No other way to say it... [Archive] - Glock Talk

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golls17
08-06-2011, 11:56
**Update Post #48 - Talked with the Chief, things not looking too promising but I'm still fighting**

I don't think I can handle this job.

I'm still in field training, but the stress is just too overwhelming. I don't think it's the stress of being evaluated on everything, that I can handle. I know it takes a special kind of person to do this job, and I've been doubting I have that mentality. The thought of quitting has crossed my mind, but the word "quit" scares the hell out of me. I've never quit anything in my life, and I'm worked too hard for the last three years to throw it all away.

Everything came into perspective, though, when my wife asked, "If we didn't have to worry about the financial aspect, would you still quit?" I realized I probably would, which should be a giant red flag. I know I've changed as a person, too, and not in a way I like. I can't remember the last time I've smiled, let-alone laughed about anything since starting this job. Even when times were hard financially and I was struggling to get hired, I still was an overall happy person. Now, not so much.

Here's the thing:

I don't WANT to quit. I'm enjoying it a lot. I've seen more in the last 4 months than most people do in a lifetime. The high-stress calls don't seem to bother me. We had an armed robbery at a bank, and I found the suspect car shortly after. I had a great time with that! It's the hours, not being able to see my family. It's everywhere I go hearing people I meet and friends talk about, "well when I got pulled over" or "did you see the video of that cop? he should be fired" It's interviewing somebody as a witness and cutting them loose, only to figure out later they are the suspect and you can't find them anymore. All of things I knew to expect, and I thought I was ready for them, but now I'm not so sure. At first, I thought I was going through a phase, but things have been building up and my stress is growing. It's caused me to even have panic attacks, sometimes a couple a week. Not like panicking on the job, but I'll just be sitting at home and my chest gets heavy, my breathing gets short, and I feel really uneasy.

I CAN'T quit. My family relies very heavily on my income, and we are through my insurance. I'm worried about what will happen with my family without the income. Also, and I know it's really not a good reason at all, but I've never quit anything and my pride is in the way. I'm also worried that I'll quit, then look back and regret it, knowing that I'll never be able to get back into it again. That's something I know would loom over me for a very long time.

That being said, I know that this is all I've ever wanted to do with my life, but I don't want to be that guy that is only in it for the pay. I really am enjoying the work, but I just don't know how much more of the stress I can take. I've come home every day too stressed to fall asleep, and when I finally do sleep, I dream of the stresses of work and wake up in the middle of the night. Then my day is pretty much shot because I'm too tired and stressed, and it's time to go to work again, and the cycle continues. My weekends aren't much different.

I know I've got some soul searching to do. I've vented to friends, family, my dog, and God. Now I'm venting to the Cop Talk crowd. I have a feeling I know what responses I'll get, and I probably won't like them. That being said, if I really can't keep up with this job, where do I go from here? Getting hired was one of the happiest days of my life, behind my daughter being born and getting married. Am I really to believe that the last three years of working hard and sacrifice were all for nothing? I'm not sure I'm ready to throw it all away yet, but I'm not sure I can survive it, either.

MeefZah
08-06-2011, 12:10
It sounds like you have considered the reasons to go, and the reasons to stay.

From your statement that if it wasn't for the money, you'd quit; I think you already know what you need to do.

As you mentioned, no one should do this job for the money. It's a calling. If it called to you, and you gave it a shot only to find out it wasn't really your thing; then there is no shame in walking away.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do.

Sgt127
08-06-2011, 12:16
Hm. Ok. Where to start....

I've been a cop for over 25 years. I don't understand the stress. I thrive on the hot calls, as a matter of fact, I jump all of them. You seem to not be stressed out by the hot calls either, thats good.

Cops screw up. We wreck cars, we break things, we lose equipment. If you are working for a good department, its no big deal. "Dear Chief, sorry about the 2012 Tahoe I just wrapped around a tree chasing the Agg Robbery Suspect, it was my fault, I accept full responsability." Day or two off, over, as long as you tell the truth, generally, unless you intentionally commited a crime or gross violation of policy, its no big deal.

People lie to the Police all the time, sometimes we catch them, sometimes we don't. Eh. When you go fishing, you can't catch every fish in the lake, just a few. It is what it is.

Paperwork is paperwork, it sucks. Gotta be done, part of the job.

