For JusticeBy: Jeannette Winters
“Listen, Vose, for years you’ve been hounding me to give you a shot, and here it is,” Commander Diaz barked.
Hydria Vose had weighed her options, and there weren’t any. She was her brother’s only hope. “Commander, I know, but what else can I do? I know Steve isn’t AWOL. He’d never—”
“What has the Marine Corps given you to make you believe otherwise?” When she didn’t answer, Diaz continued, “Exactly. They are looking at the facts, and you are . . . driven by emotion. I get it, he’s your kid brother, but he’s no child. You can’t let his foolish actions ruin this promotion for you. Hell, Vose, if you pass this up, there might not be another chance. You’ve wanted this promotion for years. Now you’re not only passing it up but quitting the force? Why are you willing to walk away from it?”
“Steve is all I have, and I’m not going to stop until I find him.” Even if it means giving up my dream. It wasn’t an easy thing to do, but Hydria got up from her seat, removed her badge, and laid it on Commander Diaz’s desk, then did the same with her service revolver. “I appreciate you considering me for the team.”
Diaz got up and extended his hand. Hydria took it, knowing this was where they parted. A month ago she never would have thought this was where she’d be standing, what she’d be forced to do. Under any other circumstance she’d have submitted her resignation weeks in advance. Instead she was only able to give him seven days notice. Diaz had believed she’d retract it and stay with the force, take his promotion offer. And as much as it pained her to walk away from a career, she knew it was the right decision. “I hope you find what you’re looking for. You’re a damn good patrol officer. I’m sure you would’ve proven yourself as a valuable member of my SWAT Team.”
“Thank you.” And she meant that, because although he was gruff and opinionated, Commander Diaz’s belief in her abilities had actually given her the courage to do what she was doing now.
Hydria left his office and went to clean out her locker. She’d been part of the LA Police Department for eleven years. She’d been lucky and got in as soon as she graduated from the academy at age twenty-four. Hydria had mapped out her career and thought she would’ve advanced long ago. But she’d encountered a stumbling block. A man who believed she wasn’t ready. I wouldn’t be where I am today if you hadn’t stood in my way Turchetta. I hate that your lack of trust in me thwarted who I could have become.
It was easier for her to blame all her woes on Renzo. She’d been passed up for promotions even after Turchetta left the force four years ago. As she tossed in the last few items from her locker, she was angry at herself. Not only had someone she’d admired not trusted her, but that distrust had caused her to doubt herself. That wasn’t the case any longer. She had more arrests under her belt than most people in her department. That didn’t seem to mean anything. Hydria’s struggles hadn’t changed. She couldn’t keep a partner. It didn’t matter if they were rookies or seasoned officers; they all said the same thing about her. She wasn’t afraid to rush in, even in the face of danger. Do you really want someone who’ll shit themselves and duck for cover?
In her mind, her fearlessness should make her an asset, not a liability. Yet, at each interview for a promotion, it was brought up again and again. No one thought she was capable of acting as part of a team. She didn’t believe that was a fair statement, but she did what her superiors suggested and took additional training to get where she was today. Asked to be part of the toughest team in the department. But in her current state of mind, she was useless to the team and anyone else who would depend on her.
Hydria closed her locker door and swung her black canvas bag over her shoulder. She looked around the locker room; it was empty. She was rarely there except for shift change and discussing what the day had been like. Was this the end of her career as a police officer? She hoped not. There are other police departments. I can always start again. After I find Steve.