I've had the blessing of traveling around the country to speak at various events or make presentations at the request of a given organization. Several times I've performed a very informal experiment by asking a few questions: How many people in the audience that are law enforcement served in the military prior to entering their career in LE? Usually it's about half. In addition I ask, how many people in the audience that are law enforcement currently ALSO serve in the National Guard or reserve forces? Added together with the previous question I end up with about two-thirds of the audience. It is no secret that whatever motivates us to become law enforcement professionals - that desire to protect and serve; to put ourselves between the innocent and the criminals - is the same motivation that drives us, or others like us, into a military uniform.
Some call law enforcement agencies "para-military" organizations. That's only because military organizations have been around longer. I don't think it would be inaccurate to call military organizations "para-police" organizations. It's all about structure and function. No matter what you call them, there's little question that sacrifice and honor are required for both. That's probably why we have so many service veterans in law enforcement uniforms today.
This blog, in case you're wondering, isn't an attempt to compare law enforcement to military service. Having done both, I know there are differences but I feel like the intrinsic motivation is the same: to protect something we hold of value; to defend those who cannot defend themselves; to serve on the front lines...
This Veterans Day, I ask you to honor and thank those who have served. We owe our country and a large portion of our way of life to their sacrifice(s) and their willingness to put the welfare of others before their own. We owe a great deal to their courage and their leadership. We owe them a lot... but we an only offer our thanks and our admiration. Please communicate that to the veterans in your life today.