Archive for Police Posts

published in Caregiving, Change, Family, Fatherhood, Motherhood, Mothering Matters, Police, Relationships by Maryanne | May 21, 2016 | No Comment

This is the 5th blog in the 2016 Mothering Matters blog series:

Shifting Gears: Marriage & Motherhood from the Perspective of a Police Spouse

By Jody Laird


“At home I was dealing with all things baby, a weakening sense of independence and a hero who needed less noise.”

– Jody Laird

When asked to write a blog about being married to a shift worker with a young family, I spent hours peeling back the layers of what this means to me: as a mom, as the wife of a police officer, as an ex-shift worker, as an ex-police dispatcher, as…me.

I find it ironic at all the bombs (a.k.a. sensitivities) that this could set off – being that my police husband was a Bomb Tech for the Tactical Unit when I met him. So I put out to the blog universe a caveat: as unique as we are as individuals, our stories of shift work and police-spousing are perhaps even more so. This article is not advice, just a peek into one home…fair?

Let’s get started:

What I didn’t know when I started dating Glenn is how him becoming a father would change the kind of wife I had to be. Our whirlwind romance was awesome, sexy, fun, fast, loud, quiet and complimented each other’s single lives.

I know it is to my advantage that Glenn was already a police officer when we met (I hear it’s tough for spouses who live through that “change” in the state of the world that police officers go through) and I feel like I have a bit of an advantage in my husband’s mental-toughness at work because I became a dispatcher in the first year of our relationship.

What also saved us is that I didn’t stay in that shift work and position – I had my taste and I got out. I’ll explain why that was important in a moment.

I have come to learn that we don’t marry the Hero, we marry the Man. 

The hero has to be strong, the man needs to be vulnerable. The hero has to be “on,” the man needs time to shut off. The hero has to smile around job disappointments, position post promotion, the promotions process itself, and an outside deteriorating respect for putting his life on the line.

It was becoming a Dad for Glenn that put a magnifying glass on this dichotomy. It amazes me how as DINKs, the Hero/Man tug of war was mostly fought by Glenn on his own. Don’t get me wrong: I was a loving, supportive spouse – but Glenn could go off with the guys at a drop of an invite, spend extra hours at Choir Practice, sports trips were a saving grace and peace and quiet was abundant.

Because I was confident in who I was I didn’t mind the extra time to paint, hang with friends, chick flick marathons, and I loved the til-4am life conversations we would get into when we met back at home. We balanced well.

Enter Parenthood.

Glenn and I didn’t have easy births of our two gorgeous children…one highlighted my mortality on the delivery table – the other almost caused it.

At home I was dealing with all things baby, a weakening sense of independence and a hero who needed less noise. Shift work became the avenue of never ending work. In the earlier years, I was still working at the 911 centre and there was plenty of high-fiving-at-the-door as the other parent traded pressed uniforms for puke-booger covered shirts with I-haven’t-showered-in-3-days smell.

Before we knew it…no, let’s be honest, we knew it: outside the family became our escape. And the high fives turned into fingers of the single digit as the Parent watched the Hero go to work.

And then I found my Why. I wasn’t OK watching our family disintegrate and knew that the man I married was still there… I just needed to find him.

I was always fortunate that I never took the side effects of police work personally. I knew when  we were in the middle of a full on shouting match and he would answer his on-call phone with a smile and sweetness I rarely saw – it wasn’t about me. He wasn’t “on” at work to get back at me, he was “on” because that’s what Heroes do.

I did know that I wasn’t finding my husband again while on shift…it wasn’t happening when we shared the same 10-code world.  Hence my escape from shift work. I was lucky enough to be a speaker for the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund and then started my own business in order to carve the space that my Hero at Home needed.

Our story only has room for 1 shift worker. 

Is it all roses? No. There are missed assemblies, child care nightmares, loud shushes while he tries to get 5 consecutive hours of sleep in, traditional role arguments, cold sides of the bed, and more.

But I do see his smile more – not the “on” smile…but his. I see when the Hero turns on as he gets ready to step out the door to work – so that he has the strength to build leaders, protect the streets AND to make it back home safe and sound where he always knows it’s a great place to land.

Jody and family

L ro R: Aila, Glenn, Gerald & Jody

Jody Laird is a financial educator and public speaker. Jody  delivers workplace safety presentations for the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund and is a financial advisor for World Financial Group. To find out more, please visit her on LinkedIn. Jody lives in Airdrie, Alberta with her husband, Glenn, and their two children, Aila and Gerald.

mothering matters logo 2011

For further information about the Mothering Matters blog series, here is the link.

If you would like to receive the Mothering Matters blogs (every Monday from May 2nd through to July 4th, 2016) and/or read the other blogs, please click here.

 Workplace Safety Presentations Now Offered in British Columbia


MA presenting at Berwick

Maryanne delivering JPMF workplace safety presentation in Victoria, BC, May 2016

“As emergency services workers, we are tasked with protecting our community in environments that are never predictable, always volatile, and often beyond our control.  John’s death and Maryanne’s life bring to the forefront the issue of workplace safety after hours – when our community is asleep we are protecting their businesses, properties and investments, which are often themselves the very menace we face.”