Dead times between 0300-0600 are more stressful for me than anything. I hate being bored, but, that cutting, shooting, major accident might be the next call, so, it makes it worthwhile. Also, that next set of tailights I see MIGHT be a stolen car.

People say stupid stuff, so what? Be a lawyer, you get to hear all the lawyer jokes.

We had a rookie, good potential Officer, in the last phase of training. Got a call to a robbery where the clerk was shot dead behind the counter. Took all the information, did all the paperwork asked the FTO to head to the station, walked into the Chiefs office and resigned.

I guess I don't really understand WHERE the stress is coming from. Help me out, maybe theres a particular thing to work on.

GPalmer
08-06-2011, 12:21
Sorry to hear the news, the posts of yours that I've read on this forum make me believe that you'd make a fine officer. I'm also not a LEO. That being said, if I were in your shoes, I'd sucks it up and look for another opportunity. Keep giving your current profession all the effort it deserves until it's time to move on. Your current profession is not a good one to be plying with a load on your shoulders, the make people sloppy and impair their judgment and that is very, very bad in your line of work.

packsaddle
08-06-2011, 12:45
It seems you have the whole God --> Family --> Job hierarchy figured out, which is good.

Finish your FTO and then transfer to a Reserve.

Get a job in the private sector and work one weekend a month as a Reserve.

Reserve at a small town PD or rural SO at first.

Hate to see you throw it all away but only you know what's best for you.

Good luck either way.

Panzergrenadier1979
08-06-2011, 12:56
You've gone through so much to get where you are now. Finish your probation! If you quite prior to finishing probation you'll probably never get another LE job later.

Take a break, go run some traffic and unwind. I don't like the paperwork aspect of this job (my biggest cause of stress) but I've realized now that no matter how much I get done, there will just be more of it tomorrow. Rather then stress about it, I do as much as I can during the shift; if it doesn't get done, so what? It will be there in the morning. I can spend hours or days busting my butt on a case and then watch the judge dismiss the charges in the blink of an eye. Who cares?! I did my job to best of my ability. If the bad guy's "rights" mean that he can douse his girlfriend in lighter fluid and chase her around the house with a lighter and get the charges dropped then FINE! That's on the idiot judge's conscience, not mine. I'm an honest police officer and a good husband & father. I go where others are afraid to go and I get to do things that others wish they could do. The stress is just a small price to pay for doing something I love.

Agent6-3/8
08-06-2011, 13:04
My suggestion at this point is to finish your field training and if possible, probation before leaving. Just getting through FTO will lift a load off of you.

siblueg
08-06-2011, 13:32
You kinda of sound like me when I first started. I was so STRESSED out while in training to the point where I was going to quit at any moment. I felt like my department was against me aswell. I also feel like i changed and most of my friends were slowly growing apart. When i was around my friends all they wanted to talk about was police **** and it bugged me. I felt like the hours was going to affect my marage and i would be a typical divorced cop! Haha. I pushed through it and waited to see how I liked the job when I got out of training. I'm glad I waited because I completely love my job now. You have to get used to the change in your life and it will feel like second nature to you. Just keep your your priorities strait with your family and then your job. Hope that helps

merlynusn
08-06-2011, 13:41
I'd second finishing FTO. Have you spoken with someone else about this? Do you have an academy classmate? What about your FTO?

This job does take a lot out of you and you have to make sure your priorities are aligned. You will never save the world. You will work hard on a case and see it dismissed or pled down to nothing. Your job is to catch them. Once they are in the jail, it isn't up to you.

Find out what the causes of your stress are and then see if you can address them. If you cannot, then you should find another job that is more to your liking. This is not the job to have anxiety over. You have a long career ahead of you. If you get burned out or have a panic attack, it could hit at the wrong time and someone else could get hurt over it.

If you need to, feel free to PM.

TreverSlyFox
08-06-2011, 14:04
I've come home every day too stressed to fall asleep, and when I finally do sleep, I dream of the stresses of work and wake up in the middle of the night. Then my day is pretty much shot because I'm too tired and stressed, and it's time to go to work again, and the cycle continues. My weekends aren't much different.

You need some professional help to learn HOW to deal with the stress and you need to do it now. True Panic Attacks are not the "normal" way of dealing with stress unless they occur in a severe Life Threating situation and they only affect about 1.3% of the population.

Not everything that appears to be a panic attack is one as some medical conditions present the same symptoms. These medical conditions include low blood sugar (hypoglycemia); overactive thyroid (hypothyroidism); and a cardiac condition known as mitral valve prolapse.

