Every cop knows what the word “hinky” means. That car on a traffic stop that just feels different; that guy you’re talking to on the street that just smells wrong. It’s not some sort of police magic, although to outsiders and rookies it may seem pretty mystical. “Hinky” is the feeling you get when you trust your intuition. Unfortunately, as security expert Gavin de Becker points out in his classic book “The Gift of Fear,” we often ignore our own instincts even when they are trying to keep us out of trouble. Don’t allow the routine nature of our job derail you; listen to the “noise” that is telling you to watch your six; don’t rush in, call for back up; get this suspect under control right now. You’re probably a damn good cop, trust yourself.
What about the “noise” of your own arrogance, hubris, or just plain bully behavior that you’re trying desperately to either justify or simply ignore? As Dr. Kevin Gilmartin explains when he talks about “victim-based thinkers,” cops who’ve become cynical and feel they have no control in their lives often exaggerate their own self worth and their own accomplishments. These are the people who constantly talk themselves up while running other people down. They claim to be experts or trainers or mentors and yet they exaggerate their own resumes and refer to some of their less-gifted co-workers as “LCD” or “lowest common denominator.” When the “noise” becomes self-centered, cynical or just plain mean, take a big step back and look in the mirror.
Lastly, have you considered how you will respond to the “noise” if you are shot? Not the rounds going off or the shrapnel flying or the shouts and screams and sirens. I’m talking about that voice in your head. In Chuck Remsburg’s “The Tactical Edge,” law enforcement survival experts talk about conditioning yourself to never give up, and that starts with your own self-talk and mental conditioning. Don’t lay down and die, and don’t let your brain tell you that’s what’s happening. As Dave ‘JD Buck Savage’ Smith says “If you can say ‘Oh my God, I’ve been shot’ then you’re probably going live.” Listen to that voice, the “noise” that says “I will WIN!” Practice the positive, listen to your internal optimist, and don’t just focus on “survival” but count on winning!
Dr. Kevin Gilmartin: http://www.emotionalsurvival.com/
Gavin de Becker: http://gavindebecker.com/
The Tactical Edge: http://www.amazon.com/Tactical-Edge-Surviving-High-Risk-Patrol/dp/093587805X
Dave ‘JD Buck Savage’ Smith: http://www.officer.com/contact/10945735/dave-smith