I have heard this song before. The lyrics have the old familiar beat that I am quitting. I am laying down on the job. I’m not doing nothing no more. No more arrests. Officers, please stop! Granted I know and understand that you control your productivity. Granted a good case of blue flu will cut down the revenue streams of any jurisdiction. Traffic citation production will suffer, crimes will increase due to lack of interactive patrol. Apathy can kill your crime stats. However, let’s face it, we are all duty bound to save lives and protect others. All of the de-policing conversations I have had seem to be a reply from golden oldies. Each of the old replays was gotten over and things returned back to a norm in time.
Now if you are saying that you have had it, turn in your shield now. If you are going to lay down on the job, your apathy will get others hurt, if not you. There are some who are considering changing careers, good for you on your decision. There could be a few who took the job because the police were hiring and you never really liked it to begin with. However if you are not happy, then you will hate the job and all about it. If you are hesitant, check the want ads now. If you are in this vocation for the right reasons, let’s drive on and handle business like we are supposed to.
When I was an enlisted man in the US Army we had several sayings. ‘The unwanted being underpaid who will go unappreciated doing the unthinkable for the ungrateful’ was a personal favorite of mine. Mattered not, we still did the mission and took care of business. Now this may be applicable to police work today but stop and think for a moment. You are better trained, best equipped and best time in the world to be a copper. You were not promised a rose garden when you put up your hand. You were not drafted and you joined on your own volition.
I am not poking jest of coppers, but I too have done the following. You drive to work in your car with a national police fraternity sticker on your car and throw in a blue line marker for good measure. Yes, I don’t want to get stopped by the traffic coppers, so these stickers could be my free pass. Maybe I will not get a parking ticket either, so you put another sticker on the lower driver’s side front windshield so it can be seen before the windshield wiper is used to embrace a parking ticket. Now I get out of my urban assault vehicle with my basic police black protected by my favorite firearm t-shirt on. Of course, this basic black t-shirt covers up my inside the waist band (IWB) holster cradling my favorite every day carry (EDC) pistol. I do not want anyone to see my lump of firearms love, but the bulge is there. Now, did I say EDC? From my jeans pocket is the familiar carry clip of my tactical knife. When asked why you carry such a large knife, you like to eat apples is a great response. My baseball cap has the tactical crush and of course it is some firearms or tacticool company logo on it. The curved brim shields my way cool sunglasses. But now I don’t want to be observed as a cop, yet and still I am prepared to get into a fray. So, all of this is for my personal and family protection only? Wrong, we live for this stuff. Just the chance to be the sheep dog we all dreamed of, we are ready.
Then you go to your locker with photos of you and family and probably a motivational sticker or so. How about the ‘better to be tried by 12 than to be carried by 6’. You put on your uniform and saddle up for another shift. Admit it, you may let a city ordinance/misdemeanor walk, let a parking violation or a traffic violator pass by. But deep in your DNA when the call goes out and you know the call, all bravo sierra aside, you will respond. The help call from another officer, the call of citizen being brutalized or natural emergency and add a few of your personal hot button calls; you will respond. Face it, we all took an oath or affirmation to protect and defend.
Granted we are in a tough era to be a cop but we will survive this and come out the better for it. This time will pass but we must take the high road. Idle conversations that leak out to the public we will regret. Don’t forget that the majority of the public, the silent good folks who make this country great will always give law enforcement the pass, the benefit of the doubt and will support us. The loud squeaky wheels out there never liked us, could never admit to liking us and will never like us; they will be there always. Don’t cower down to a few. When I was first breaking into emergency services business I had a very rough night and was wondering was I cracked up for all of this. There was an old captain of that organization who gave me strong advice. He told me “that you now represent something, there is no chance to hide. You have nothing else to do but to roll-up your sleeves, take a deep breath and get in there’. Those words from 1974 ring true today. We will get through this like professionals that we are. So let’s take a deep breath and do this thing….go handle business.