You have a problem and you need to deal with it now, go see a Doctor and start the process because it's possible that just a slight change in eating habits is all thats needed.

ateamer
08-06-2011, 14:32
Buy a copy of "Emotional Survival for Law Enforcement" by Dr. Kevin Gilmartin. He is a veteran Tucson PD officer and psychologist, and his book should be required reading at the academy. Read it, put its lessons to use and it could be a big help.

ateamer
08-06-2011, 14:38
Hm. Ok. Where to start....

I've been a cop for over 25 years. I don't understand the stress. I thrive on the hot calls, as a matter of fact, I jump all of them. You seem to not be stressed out by the hot calls either, thats good.

Cops screw up. We wreck cars, we break things, we lose equipment. If you are working for a good department, its no big deal. "Dear Chief, sorry about the 2012 Tahoe I just wrapped around a tree chasing the Agg Robbery Suspect, it was my fault, I accept full responsability." Day or two off, over, as long as you tell the truth, generally, unless you intentionally commited a crime or gross violation of policy, its no big deal.

People lie to the Police all the time, sometimes we catch them, sometimes we don't. Eh. When you go fishing, you can't catch every fish in the lake, just a few. It is what it is.

Paperwork is paperwork, it sucks. Gotta be done, part of the job.

Dead times between 0300-0600 are more stressful for me than anything. I hate being bored, but, that cutting, shooting, major accident might be the next call, so, it makes it worthwhile. Also, that next set of tailights I see MIGHT be a stolen car.

People say stupid stuff, so what? Be a lawyer, you get to hear all the lawyer jokes.

We had a rookie, good potential Officer, in the last phase of training. Got a call to a robbery where the clerk was shot dead behind the counter. Took all the information, did all the paperwork asked the FTO to head to the station, walked into the Chiefs office and resigned.

I guess I don't really understand WHERE the stress is coming from. Help me out, maybe theres a particular thing to work on.
+1 As strongly as I recommend Gilmartin's book, I still don't understand why officers get stressed over the little things. This job is too much fun. When it's call-to-call, you have to prioritize between the fight, the request for Code 3 units at the foot pursuit and the hot prowl, you feel alive like few other times.

The people lying to us is just part of the job. It's their job to lie, and it's our job to find the truth. A lot of the times they win. No biggie. The world won't stop turning because some twerp claimed that he was the victim when he was the one who started the whole thing. Just look at it as a fun challenge and a chance to hone your skills. It'll take years, but if you take each interview as a building block toward the detective bureau or whatever your ultimate goal (most guys seem to have that goal, don't know why more don't want to work their whole career on the street), you'll achieve that and have fun on the way.

Bruce M
08-06-2011, 14:46
I concur with a check by your physician to eliminate a possible medical cause. I also agree with finishing the FTO phase and possibly probation. Also, out of curiosity, what did you do before? Whatever that job(s) was/were, was there no stress or problems? If you left, what would you do? Would there be stress/issues? There is a reason a job is called "work" as opposed to "super-happy-fun-time." The best to you no matter how it turns out.

Sam Spade
08-06-2011, 14:49
Thoughts...

You clearly have high standards for yourself, and when you don't meet them it seems you punish yourself. You need to make sure that your standards are actually realistic. I don't mind rookies making rookie mistakes, as long as they don't make them over and over. Learn from the errors---that's what FTO is there for. You'll get experience, you'll learn how to do investigations over time. It probably took me two years after FTO, on a busy shift, before I thought I had a handle on the basics of police work.

You aren't taking care of yourself. This job is a marathon, not a sprint. I second the notion of getting to a doctor, checking diet, and making very, very sure that you have a physical fitness program in place, especially given your sleep issues.

IMO, FTO isn't the place to make decisions on your suitability for the work. Too much stress, too much of an artificial environment. Yeah, if you're unsafe and unable to deal with the life-or-death aspect, FTO is the time to walk. But if you're wondering how you'll handle the work without a trainer sitting next to you, give it some time. And from the practical standpoint, in this economy it's easier to get a job if you have a job.

ateamer
08-06-2011, 14:53
I missed the part about sleep, or the lack of it. At the end of every shift, especially if it was a stressful one, get in a quick, hard workout. Get your heart rate up and work up a good soaking sweat, No more than 30-40 minutes, and work as nonstop as you can. That will help you sleep. And no caffeine or sugar (except for fresh fruit) in the last half of your shift.

