MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Veteran Miami-Dade Police Officer Lydia Marquez said it was an innocent question from her 4-year-old son that convinced her to make a Facebook video that has been seen and shared tens of thousands of times since she posted it on Thursday. She said her son asked her why she was going to work.
Her response, "Because Mommy cares. Mommy cares."
She used that video as a platform to describe why she's an officer, how race doesn't matter to officers and the dangers many officers feel exist today that didn't exist before.
"When I received my badge, I swore an oath," she said in the video. "I swore that I would protect and serve all people – not blacks, not whites. Not all that. The oath is colorblind."
Marquez's words are one more element of a struggle that is occurring nationally, where many communities appear at odds with police as some citizens believe police officers are unfairly treating minorities while officers are feeling threatened and targeted.
Marquez says the targeting of officers nationwide like the shooting death of Harris County Deputy Darren Goforth in Houston and the shooting death of Illinois police officer Lt. Joe Gliniewicz leave her and other officers fearing for their safety more than ever.
"When I kiss my children in the morning before I go to work and tell them I love them I don't know if I'll be coming back at the end of the day, I don't know especially nowadays," she said. "It's hard. It's really hard."
Friday afternoon CBS4 News met the woman behind the Facebook post.
"I spoke for those of us who couldn't and I'm proud of that," she said. "Thank you so much for everyone's support. It's been phenomenal."
Marquez said it took her days and lots of courage to say what she did but she realized that even if other officers couldn't speak their minds, she had to.
Her comments came just hours before someone smashed a window in a Miami-Dade Police car outside the officer's home in Miami Springs.
Earlier this year, someone torched two South Florida police cars in front of their homes and someone shot up two other police cars.
"The fact that we're targeted – because we are being targeted – you don't go 'eeny, meeny, miny, moe' and pick the police car to break into it," she said. "The stress we already deal with is large and with everything that's happening it has grown so luck that I'm amazed how most of us officers are coming to work."
She believes there is a segment of the population that sees police officers as the enemy but she said that won't change what she does.
"I can't quit on everybody and that alone gives me more strength," she said.
Ultimately, she hopes the community realizes it's not police working against citizens but instead working with them.
"We're here to help you," she said. "We're here to protect you. We're here for you. And people forgot that. And I want to remind them."
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