'I Am:' SPD officer shares moving poem on life in law enforcement

Published: Sep. 17, 2015 at 2:10 AM CDT|Updated: Oct. 1, 2015 at 2:10 AM CDT
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Shreveport police officer Thomas LaValley is one of the nine officers killed in the line of duty this year in Louisiana. A current Shreveport police officer chose a unique way to remember his former colleague and also remind others of the sacrifices law enforcement officers make every day. 

Corporal Brad Sotak once patrolled the very same area in the Queensborough neighborhood where Officer Thomas LaValley was murdered in the line of duty in August. He feels the words on his heart about law enforcement are timely.
"Preparing for death yet training to live, burying friends while people cheer, waking up screaming, hoping my family sleeps tonight, hoping this job doesn't take more than I have," said Corporal Brad Sotak.
His words may be symbolic but the eloquently placed phrases shed light on his everyday life behind the badge.
"I've never written a poem before maybe when I was real young, but I'm no poet," said Sotak.
The words used in his appropriately titled poem, "I am," are more than just thoughts, and although he isn't the artistic type he put his pin to the pad and began to write.
"Every time you go to work you never truly come back the way you left, you leave a part of you on the street every day," added Sotak.
"People started to encourage me to share this, they said people need to hear this," said Sotak.

 Its a reflection of his life and constant fears while working in the line of duty with Shreveport Police for the past 11 years.

"The words just kind of came to me, call it God's hands, it just kind of came to me," said Sotak.
A line of the poem reads,

"The one who sweats in the sun cries in my car, bleeds in the street and carries more than physical scars." 

The poem goes onto explain that while he is a policeman, he is more than that to some people, he's also a friend, a son, a brother, and a dad.
It's a tough job, but protecting his city is his constant source of pride.
Corporal Brad Sotak sent the poem to KSLA News 12 on Wednesday. In an email he said, "Last night a bunch of thoughts came to me so I jotted them down. I'm not a poet but this was the end result." 


Friend, son, brother, dad
The one who walks in the shadows surrounded by demons, monsters and fiends
The one who sweats in the sun, cries in my car, bleeds in the street and carries more than physical scars
Parent, social worker, savior, scapegoat, victim, trophy
The root of all evil yet the frond of shelter
The warrior that fights for those that cannot
Psychic yet clueless
Preparing for death yet training to live
Burying friends while people cheer
Waking up screaming
Hoping my family sleeps tonight
Hoping this job does not take more than I have
Hoping my angels can fly as fast as I have to drive

Protecting the sheep in spite of the wolves
A bastion of strength, resolve, integrity and sacrifice
Running into danger while others flee
Chasing Goliath, ghosts, bogeymen, dragons...and catching them
The military's 6:00
Living for a stranger's smile and wave
The sparkle in a senior citizen's appreciative eye
The schoolyard bragging of a young daughter
The partner to a spouse that's also in the fight
Honored to embrace the trust of my city
Willing to lay down my life for a stranger
Proud to be God's soldier


The officer encouraged his story be shared with anyone who may benefit from it. 

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