Bruce M
08-06-2011, 15:02
...
! It's the hours, not being able to see my family...
I CAN'T quit. My family relies very heavily on my income, and we are through my insurance. I'm worried about what will happen with my family without the income..

Shifts will change but all through your career there wil be times that work interferes with family. On the other hand sometimes being the only Dad that can help with the school field trip has its advantages. I think a serious question you need to ask yourself, is if you quit, what will you do and will that provide for your family as well both short and long term. As others have said, while the money should not be the primary motivation, taking care of our families has to be toward the top of the list. I have never worked with anyone who got rich doing this job. But I also have never met anyone in this job who couldn't provide adequately for their family over a long term if they avoided doing foolish things.

packsaddle
08-06-2011, 15:12
I think most people experience some form of "performance anxiety" during FTO.

It is normal for a person to get nervous when someone is looking over your shoulder the whole shift, scrutinizing your every move, while knowing your future career is based on his/her opinion of your performance.

Most of that will go away when you are on your own.

Cochese
08-06-2011, 16:11
Finish your probationary period, period.

Do what you have to do to ensure your health, but finish your probationary period.

Aux Bear
08-06-2011, 16:19
Perhaps you're cutting / selling yourself short. It's a strange new world you've entered. The academy doesn't teach you hands on things. That comes with FTO and street time. You'll know better in a few months if you're cut out for it. I too when through a period of uncertainty and apprehension. That was two (2) years ago and today i love it. You at one point convinced yourself that this is what you wanted to do. You went through a number of interviews and tests then training to get where you are. All those interviews were positive and in their opinion you had the makings of a good officer. Give it time. Don't make a snap judgement now that can ruin any further opportunities should you again change your mind. Stick to it, finish your FTO time and play it day by day. Not everyone is cut out to do the job, however, I firmly believe that you, your interviewers and academy trainers can't all be wrong. You can do it, but only if you give ourself time to settle in and build relationships with your fellow officers and your job. No one is perfect right out of the box!

Cav
08-06-2011, 17:00
Everyone is different.

I will say this, if you want a 9-5 job, leave now. Quit. Save everyone the hassle.

I see more officers that want a pay check and hate the hours. It causes nothing but problems. I guess I was lucky to have spent over 12 years active duty in the Army Infantry. I was gone from my wife for 9 months out of the average year doing training or doing missions.

I like staying busy, and I love my wife (our kids are grown up). I have hours from about 2PM to 12PM M-F for the past 9 years. I like the busy shift. I was lucky to get my first shift of 7AM to 3PM for 6 months but my days off were tues/weds, and after that was lucky to get weekends off on our second shift for the next 8+ years.

Some days the small calls get me angry, but it does not last long. As others have said and 'if the hours are not the issue', wait till you get out on your own and out of field training. Then you will have new issues for the next 6 months to a year that will not be as bad as field training. After that it is a job that should come second nature and be rather easy IMHO.

I have a good time at work with my fellow workers, and even have fun with our customers. I find many more people like me than hate me. Some people just hate police. Heck I can even get the ones that hate police to like me.

But be it the Military or Law Enforcement, you need a strong relationship if you want to make things works. Many relationships do not last long in some job area's.

My wife has been married to me for about 17 years. If she ever wanted me to walk away from the Military or Police work, I would. She knows this, but will never ask it, as she knows that I like doing set things, and always find time for her on my days off. You need to make a call on your family and your job. You can have both, or you can not have either in the end.

At the least I would finish field training and give it 6-12 months. Me, I would walk away if the wife wanted that, but I love my wife more than a job, and my wife loves me and puts up with my job.

collim1
08-06-2011, 17:25
You're supposed to be terrified and overwhelmed when you start. Its okay to feel that way, I know I did.

I left everyday of FTO just darn glad to still be alive, and had little hope of surviving the next shift.

If quitting scares you then you DO have what it takes to do this job, IMO.

Eber_Rabb
08-06-2011, 17:51
Not a LEO. Just an honest striving for success can create stress enough to carry it home. It is not easy wiping the slate clean when you go home - but wiping the slate clean can be done easier than you might realize - especially if you are not a quitter. There's a natural curiosity about your line of work and people go overboard trying to adjust to remaining friends. Look closely to who your real friends are and communicate with them. Only you can decide if you can do this - I hope you can.

opelwasp
08-06-2011, 17:54
Welcome to FTO my boy! This is the real hell of the job. After FTO is over things will smooth out. Trust me, we all have gone through it. There are three great days in a cops career: First day off FTO/ First day off Probation/ First day of Retirement

Stick it out it's worth it.

