If you are a regular reader of my columns, you know that I am wound pretty tightly to Our Brotherhood and to the National Memorial/Museum in Washington D.C. and all that they imply. In the opinion of this humble writer, Police Week trumps all of the activities, ceremonies and functions held by and for cops anywhere at anytime.
I have been blessed because I have been able to attend each year for nearly a decade. It is always fresh. It is never the same. Each person there does make a difference.
This year, I have tried a new tactic that I want to share with you. I encourage readers to give a try, as well. Here it is: Just Invite 'Em. The response has surprised me, in a positive way.
I have done it in lots of places. There are the two cops I know from the gym. There are cops in classes that I've either taught or attended. Then there is that cop that always catches coffee at the local McDonald's. Not too long ago, I was the beneficiary of a motorist assist from a nearby agency. I invited him, too.
I worked up my courage and just invited them.
Most cop reactions have been something like, "I have wanted to go," or "I thought only the honor guard members could attend," with some expressing surprise, "You mean any cop can go?"
BEEN THERE, DONE THAT
I am thinking about those of us who have been to Police Week before. You already know that going to D.C. and really participating in the events of the week makes an indelible mark on an individual. The first Police Week experience changes a cop's outlook, their priorities and their emotional ties to The Brotherhood.
However, I judge there is a gap. We need to close it. There is an untold number of cops who want to go, mean to go and don't know how to go about it.
I believe that all of them simply need to BE PERSONALLY INVITED BY SOMEONE WHO HAS BEEN THERE. They want to know that someone will show them the ropes. Their fear of the unknown is real. If you have been to Police Week previously, you can take that fear away on a buddy's first trip.
A WAR STORY (MAYBE TWO)
Last December, I was on a flight from Florida to Michigan. Seated a few rows back was a group of people who were having way too much fun. They were laughing, joking and just having a good old time from the moment that they boarded.
About an hour into the flight, a young man was standing in the aisle next to my seat. He was a cop: haircut, stance, and overall appearance gave him away. He had recognized me from my picture with these articles. He invited me back to join the group of fun-seekers. By the time we were ready to land, the 7 of them had been invited to Police Week and heard about some of the experiences. I believe many of them will be there this year for their first time.
There is a father/son cop duo from a local department who workout at my gym. I have come to know them pretty well. Yesterday, I broached the issue and invited them to Police Week. The son said he has wanted to go for a few years. Dad said their department always sends the honor guard. I told them that everyone is welcome and needed. I told them I would show them around and answer any questions. I could even help them get a room for their stay, if they would like. We could fly together. I suspect they will be there.
There was the phone call I got a midnight last night from across the country to ask me if I would show someone the drill for Police Week. There are email messages, as well. My point is this: there will be new faces at Police Week this year simply because a veteran took the time to invite them.
If YOU are a veteran, reach out to someone right now. Ask them to go with you. Tell them you will show them the way. They do not need to fear the unknown - you will be with them all the way.
TELL THEM YOUR STORY