- If you park your patrol car in the exact center of the Gobi desert, within 5 minutes someone will pull up and ask for direction.
- The oldest squad car won't be retired. It will be assigned to you.
- Your portable radio will never fail until you are involved in a foot pursuit.
- You will never get a bomb threat call until the squad is away on training.
- Eat right, Exercise, Die anyway.
- Your squad car will only break down when you are outside your beat.
- You will be flagged down by a citizen when you are on your way to the PD with a bad case of diarrhea
- Anyone that flirts with you on-duty won't even recognize you off-duty.
- If your patrol car's air is out the suspect will smell worse than a wet dog.
- You always have a big use of force on your Friday before your vacation.
- If your raid is going well, you're at the wrong house
- K-9 units only do stupid things in public
- The day you let your girlfriend ride out with you, your wife comes by the station to visit.
- Court will be canceled only after you have changed all your plans to be there.
- You will only lock yourself out of your cruiser when a Supervisor is on scene, about to arrive on scene or is the only person available to fetch the spare set of keys from the station.
- You will only get a citizen compliment when your video camera or tape recorder is broken.
- Anyone who doesn't notice an unmarked car is probably not doing anything illegal anyway.
- Equipment always fails at the most inopportune time; usually right after you've checked to make sure it's working.
- When you get old, with lots of experience, and need the peace and quiet, they will pair you up with a rookie!
- The first bad-guy your trainee decides to tick off will have at least three black belts in three different martial arts.
There are a whole lot more of these laws, but you get the point. If you expect the worst, you'll never be disappointed.
Cops and Cynicism
There are some careers where a healthy degree of cynicism and sarcasm are accepted and even required. Law enforcement is one of them. Cynicism is an ever evolving characteristic of even the most idealistic police recruits. It impacts all law enforcement officers. Let’s face it; walking around with proverbial rose colored glasses can literally get you killed. And the reality is having a partner who is constantly “a little ray of sunshine” can cause homicidal tendencies. But there is a flip side: while a little cynicism can keep you on your toes and amuse your partners, too much can be toxic, especially if it overflows into your personal life.
Officers are seldom called to a happy life experience. There is no phone number for “What are you celebrating today”. Nope, you are called to respond to tragic and terribly depressing situations: fatal accidents, senseless suicides, helpless victims of abuse, etc. It is easy to become cynical when you only see people at their worst. Simply put, it is hard to believe in good when you are surrounded by the bad. Now add all the Monday morning quarterbacking by peers, and criticism and pressure from superiors to perform, public hatred, and media hounding. It is no wonder that the cynical cop syndrome is so prevalent and so contagious.
However, the consequences of cynicism can be harsh. Cynicism can essentially become an officer’s coping skill, as he/she come to expect the worst.
Taken to extreme a cynic trusts no one. Suspicion and lack of trust can start to leak in all of the officer’s relationships. To make matters worse, the most cynical cops tend to only interface with other cops who understand their cynicism. The wheels go round and round. Research has found that a high level of cynicism is associated with:
- Increased risk for cardiovascular illness.
- Increased risk for overall and cancer-related mortality.
- Increased risk for mental illness: depression and anxiety
- Increased risk for alcohol and substance abuse
- Feelings of being emotionally callused and detached
- Lower productivity in the work place
- Lower levels of life satisfaction
- Poorer interpersonal relationships (friends and family)
- Emotional exhaustion