And don't worry about peoples idiot opinions.

Patchman
08-06-2011, 19:14
You've come too far to just quit. Let's just take a step or two back and exhale for a minute.

From your post, I'm not sure if it's mainly the FTO/being reviewed daily pressure, or the police calls/dealing with the public pressure that's getting to you.

If it's the FTO pressure, just remember that this too shall pass.

And also, if it is the FTO pressure, you're worst nightmare/worst case scenario would be that you're asked to leave. And in my experience, nothing in real life is as bad as one's own imagination of how bad thing can get.

Plenty of good advice already given. If you really are considering quitting LE, complete FTO and become a reserve, just to keep yourself in the game.

DaBigBR
08-06-2011, 19:39
I agree with almost everything in this thread. Do NOT quit now. If you must quit, do it with a clear conscience without the spectre of field training and probation over your head. Get through that damn FTO program and out on your own and see if you hit your stride.

Vigilant
08-06-2011, 20:25
Get a handle on your sleep problem. Stay away from any type of sleep meds, but a mild muscle relaxant before bedtime may help until you get things to smooth out. Once in a while, I use a combination of Benadryl and Ibuprofen. Read a good book on the secrets of good sleep. It might not get you back to a normal sleep schedule, but I suspect that it will at least help. It all adds up.

Don't worry about your sense of humor. You haven't lost it; it's just out for upgrades.

If you have religious beliefs, consider some prayer and spiritual reading before you hit the hay, and a prayer or three now and then while at work. It does help. And it all adds up.

You're in a different world now, especially on duty, but also off the clock. You can adjust, but adjustment is what it takes for most folks. Welcome to the 'other world' inside the looking glass.

Full steam ahead.

CAcop
08-06-2011, 20:59
Ateamer pretty much said everything I would say.

Read Glimartin's book (everyone should).

Avoid caffine and sugar the last half of your shift.

Get in a good quick workout after work.

Plan fun things to do on you weekend before york weekend.

Finish FTO. I didn't have fun until my last day of FTO.

TexasSchool Cop
08-06-2011, 21:38
Only you can decide if quitting is the right thing. I have been a cop for over 30 years and it has been tough. Actually money was tighter as a cop then in any other job I had. I ended up working every off duty job I could to make ends meet. Missed lots of time with children and worked lots of holidays.

See lots of bad things and bad people but it is what I do. Yeah your friends will ending up changing, but having friends that are not cops helps to keep you grounded. A good spouse can make all difference. I have been lucky to be married to a great wife for 38 years. She has always been supportive and THAT made all difference.

Every morning when I look in the mirror, I see a guy that has dedicated his life to protecting others. That is good enough for me.

Good advice from others here, and I agree that you should at least finish probation, but that has to be your decision.

scottydl
08-06-2011, 23:25
Agreed with almost everything in this thread and I can't add a whole lot more, but I'll throw in a few things.

A supportive family is what keeps me going. Is your stress on missing family stuff coming from your wife or kids (and that's ok if it is) or is it self-derived? My wife has been with me through my entire LEO career, from all the applying/testing before we got married to now - married 11+ years, cop for almost 10 of that. She has always supported me and run the household and kids when needed. Huge weight off my shoulders when I'm at work.


Stick it out it's worth it.

And don't worry about peoples idiot opinions.

x2 on both. You have inner knowledge now on how the world works and how many liars are in it. Before this, ignorance was bliss. Insurance agents sitting in a cubicle don't think about all the scammers, rapists, robbers, and murderers that are running the streets every given moment. Yet it's our job to specifically focus on those negatives. You've got to find the balance of dealing with that at work, but LEAVING it at work. Over time you'll develop a sly sarcasm on society that most of us have, and a sick sense of humor that we share - but it's an effective coping mechanism. Let's us shrug off the stuff that would bring a normal citizen to their knees.

Look in to any counseling options that may be available through your city/county as part of the job. Most employers have those resources available. HR or Personnel may be able to help. I think most of your stress is self-inflicted, and a professional may be able to help you target (and reduce or eliminate) the source of your stress.

GET SLEEP. Lack of it will cause anyone to go insane.

