Unique Brotherhood: Blood and K9 Blue

For the past three decades I have put up with one of the biggest assholes I’ve ever met. However, I’m positive he feels the same way about me. The two of us together have wrestled, fought, pissed each other off, and served in many of the same capacities. I don’t imagine there is a brotherhood in the world quite like ours. We can argue, flip each other the middle finger, and say the cruelest things, but move forward within a few minutes like nothing even happened. We are best friends. We are brothers, blood and blue.

I’ve had a reoccurring dream since I started in law enforcement 11 years ago, and it goes a little something like this: I’m working a graveyard shift in the middle of nowhere. There are no street lights, and I am in the right lane of a two-lane highway road. Firetrucks and ambulances with emergency lights activated surround the scene. I am sitting on the ground between my brother’s legs, bloody. He embraces me tight in his arms, and we are leaning against a police SUV. I look up at him and he begins to speak, but the words spoken are never really clear. My dream comes to a sudden halt, and I wake up with my heart racing. I’ve never known what this dream means, and I don’t claim to be some kind of fortune teller, but I do know that it always seems to remind me how thankful I am to serve with my brother and go to work.

I’ve told my brother about this dream once before, and I remember him responding with something real clever like “You’re stupid.” I want to believe that those are the words he speaks to me in my dream as we sit on the black asphalt together. If I ever were to die, I would be stubborn enough to wait until I could die in his arms. Not because I love him or because he is my big brother, but because I know he is a dickhead and I can’t think of a more satisfying final wish than to traumatize the guy for the rest of his life. Who would say something like that? I would, and that is why I’m confident that he feels I am a bigger asshole than him. Trust me, I am pretty mild compared to him. For reference, this guy stuffed Cheetos in my peanut butter and jelly sandwich when I was deathly ill as a kid. I constantly wonder how two idiots like us can even stand each other, let alone be best friends. I often wonder to myself what is it exactly that makes our relationship so different, yet so strong.

Although we both gained a desire to serve in law enforcement at a young age, Chris’s desire was always stronger. Our Dad was a state trooper growing up, and naturally we both wanted to be just like him. For two young boys, every time Dad came home from work was like seeing a super hero in real life. He had everything Batman had: his old 5.0 Mustang was like his Batmobile. His neatly pressed uniform complete with brass polished belt keepers and shiny leather shoes were like a real life super suit. He even had a tool belt like Batman, but we always thought Dad’s was better because it had handcuffs and a gun. Some of my fondest memories include sitting in the car with Chris and my Dad listening to the police radio until it was time for him to tuck us into bed. After a tickle and a kiss, our super hero was off to fight the worst criminals in the world. Most kids watched this on TV, but Chris and I had a front row seat to it in real life, every day. It’s easy to see why a couple of young kids would fall in love with the idea of being a super hero one day too.

Although I would never admit it to him, I am very thankful to have had Chris as an older brother growing up. Our chemistry formed as teammates on the gridiron playing youth football. It was that foundation of being teammates, not competitors, that would set the tone for what our relationship would become. Our defining moment as adolescents was winning a state championship together in football (our high schools first in 65 years) and it was from that moment on that I believed we could accomplish anything together. Although Chris has always been the big brother, I started my law enforcement career two years before he did. For that reason a lot of people think I am the older, but that could not be further from the truth. The truth is that I am just much, much smarter than he is. We are 18-months apart in age, and even though I am also very close to my other siblings, it is that slim age gap that is responsible for making us appear so close. We grew up together, supported each other, and hung out with the same people. There’s never been a time in my life I didn’t have Chris right there beside me.

Once I had started my career in law enforcement, Chris would come ride-along with me occasionally as my co-pilot. Having an older brother mentality, sitting bitch was tough for him. Not only was I a cop, but he had always been the designated driver growing up. For the first time the tables were turned, and for a time it felt really good to have a leg up on him. However, I began to feel like I was living Chris’s dream right in front of him. Like I mentioned earlier, law enforcement was always more of his passion than mine. While there is nothing that brings me greater satisfaction and purpose than serving my community, I sometimes still feel like law enforcement isn’t my dream. On the other hand, Chris is a natural protector and enforcer, and it shows in his natural ability on the job. Either way, I take solace in knowing that Chris and I realized the dreams of those young kids who sat in the back of their Dad’s police car, and being able to work as a teammate with Chris is one of the most important things in my life.

Once Chris secured a job as a state trooper, his natural chops for the job immediately surfaced. Without overdoing it, Chris’s ability to interdict is almost like watching Larry Bird shoot hoops, you can tell the guy just gets it. Once he started on the force, his work was turning a lot of heads and that kind of ability from a rookie didn’t sit kindly with everyone. That’s the beauty of Chris, though. It doesn’t matter to him. He just does his job and does it well. Chris’s success as an officer lies within his ability to take down the big criminals. I mean real criminals, not just your small warrant arrest, DUI arrests, or stuff like that. The man has an eye for bonafide drug mules. Finding drug mules is no easy tasks, but he makes it look simple. In a year, he had 55 DUI arrests, 30 significant pipeline seizures (arresting drug mules pushing dope), $150,000 in warrants and even arrested one of the top 10 most wanted by the United States Marshall’s Office. Chris was even honored at center court by our local NBA team for his outstanding efforts. Soon after, he was presented an award by Rocky Mountain High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Association; “Outstanding Interdiction Officer of the Year.” This lead to many drug cartel arrests. Later, he received our department’s highest Criminal Interdiction Award.

But that’s enough about that dip-shit and his successes. Trust me, he has never hesitated to let me know about them and rub it in. While I was working the local blocks, he always lobbied me to become a state trooper. Initially I was hesitant because I always felt like I was the “real” police and handled “real” crime. After hearing about all of his seizures, over and over, I couldn’t take it anymore. I felt like I was missing out. Again, we have always done everything together, and I wasn’t finding the shit that he was as a city cop. Eventually I decided to make the move and become a state trooper. (That’s right “city boys,” I advanced my career!)

There is a lot of curiosity amongst family, friends, and co-workers, as to whether or not Chris and I are at a competition with each other. I will tell you right now, NO! I have not and will never compete with my brother. Like I mentioned earlier, we’ve been teammates since we were kids. As much as we bicker and argue, we have never fought to outdo each other. We have a weird relationship, and jealousy towards each other does not exist. Chris is by far the best criminal interdiction Trooper I have ever met. If he says he is going to find a drug mule, he is going to go out and do just that. He is going to place them on the berm and ruin their day with his K9 partner PSD Titan. When I came over as a state trooper, it was expected of me as a new trooper to go out and find DUI’s, seatbelts, and speeders. That was not what I had in mind. I was determined to learn criminal interdiction. I went on rides with my brother and other interdiction team members. I went and did what they taught and took note of the things they were doing to be successful. After just 18 months of being a trooper, I had over 30 significant pipeline arrests. My efforts had to have been BIG because I got to play on the same team as my brother, the Criminal Interdiction and K-9 Handler Unit. Right at my two-year mark, I was selected and asked to join the Criminal Interdiction Team and K-9 Team. Chris and I were finally back on the same team. The excitement of waking up each morning, gearing up like our Dad did for 30 years, and going to work has been one of the most challenging things we have done. Chris and I both work in different parts of the state (North and South ends), but we have a connection that keeps us both together. We are brothers, true blood and K9 blue.

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