- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A strong bond connects police officers - a bond that feels like family. In some cases, members of the same family work together, resulting in an interesting mix of relatives within departments across the region.

Today, in this three-part series, we explore spousal connections. In the weeks to come, we feature parents and children and brothers.

Spouses

Lt. Adrienne Quigley of the Arlington County Police Department met her husband, Sgt. Michael Quigley, while accompanying him on a ride-along. At the time, she worked as an intern in the department.

Married for eight years with two children, ages 2 and 5, they also juggle their schedules to accommodate child care. When her husband worked the day shift, Lt. Quigley worked the evening shift.

“One of the biggest challenges, depending upon the assignment, is there is a lot of solo parenting,” said Sgt. Quigley, 41. “Any time you work in the same place, your lives are so intertwined with children, ” said Lt. Quigley, 35.

They share a genuine concern for what the other is doing on the job. When they hear a call go out on the radio in which their spouse may respond, there is a potential for concern.

Adrienne is extremely competent, but it doesn’t eliminate the worry,” Sgt. Quigley said.

“I always worry that I’ll get a mass page, which would be the way I’d find out Michael was hurt or killed,” Lt. Quigley said.

As a family rule, they don’t talk about work unless it is during the workday. Both of them alleviate stress through physical fitness.

Their friendships extend inside and outside the police department.

“We’ve started to branch out and have close friends not in the police department or law enforcement at all,” Lt. Quigley said.

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Sgt. Mike Russo and his wife, Officer Kathryn Russo, work as a team in the Montgomery County Police Department. The couple have a 4-year-old son. To help address child care issues, Officer Russo, 39, has a job-sharing position in which she works two days per week and can adjust her hours.

Through their shared experiences, the Russos understand the demands, responsibilities, stressors and time requirements of the job.

“You both see stuff, don’t misjudge things, understand the long hours, overtime, [and] court,” Officer Russo said.

“You definitely use the other person as a release,” Sgt. Russo said.

“We’re both aware of the dangers of the job,” said Sgt. Russo, 43, who also has spent time in Iraq.

His service in Iraq changed his view of police work. “It didn’t seem as dangerous to me anymore. You know you have handled the worst that life has thrown at you,” Sgt. Russo said.

The couple do not restrict off-duty socializing to fellow officers.

“We are not slanted one way or another. We have a healthy mix of non-police friends,” Sgt. Russo said.

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Montgomery County Police Officer Kristina Hedgepeth, 33, and her husband, Officer Jeff Hedgepeth, 37, met in college and shared an interest in law enforcement.

“We understand what the other one does,” Officer Kristina Hedgepeth said.

She works a day shift, while he works an evening shift. They have a 16-month-old child and have to work the same days with opposite schedules because of child care. Sometimes, they don’t see each other for four days at a time.

The Hedgepeths’ families support their profession, she said. “The longer that we’ve both done this, they worry less,” Officer Kristina Hedgepeth said.

She has been a member of the department five years but has worked in law enforcement for 12 years. Officer Jeff Hedgepeth has been employed with the department for eight years. He also has worked for the Metropolitan Police Department in the District and the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office.

They couple said they tend to socialize more with police officers, although they have friends outside the field.

• Karen L. Bune serves as a consultant for the U.S. Justice Department. She is an adjunct professor at George Mason University and Marymount University in Virginia.

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