The other day it occurred to me that our police, detectives and criminal investigation personnel are essentially healers. Incongruous as this thought seemed to me at first, the more I reflected, the more it seems to be true.
When someone’s purse, car, or identity has been stolen, or ruined, crime solvers’ attempts to right those wrongs are identical to health care professionals’ efforts to help restore health from the illnesses or injuries that afflict bodies and minds.
A hurt was inflicted. Something needs to be done. The desire to right what’s wrong, to fix what’s broken, is deeply ingrained in our spirits.
And just as there are varying degrees of healing realized in a person’s illness or injury, so are there varying degrees of restitution in the case of a social ill or crime. In some cases, the net result is blessedly complete; in others, it may only ever be partially resolved.
When a life has been taken, there’s an implicit limit on the degree of ‘healing’ that survivors can know and none on the victim’s part. This is no different in the healthcare profession: loss of life is not a recoverable event for survivors or for the deceased.
The parallels between crime solving and health care are strikingly clear. So I sense that it would serve us all to start thinking of our police and investigators, our crime-solving team, as “society’s healers.”
One major difference, though, seems to be in the cumulative negative effects on crime solvers over time. Solving a crime does not always seem to bring the positive satisfaction that may sustain most health care practitioners when a patient recovers. And sadly, members of both healing forces sometimes succumb to the pressures of their environments and fall prey to toxic elements.
While crime solvers and health care professionals all operate in high-risk environments – one being ‘the streets’ and the other being hospitals and clinics with an assortment of noxious bacteria, viruses and germs – the rewards for success in health care, both financial and emotional, seem to far outweigh the return for the members of our police force.
I think that’s what motivated me to write this letter – to tell all you policemen and policewomen, every detective and crime lab employee, and every individual who has to deal with, and attempt to remedy, society’s ills on a daily basis:
You are a healer.
Your job is a blessing to our society.
You are a crucial member of humanity’s need to restore as much healing as possible to our collective ills.
We would all be lost without you.
Thank you all.
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