I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not really a documentary person. When I watch TV and movies I prefer light, comedic pieces that don’t require much thinking and leave me feeling happy.
Fallen, you could say, is the opposite of that. But it’s opposite in the best way and I’m naming it a MUST WATCH.
I heard about The Fallen Project through the grapevine several months ago and added it to my Amazon list with the intent to rent it whenever my officer and I had time. Last night I saw that it was on Netflix and decided there would be no perfect time to watch it, so I hunkered down and watched it all of the way through.
And let me tell you, I cried. Like, a lot. Like so many tears running down my face and neck and with eyes that were swollen and red at the end. But friends, it is GOOD.
It takes a real look at the officers and families that have fallen in the line of duty from all across our country. One of the cities featured in the film is one close to me, so it really hit home recognizing places and streets and departments.
What really stood out to me as a LEOW and someone who works in the mental health field was the burdens that LEOs all carry. They bury it, one said, way down in their hearts. They take on more than human beings are supposed to, and they can’t just leave it in the department locker room at the end of the day.
Isn’t that the truth?
We see people on their worst days, they say. No one calls us up to invite us to dinner.
And how true is that?
What struck me the most, more than the heartbreaking stories and the bravery and sacrifice and pain, is how little our general public knows about blue life. When asked what police officers do, people on the street can’t really answer. When asked if cops are good guys, there’s hesitation. When asked if a police officer can be a hero, there’s split answers. When asked if they know how many LEOs are killed in the line of duty, they have no idea-or guess around 5 per year.
And because we’re blue family we know its way more than 5 or 10 per year. We know that more officers were killed here, on American soil, on our US streets, in the 13 years the war went on than soldiers were killed overseas. We know this because we have it in the back of our minds each time our officer walks out our front door, knowing that there’s a chance they may never walk back in it.
The general public seems to have the impression that law enforcement is exactly what we see on TV. That crimes are committed and solved in the exact order we see on CSI, in a neat and tidy manor, with perfect shots and DNA evidence. That there are clear “bad guys” and “good guys”. That there are never any gray areas, never any blurry lines-that the law and the decisions that come with it are always black and white.
What we don’t see on TV is the survivor’s guilt that comes with officers who make it through tragedies. What we don’t see are their families hurting and their partners suffering, their friends mourning and their cities on edge.
Fallen did an incredible job of showing the realness of life that comes for those behind the thin blue line. It is emotional and raw and something everyone should see.
I urge you as blue families to watch Fallen but I urge you even more to show it to your friends. To mention it to your coworkers. To let our communities see what blue life is like sometimes-what it’s really like, not just the Hollywood version.
“Our officers have hearts behind their badges. And I don’t think the communities know that.”
To see more about Fallen and to view the movie visit their website, www.fallenproject.com.