Law Enforcement's Blizzard Warning

Feb. 27, 2017
Things they are a'changing. How we select and hire new recruits is being modified to suit the new generation? It's an ugly storm waiting to happen.

In my twenty plus years of writing, I have successfully avoided making political statements and ducking public debates. For my own well-being, I still steer clear of debates on politics, religion, people’s ages & weights and love advice. However, I am about to bubble over with looming clouds on the horizon for my chosen vocation. Law enforcement is getting painted into a corner and there will be no winners if we do not attempt to start damage control now. You see, pendulum of change often over compensates itself. A wild swing to the left will be damaging.

Snowflake blizzard

The newest emerging generation of ‘snowflakes’ will probably not blend well into law enforcement. In the recent months of hearing about triggered hurt feelings and need for group therapy because they did not get their way, I just shake my head. These children are not going to become good candidates for public service in my view, especially in law enforcement.

First of all, law enforcement requires discipline, nearly perfect discipline. Yes we have rules, regulations and chain of command principles. Just the mere idea that we wear uniforms gives credence to the statement that we are uniform, not individuals. We must follow the rules and obey the orders. The best way I can describe this is as I was taught years ago. One day the order will be given to cease fire, and we need to know how to follow that order. Observing this latest generation (I do not know what their label is), will they have to have a group protest of the order. Will they have to have a hurt feelings card to waive for their time out? General George S. Patton once stated that “there is only one sort of discipline, perfect discipline”. Their recent questioning of authority, of the constitution and the way this government runs is not up for debate on the mean streets that we patrol. I worry about how they are going to make it with their tender feelings in today’s world.

Having had conversations with several of these young souls, my mind spins. I have had several want to know if we could take our weapons and turn them into plowshares, for us to police without weapons and violence. I tried to explain to them that there are those who shoot at police cars just because it is a police car. We do not have unicorns in our fleet and besides the endangered mythical creature would probably be shot as well. This current atmosphere against police in our country is not the time to defend yourself with rainbow and glitter dispensers. Our working the streets is not some X-Box game or role-playing game, it is life and death at times.

Don’t Check the Box

When some asked about the selection process, luckily my agency is still holding the line.

Recently, the Pennsylvania State Police announced that they will drop the use of polygraphs in the background investigations. I guess this younger group of applicants will tell the truth. Several larger cities and some states are proposing ‘to drop the box’ for governmental employment. The box is the one that states you have been arrested or have some form of criminal record. One liberal mayor told me that the stigma of being arrested keeps some from applying to law enforcement. I have always believed that past performance will be a predictor of future actions. I am not saying that once a thug- always a thug, but there is a reason for knowing about past criminality in the back ground checks.  Some cities are proposing of ‘easing their standards’ to allow more diversity. I am all for diversity to have a fair representation of the public. The concept of the criminal element being seen as a part of that diversity is not clear to me. The public should not have to even consider that the police officer coming to aid them is not just out of jail and if this officer has found a business opens, his or her thieving past is not going to kick in now. The public trusts law enforcement to be the ones that they can stand behind during the worst of times, not to question us at all.

Tomorrow’s Academy

Years ago when I was assigned to the academy, we did not give out participation trophies. Either you passed or was a ‘no go’ or a ‘bolo’, yes we failed students out of lack of academics and/or failing to meet practical/physical exams. Were all of my graduates the best in the world -no; no one academy is perfect. The point is this latest generation who has grown accustomed to everyone gets a trophy is in for serious hurt feelings if they make it to the streets. Sure, there will be the top shots, best PT scores and highest academically. Most of us just want to pass to get the job. Matters not if it is magna cum laude but I got through the academy ‘thank you lordy’.


In emergency services we use PPE as the acronym for personal protective equipment. However, in the reality orientation side of Policeland, this has a different meaning all together. We have all been victims of PPE when there was a promotion or assignment we did not receive or a court case we lost. Policeland PPE – Personalities, Politics, and Egos has had more ripple effects on our careers than we care to count. Bad as they were, we managed and got through it. This younger crowd, I do not know how they are going to handle Police PPE. I am so thankful for our police psychologists who help us over the tough times in dealing with the dark side of the streets. Police PTSD is real and we still must take it seriously. The side-effects of Policeland PPE will be far reaching to their tender feelings.  

Is law enforcement doomed, no way! I strongly feel we will persevere, if we can hold the line. My worry is that the latest generation will grow up, get some moxy about them and try adulthood for once. Peter Pan got left by the kids who grew up, so will some of the snowflakes. To the rest of this generation, strap on life it is a heck of a ride at times but the view can be great. 

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