blonde-haired little girl was under the truck. One of the rear wheels drove right over her head.

Her now lifeless body lay still on the ground. The pickup had been moved out of the way. It was obvious that paramedics could do nothing. She was gone. It's one of many snapshots I've carried in my head for over two decades. Things that can't be unseen.

The Fire Captain took the inconsolable mother inside her trailer as paramedics started packing up their stuff. I covered the tiny body with an emergency blanket and requested the Fatal Detail investigators.

Later when I cleared from the call, I found a dark, quiet place to park my cruiser. I spent about ten minutes crying my eyes out and thinking about my own kids.

As a policeman, this was one of my first doses of the harsh realities that cops see all the time. It's part of the price all policemen pay in trying to help their communities be a better place. It changes us. It hardens our hearts. If they don't learn how to cope, it makes some cops socially dysfunctional.

About five years later, I was sent on a domestic dispute in the same area of town. It was pretty routine--a man and wife fighting about something. Fortunately, neither one had gotten physical with the other.

But it wasn't so routine for me. I knew I had dealt with this woman somewhere before. I just couldn't put my thumb on it. She was in her thirties and looked like she was probably addicted to meth. The teeth she did have were rotting out, her hair looked drab, her skin had a lot of sores and she couldn't have weighed more than a hundred pounds.

Then it hit me.

This was the mom from the trailer park who lost her precious little girl. She was only a shadow of herself from five years before. It brought me right back to that night and broke my heart all over again. The ripples of grief and loss were still crashing like a tsunami in her life. And the effect it had on me was equally no less than before.

I tell this story because I want you to hold your children close tonight. Treat them as the precious gifts that they are. Treat them as though you might not see them tomorrow.

Like the story? Comments are appreciated. Please share it with your friends.

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