Another title could be, “So, ya want to be a cop?”
I loved my years in law enforcement. There is much to love and much to hate. I will share both. It is important for anyone getting into the field to know the good, bad and the ugly from someone who has been there. I may share more than most, because I am out of that line of work. I will be completely honest about my experiences. If someone was not cut out to be in law enforcement, I will be the first to encourage another direction. Law Enforcement is a high calling, a calling most people simply don’t have.
What I loved about being a cop
- Camaraderie – some of the best people in the world are cops
- Team Ethic/Partner Commitment – nothing like it in the world
- Feeling prepared for anything
- Days off – as opposed to self employed, with no days off
What I hated about being a cop
- Drunks – fun for a while, annoying after a few years
- Politics – usually the most frustrating part of the job
- Negligent Retention – not firing people not cut out for job
- New Policies which are out of touch with officer safety concerns
- Hiring based on subjective criteria
- Superiors undermining officer’s authority on the street/jail
- Micromanaging supervisors
- Promotion of supervisors unfit to lead
- Supervisors scared to confront issues
- Supervisors who do not maintain confidentiality
- Second guessing of the brass
- Schedule – didn’t understand until I was out, shift work, coupled with Law Enforcement stress, takes years off your life
- Exposure to blood borne pathogens – the only thing I was really scared of!
- Jaded outlook
- My attitude towards my family on first 2 days off – extremely grumpy!
Things spouse should know
- Emotional drain – Study survival stress, leaves one completely wiped out at the end of the day… many young law enforcement wives/husbands see this exhaustion as laziness.
- Sexual needs – Cops are usually Type A, driven people, and the opposite sex finds police officers very exciting/appealing. I strongly recommend doing all you can to have all the elements of a strong marriage in place. Being married to a cop will test even the strongest bond.
- Divorce rates – see above!
- Understand it is a macho world – You are married to a warrior, a badass! Don’t insult or impugn this quality! The warrior mentality is their edge.
What every cop should do, healthy habits
- Outlet outside of LE and other cops
- Discuss difficult things with pro – avoid PTSDs
- Have a hobby to focus on
- Take Martial Arts classes, I am partial to Krav Maga
- Train with weapons – You are a warrior, you must know your sword!
- Go to church, be around normal, good people
- Take your vacations
- Develop other skills, so you have option to retire early
- Never forget you are a warrior first, everything else after
I am asked all the time, “So do you ever miss it?” “Do you want to go back?” I miss the people and the training. Cops are some of the most selfless, courageous, giving, sincere and all around awesome people on the planet. Leaving my brothers and sisters was the most painful part of moving on to other pursuits. There is no feeling like knowing, no matter who or what happens in a shift, you will prevail, because of the highly trained officers you worked with. I used to go to work while sick, because I knew (I was probably wrong, but this is the mindset) no one else could protect my team, and throw down like I could, if needed. What if my team needed me? This was powerful and addicting. A good team is always supportive and would support a member regardless of what was going on in life. My mantra was, “It’s all about the team!” A good team is a powerful force, and one few people will ever experience.
I loved the training. EVOC (Emergency Vehicle Operation Course), defensive tactics, firearms, cell extraction, restraints, etc, etc… so much fun! I got out just as Tazers were being introduced to my department… I was so disappointed I could not go to that training!
Everything has changed in the last 10 years. With the most drastic changes in the last 2 years. When our current administration sided with the militant racists known as “Blacklivesmatter” it changed everything for cops in our country. Not only did it embolden criminals to murder cops, now we are seeing good cops all over the country being fired or harassed for regular police activity. This has resulted in many officers around the U.S. completely abandoning proactive policing. Many will do all they can, to limit contact with the public. I am sure many calls are cleared “SBC” (settled by contact) that used to result in arrests. It is just not worth an arrest, if it could lead to losing your job, your house, your freedom or your life!
Many departments are having a tough time recruiting new officers. Many currently employed cops are jumping out of Law Enforcement, creating a vacuum! I could not in good conscience recommend a career in law enforcement at this time. Perhaps if we get some new blood in the white house, my opinion will change.
I truly loved being a cop! It pains me greatly to no longer be able to encourage young people to pursue the calling!
If you choose to do it, proceed with courage! Purpose to pursue excellence in every minute. Always watch your six. Train hard! Sweat in training, or bleed on the street! Do it for the right reasons!
To my Brothers and Sisters in Blue… I support you, I love you, I trust you, I will always stop and assist if you need it. Thank you!
If you have questions or comments about this, please comment below. I would love to hear from you!
Be vigilant, watch your 6, overcome.