The young man came forward, his face drawn and sad,
And he held out his hand, displaying his badge.
The old chief rocked slowly and put his hands on his lap,
And shook his head gently and said, "What is this crap?"
The young cop sniffed, and from his eye wiped a tear,
"I've given you my best for almost one year.
But I make no difference, as we once thought I could,
There is far more evil out there than there is good."
The old chief stared up into the young rookie's eyes,
And tried to recall something clever and wise.
"Tell me," he said, to the once eager young cop,
"How many DUIs in a year have you popped?"
"Forty-two," the rookie replied with great pride,
"And had you not, how many more might have died?
It's not how many are arrested, now, is it?
It's how many less accident scenes you must visit."
The kid hung his head, and flexed his strong hands,
"But, sir," he said, softly, "You don't understand.
We're greatly outnumbered, the drugs are the worst,
The schools are like hell, and the streets, they are cursed.
Dealers breed like damn roaches. On the kids, they all prey,
And even when arrested, they are out the next day."
The old chief set his jaw, and tapped a red finger,
And on the young cop, his eyes sadly lingered.
"If one little kid cannot get connected,
If one pregnant junkie finds the strength to reject it.
If one lousy addict decides he can beat it,
If one crack-head in a million says I just don't need it,
Then you have removed his greatest temptation,
If only for a night, it might be his salvation.
And wars are not won by those who say, 'Screw it!'
They are won by the men who decide they can do it."
The rookie pulled up an old wooden chair,
And running a hand through his stock of brown hair.
"But what about the children and the poor battered wives?
Why can't we stop it and fix all those lives?"
"Each time you set foot in that same, run-down house,
Each time you go back to bust the same dirty louse.
For the children and the wife the violence has ceased,
If for only a few hours, you offer them peace.
You cannot dictate their sad chosen path,
You cannot stop his booze-laden wrath.
You can't pack their belongings and cart them away,
But you can prevent murder for just one more day."
"But sir," he said, his heart heavy like lead,
"I know there are dirtbags who I wish were dead.
But the public, the press, the politicians fling mud,
And who says 'thank you' when we shed some blood?"
The chief pursed his lips, his answer unknown,
For he know it was his pain that hurt to the bone.
"There are no easy answers for the ache that you feel,
But appreciation and praise just ain't part of the deal.
The respect, gratitude, and admiration, too,
Will not come from people who cannot do what we do.
You ask for a sense of honor and pride,
My advice, my son, is to look deep down inside."
The young cop stared down and the badge in his hand,
And he knew he would not resign as he had planned.
For he saw the badge now as not just something he does,
It was not just a symbol It's what he was.