Being the spouse of a police officer isn’t always something you know you’re signing up for.
“That was kind of his career path, sales, and that’s where I thought he was headed anyways, little did I know right?” said Margaret Ellis at her home in McKinney.
Margaret met Brad Ellis at a church barn dance.
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“And I was just like, ‘this one’s the best one I’ve seen around. He’s a keeper,’” she said with a smile.
Now, after 17 years of marriage she said her husband, who is now a Senior Corporal, is still, “not exactly a romantic, I think it’s like the day-to-day things that kind of woo women, right? Like, you know, doing the laundry, or picking up food, or taking care of a sick kid. It’s like real life stuff that’s like ‘swoon’” she said with a laugh.
Margaret was pregnant with their first child when Brad told her he wanted to become a Dallas Police Officer.
“I got the phone call. He told me over the phone that this is what he was thinking about,” Margaret said.
Just over two years later, Margaret got another life-changing call. This time, it was about Brad’s partner.
“I just remember getting a phone call, about three o’clock in the morning, and my husband just crying like I’ve never heard him cry before. And you’re just not used to hearing your husband cry like that and he just kept saying, ‘he’s dead, he’s dead,’” Margaret said.
Brad’s partner that night, Officer Brian Jackson, was killed.
The pain of that loss also spread to their relationship. “Our marriage actually had a really rough spot for several years after that because he was really closed up and didn’t want to talk about a lot of things,” Margaret said.
But they worked through it.
Then, on the night of July 7, 2016, when 12 officers were shot (five of them fatally) in Downtown Dallas, Brad was called into work and faced an emotional task.
“They first were going to assign him to go collect the body cameras off of the officers at the different hospitals that were shot,” Margaret said, adding that his assignment was later changed.
“But to think that someone else had to go do that is still heartbreaking, but that’s part of the process,” Margaret said.
Through the challenges, Margaret said Brad never talked about leaving the force, but it has changed how they leave each other each day.
“You really think about what your last words are with your spouse. I think maybe even more than most people, you never take that for granted when they walk out the door,” Margaret said. “You’ve probably heard other wives say that sound of the Velcro ripping off on their vest is like such a soothing sound for a wife because you know your husband’s home.”
She said even though becoming a member of the police family was unexpected, it is a true honor.
“Our husbands go through a lot, our spouses go through a lot and I just have great respect for them for what they do and I always will,” she said.
Margaret also credited her neighborhood for raising money to buy three officers protective vests and headgear to keep them better protected in the future.