Standing at the back, I saw the passage of time. I saw the heads of some of the men and women that I worked with over the years. A few of them had even retired a few years after I was hired. Nearly 20 years ago. So hard to imagine it. I remember when I was a new cop, a rookie, in field training, that a group of them wore these cute dinosaur pins on their uniforms. Those pins were an unofficial badge of honor. An arrival to an elite group. The veterans. The older guard. The old boys.
I stood at the back at this memorial for a man, a former Chief, who had given me a chance. A chance that has become a 22 year career. It struck me hard when I heard he had died. He was only 66 years old.
I had arrived a bit late on the rainy Friday afternoon, but felt more at ease in the rear of the small chapel. I could see some of my past at the City of Berkeley Police Department so easily, but they couldn’t see me.
I bowed my head with respect and with reverence. I shed a few tears. Not only for Chief Butler, (rest his soul) but for those whose heads I saw now. Not all of them were supportive of women or me, but I found the endearing qualities in most of them in order to negotiate many challenging times. Despite our differences, in some ways, we were…and are…the same.