No matter where you look today, given that we’re still in the first week of a new year, you’ll find articles and information on the best resolution to do “this” or the one resolution to accomplish “that.” People everywhere (including me) are chock full of great advice on everything you should be dedicating yourself to doing so that you can make improvements in your life. Here’s where I’m different: Not one word of what follows is about making improvements in your life – it’s about SAVING it.
Every day brave people put on a uniform, pin on a badge (or star), wrap around the gunbelt, put the keepers in place and head out to work. Far too many of them (us) don’t take the time… a few minutes of each work day really… to do something that could potentially save their life or that of their partner. What is that one thing?
ROUTINE MAINTENANCE. Yes, I used that dreaded word “routine.” Note that it is used with the word “maintenance” and that is the only context, in law enforcement, when I would use the word “routine.” That said, for anyone – law enforcement or otherwise – who considers themselves a survivor, a warrior, a sheepdog… I urge you to consider this one New Year’s Resolution: to perform ROUTINE MAINTENANCE. That is, to perform maintenance as part of your regular routine. Here’s what I’m talking about…
If you’re a contemporary warrior, your body and mind are your first, greatest and least dispensable weapons. To keep them functioning properly and in concert, you need to have a clear mind free of distractions and a fit body that can answer the demands you place on it without warning and without warm up. Having them both requires you to get enough sleep, eat relatively healthy and exercise regularly. It requires you to work your brain by doing something beyond television and video games. It requires you to practice your physical skills on a regular basis. DAILY works. Maintain your body and mind in a conscious and intentional manner. Make that maintenance part of your daily ROUTINE.
The best mind in the best body in the world won’t do you much good if you find yourself in need of a functioning radio or a firearm and you’ve got neither. Those are probably the two most important tools you carry so pay attention to them; maintain them. Make doing so part of your daily ROUTINE. Before you go out on patrol, check the radio’s battery; make sure the emergency button/switch works; make sure your identifier pack is transmitting the right ID number. That radio is only your life line… treat it like you will die if it does – because you might.
I’m not saying you should clean your weapon daily, but cleaning it weekly or monthly wouldn’t hurt. Checking the load and insuring that your rounds are squared away is something you can do daily… and should. That handgun rides in a holster. When was the last time you inspected it? Does the snap work properly and reliably? Is the holster body worn? If there’s an internal hook or lock, does it engage properly and disengage smoothly when it should? Do your mag pouches pass the same inspection? That inspection of your weapon and holster / mag pouches is something that should be a part of your daily ROUTINE.
How about your handcuffs? When was the last time you inspected them? I’m not asking when the last time you used them was, and – truth be told – just because they worked the last time you needed them doesn’t mean they’ll work the next time you need them. Check them out. Are they clean? Acceptably oiled? In the case the right way? Does the case snap/close properly and open smoothly but only when it’s supposed to? Where’s your handcuff key? Do you have a spare? Where’s it? Do you have a hideaway? When was the last time you accessed it? All of these items with regard to your handcuffs should be part of your daily ROUTINE.
Do you carry OC Spray? When was the last time you float tested it to see how much was in it? When was the last time you inspected the carrier? Is your certification up to date?
Do you carry a friction lock collapsible baton? When was the last time you inspected it and your carrying pouch for it? Is your certification up to date?
Do you carry a TASER or similar device? When was the last time you tested and inspected it? Is your certification up to date?
Obviously, if you check these items regularly, some of them don’t need to be done daily (like checking certifications). That said, if you’re going out to work the street and you haven’t done, as part of your daily ROUTINE, weapon and equipment inspections, you need to recognize that you’re taking an awful lot on faith and if you’re wrong, it may cost you big.
So, if you’re going to make a single resolution for the new year, resolve to perform ROUTINE MAINTENANCE of your gear.
Happy New Year. Stay safe!