We're not talking about you going into some great cave of death like the protagonists do in Lord of the Rings but we are talking about coming into intimate contact with man's inhumanity to man (or woman), death in all its forms, extreme violence and the worst that society has to offer over an entire career. Oh, you might not get in a shooting or a really bad resisting but like I mentioned earlier, an evil fire-breathing dragon (in man's clothes) might be on the next call. You can't stop the action to train or review, it's test time - you versus them, your skills, abilities and attributes against theirs.
Many times the hero must overcome the negative actions of the king or corrupt duke or bishop who, based on blind ambition in their pursuit of power or the crown or under the guise of having the real interest of the kingdom in mind, sabotage or attack the hero and end up doing more damage than good and make the task and journey harder. Indeed much of the lawman's stress in this journey comes from your own police organization or city and those with their own agendas within it.
The problem with the lawman's quest is that the fall-out of the tests develops over a lifetime. We begin to treat the family like suspects, we lose our humanity and we suppress our feelings toward sadness and suffering to the point we become incapable of feeling anything including joy.
Whether he was a good guy who was called upon to stand between good and evil and had to do some violent things to save others or a bad guy that was pulled back from the brink because of the quest, the hero in myth is forgiven for his sins or actions. Forgiving yourself and letting go of the past allows you to live in the present and make a contribution to your family and society for the remaining days you have. If you don't let go and forgive yourself and others, you can get stuck reliving the battles and skirmishes over and over again. The dragon you once slew ends up winning.
The idea or notion is that the quest makes you stronger or better for the experience but that takes a healthy coping system and mechanism.
Once the hero's quest is completed he returns to society. He can be battle weary and scarred but his character has been strengthened and as Shakespeare wrote,
From this day to the ending of the world
But we in it shall be remembered,
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers.
For he today that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition.
And gentlemen in England now abed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us...
There are a lot of similarities between the hero in myths and legends as Joseph Campbell's research and writings show and today's real deal heroes wearing our nation's uniform in the military or wearing police blue on the streets of America. Make your Lawman's quest a story to be proud of because you are in a noble profession and on a journey that few could travel.