Sharky7
08-06-2011, 23:48
Everything came into perspective, though, when my wife asked, "If we didn't have to worry about the financial aspect, would you still quit?" I realized I probably would, which should be a giant red flag.

You have to analyze that more on your own. You also really have to think about why you wanted to be the police. Are you able to accomplish the real reason you wanted to be the police. Do you feel like you have a "personal face" and a "professional face"? There's quite a bit of that professional face in the job; interviewing people, death notification, belligerent and unruly drunks, etc. You just can't take stuff personal and let it affect your "personal face." You will eventually learn to separate the two...if it is more than that though you have to decide.

FTO is an odd time. Sometimes it feels like a completely different job depending on who your FTO is.

It isn't for everyone and there is no shame in getting out of the game. You can't spend the next 30 years doing something you hate...it's bad for you, bad for your family, and bad for your co-workers. It is a thankless job. You miss a lot of holidays with family and weekends with friends. FTO sometimes is a rough patch for some.....and be prepared to face even rougher patches. Read some of the other threads - there WILL be rougher patches. No one will make a statue for you when the career is over - you have to have the internal satisfaction and know you are doing the right thing.

COLOSHOOTR
08-07-2011, 04:18
I know I'm going to be repeating a lot of what has already been said but why not, maybe it will help!

FTO is stressful no matter who you are. I worried about screwing up all the time even though I pretty much breezed though FTO. I was lucky though because at the time I was single and only had me to worry about and I got FTO's who I got along with. My classmate was not so lucky. He had the stress of missing time with his family and got some FTO's he didn't mesh with. Now several years later he's much more relaxed and much happier then I remember him being then.

You really need to learn how to leave the stress at work and being off FTO with help with that for sure. I can have a crappy day at work then walk inside the house and forget about the BS because there will be a whole new pile of it tomorrow. If you mess up oh well. Someone else will next week and everyone will forget and move on to razzing the next guy. Some guy gets away.... Catch him the next day. There is not one thing on this job worth stressing about as long as eveyones okay at the end of shift. If thats the case go home see your family, unwind (I catch my shows on DVR to unwind) and be repeat the next day.

The hours will change. The shift you're stuck on for FTO may not be where you stay when you are off. Maybe once you're solo you can get a shift that works better. On the other hand you'll be the low guy for awhile and go where you are needed so that may be some added stress. You could be in my shoes.... I did my time and was able to get any days off I wanted since I finally had a bunch of guys under me. I get married was able to see my wife on those days off and things were good. Fast forward to now my seniority has went the other way all the new guys got sent to the airport where staffing is over double norm due to budget issues and I'm all over the place with days off. Add the fact that I'm a swing shift car and have the worst hours ever for family.... On the other hand I love the hours its the most fun you could ever have during that time and the day goes by quick most the time due to a busy call load. I even want to work nights as a K9 Officer because thats when the fun stuff goes down. My wife on the other hand would prefer me to work 9-5's like a normal person and be home at night. Thats the trade off... Make sure you make the time you do have count.

As for the "well I got a ticket" comments when you're around people. Have fun with it. You said you were a happy person before and instead of taking offense or stessing about it let it go. Make it into a joke...If they don't let it go after your smart a-- remark tell them you're going to perform the HGN test before they leave the party to make sure they will not be DUI. They'll probably avoid you after that. Also, move on and talk to people who can actually drive and not get pulled over every week for speeding so you can have a real conversation. Hanging out with people that have similar interests also helps. If you hang out with friends that like to bowl, ride motor cycles, boat or whatever it is you like to do it will give you something to do and talk about other then their poor driving habits. I actually had a convo about this a few hours ago with my best friend who I happen to work with. We can't really talk about our day at work like some people. They talk about how Jimmy forgot to put the cover sheet on he TPS report at work but we can't go talking about how so and so shot a guy today unless you have friends as twisted as all us cops are. You have to adapt though and not put yourself in situations where you'll have to talk about that.... Thats why I don't go to my wifes office parties.


DO NOT QUIT TILL AFTER YOU FINISH FTO THOUGH!!!! Wait till then feel it out things might get better. If you still feel the same after your solo for awhile then move on.

Now I'm done with my 4am blabbing sorry I probably misspelled every other word. If you need anything though feel free to PM me!

4949shooter
08-07-2011, 06:57
There has been a lot of excellent information on this thread. I can't really say much more, but I will try..