– Staff Sergeant Darren Leggatt, Calgary Police Service, ILEETA Review

May 2016 – The John Petropoulos Memorial Fund (JPMF) is now delivering workplace safety presentations in British Columbia.

The Safety Presentation Program has been going strong in Alberta since 2012. Presenters have delivered hundreds of presentations, reaching thousands of Albertans with the workplace safety message: make your workplace safe for everyone, including emergency responders who may have to attend a premise during an emergency.

JPMF Board Chair, Maryanne Pope, is now delivering the safety presentations in BC. Once sufficient funding is in place, other speakers will be hired to deliver the presentations.

“Maryanne Pope delivered a provoking and powerful presentation which strongly resonated with the fire crews in attendance. Her story brought home, with gravity, the message of workplace safety. By putting the public in the boots of first responders, Maryanne’s experience puts a face on the men and women who serve on the front-lines daily.”

– Gary Charlton, Assistant Chief Training & Staff Development, Victoria Fire Rescue, BC


About the JPMF

The John Petropoulos Memorial Fund is a registered Canadian charity that was started after the on-duty death of Cst John Petropoulos of the Calgary Police Service in Sept 2000. John was investigating a break and enter complaint at a warehouse when he stepped through an unmarked false ceiling, fell nine feet into the lunchroom below and succumbed to brain injuries.

There was no safety railing in place to warn him – or anyone else – of the danger. The break and enter complaint turned out to be a false alarm; there was no intruder in the building.

John was 32.

John receiving badge from Chief Silverberg

Cst John Petropoulos receiving police badge from Chief Silverberg, 1997

The purpose of the JPMF is to raise public awareness about why and how to make their workplace and the roads safer for everyone, including emergency responders. The JPMF’s five 30-second TV ads have been aired well over a million times in Western Canada. The 10-minute Put Yourself in Our Boots safety video has been viewed on-line and during presentations thousands of times.

The JPMF Safety Presentations

The JPMF workplace safety presentations are a FREE service. There is no charge to companies, schools and other organizations to have a JPMF speaker come in and deliver the presentation.

The presentation takes approximately 1 hour and the feedback from audience members has been extremely positive.

The story of John’s easily preventable death is a powerful way to communicate just how quickly a fatality or serious injury can occur at any workplace. The presentation also offers people tangible tips on how they can help make their workplace – and the roads – safer for everyone.

“Hearing Maryanne’s heartfelt and touching account of John’s death really brought to light the hazards emergency responders face while working to protect all of us. We may think of the usual dangers associated with their jobs but are less likely to recognize the hazards in their way when they come to our worksites to help us. Maryanne’s presentation was a valuable addition to our North American Occupational Safety and Health (NAOSH) Week Conference and Trade Show.”

– Michelle Roth, NAOSH Week Committee Member and OHS Officer

To Book a Safety Presentation in BC

To find out more about the presentations in BC, please click here for details. For further information and/or to book a presentation, please contact the BC Safety Presentation Program Coordinator, Sarah Hourihan, at

Please note: due to logistics, at this time the JPMF presentations are being offered mainly on Southern Vancouver Island.

“Maryanne Pope brings a dynamic presentation on the importance of workplace safety as it pertains to protecting first responders. With a compelling, moving personal narrative, she is a great resource for continuing education in any organization. As a result of Maryanne’s session, our staff was able to see safety through the lens of those working in emergency services, thus becoming better informed and prepared to prevent avoidable tragedies in emergency situations.”

– Trevor Hammond, HR Manager, Berwick Retirement Communities, Victoria, BC

About Maryanne Pope

MA B&W big smile

Maryanne  was married to John. She is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. Maryanne is the CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and the Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. She lives on Vancouver Island, BC.

29 Day Workplace Safety Challenge Starts Sept 29



On September 29th, 2015 the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund will launch the 3rd annual 29 Day Safety Challenge – a public education social media campaign that encourages people to develop stronger safety habits.

For details on how you can help participate in the campaign, please visit the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund.

John & Maryanne on beach

Maryanne & John, White Rock Beach, British Columbia, 2000

Pink Gazelle Productions CEO, Maryanne Pope, was married to John Petropoulos and is the Board Chair of the JPMF, a charity that raises public awareness about workplace safety issues facing emergency responders.

Maryanne is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, a powerful creative non-fiction book that captures her experience of coming to terms with John’s on-duty death, including learning how to transform loss into positive change. More than 1700 copies have been sold.

John receiving badge from Chief Silverberg

Cst John Petropoulos receiving police badge from Calgary Police Chief Silverberg, 1997

Cst John Petropoulos died in the line of duty on Sept 29th, 2000. John was investigating a break and enter complaint when he stepped through an unmarked false ceiling and fell to his death. The JPMF was started shortly afterwards by members of John’s recruit class.