Physical also includes being instinctively familiar with your weapons and weapon systems. It means through training, being able to get to and manipulate every tool on your duty belt without thinking or looking at any of it. Being physically prepared also means being effective with that service weapon, shoulder weapon, and less-lethal weapon when the need presents itself.
Mental preparation means being focused on duty. It means not bringing any baggage with you from home or anywhere else. That argument that you had with your spouse or child last night needs to be shelved while you focus on the task at hand. Mental preparation includes having a "can-do" mentality that translates into a mind-set that gives you the confidence that you can handle anything at anytime. Not over confidence, but rather the piece of mind that comes with knowing that you have covered all the bases.
One other aspect of mental preparation involves that gray matter that we sometimes neglect. It is incumbent on each of us to stay current with the means and methods that will allow us to perform our jobs as efficiently and expertly as possible. That means constantly talking with our colleagues and doing our own research about new products, training techniques, and tactics that have been performed successfully by other police officers. It also means not waiting for the training officer to deliver all of our training. Sometimes we need to be proactive and actually train ourselves when it is obvious that our department cannot provide us with all the tools that will likely keep us alive. Finally, it involves going over in our mind the "what ifs" that may possibly cross our path this day or any day, and the plan that we have to win those situations.
The last level of preparation is the spiritual component. It is no coincidence that most departments have police chaplains. These dedicated men and women minister to our every need, but most importantly, they are there in times of line of duty deaths and serious injuries. Spirituality has always played a role in law enforcement. Each year recall that there is a national ceremony in Washington, D.C., that commemorates our fallen comrades which includes a mass said in their honor. Ensure that your spiritual house is in order so that when you walk out of roll call you leave nothing to chance. When body, mind, and spirit are in tune, you are a righteous warrior, not unlike Michael the Archangel, patron saint of police officers.
Will you be ready? I pray that you are because, just like the thief that comes in the night, you never know when your test will come.