FTO is the most difficult and stressful period you will ever experience on this job. Period. You will experience some growing pains later on, however FTO is by far the worst. You wanna know something? 22 years ago I didn't think I was ever going to make it off FTO. Yep, I didn't think I had what it took. But like you, my pride kept me going. After FTO, I was able to sort things out for myself. I learned every day and improved. When it was all said and done, I went on to become the first in my troop to be promoted to sergeant from my academy class. FTO is NOT what this job will be like from my perspective.

A story for you...I had an academy classmate who quit the job before his FTO program was over. He went back to his old job, which was being a Newark firefighter. While I always respected his decision, I always thought he should have stuck it out, at least for six months after FTO was over. Funny thing, he works for a funeral home now, and every time there is a funeral I attend he always comes up to me and asks about the job, how are the other guys doing, whatever happened to so and so from our class, etc. Do you think he regrets leaving?

Disclaimer: If your stress level is so high that you cannot function safely on the job, it is my suggestion that you not remain. If it will risk or cause injury to you or one of your fellow officers, it is not worth staying. Not for the pride nor for the money.

I wish you all the best. Above all, stay safe.

Napalm561
08-07-2011, 08:00
Quitting is permanent.
FTO is temporary.
Try to take your time in FTO to learn as much as you can soak up.
The academy teaches you the basics...your FTO will teach you what experience has taught them.
Stick with it, don't give up. You'll be happier with yourself for sticking it out.
Good Luck. Stay Safe!

lloydchristmas
08-07-2011, 09:35
The main gist of the responses to your thread is to finish your probationary period. I have to agree. Wholeheartedly.

FTO is a weird time. You're not supposed to know everything yet. The Academy was to make you legal and have a base to work from. FTO and all the years after is when you learn the job. FTO and probation is stressful, but it's meant to be. It's rather like a Doctor's residency. They put you through the wringer so after you're finished, you can handle about anything. (Want to know a secret? The guys who are FTOing you are acting different than they normally would, too.) They dont know you yet. Heck, you don't know you yet! Maybe you've "always wanted to do this", but the job is different than what you expected? Give yourself the time to find out.

It sounds to me that you're harder on yourself than your training Officers are, and that's OK, but there's also something to be said for leaving the job at work. When you take off the badge, take off the job. It's easy to say, and sometimes you can't, so in that instance you need an outlet. Mine is my wife. I can tell her anything and everything. We talk it out, and sometimes it's just me telling stories and her listening. Don't repress things if they bother you, get rid of them. This also gets easier as time goes on. Also remember that the longer you do this job, the better you will be at it. Think back to the other jobs you've had. Were you proficient after a few months, or simply adequate? Did you get better as time went on?

For me, the initial stress formed itself into dreams while sleeping. Bad dreams. Dreaming about being shot, needing to shoot but my gun wouldn't work, etc. (we all know that would be impossible, as this is a Glock forum, right?? ha) But these, too, subsided over time. Haven't had one now in a couple of years.

Missing family time sucks. Plain and simple. I work nights, weekends, holidays... I miss stuff. However, sometimes I'm off in the middle of the day during the week, and I get to go to my kid's play at school, or just get to have lunch with them. My time off seems more precious now, and the time I spend with my family is all the more meaningful and substantial. We don't just sit around ignoring each other, now we go and do stuff together. I think this job has actually made me closer with my family.

The folks recommending the exercise program are right on. Your Serotonin/Melatonin conversion and your Circadian rhythm is going to be all messed up. This sucks for sleep patterns. Which in turn will affect your stress levels and then your health. Exercise will not only help your sleep patterns and overall health, but will also assist in "effectively decentralizing the resistive subject".

Above all, stay safe. Keep your co-workers safe.

I am also in Wisconsin, and depending on your location, could meet you for a cup of coffee, beer, whatever. Feel free to PM if you like.

MeefZah
08-07-2011, 10:41
I had an academy classmate who quit the job before his FTO program was over. He went back to his old job, which was being a Newark firefighter... He always comes up to me and asks about the job, how are the other guys doing, whatever happened to so and so from our class, etc. Do you think he regrets leaving?

Conclusive proof that firefighters really would rather be cops, they just can't cope with the stressors of our job. :rofl:

razdog76
08-07-2011, 12:14
The stress part ebbs, and flows. Things will be much better after about a year, and better still after two when you have gained experience.

I'm not sure what shift you are working, but little things like the shift, what you are eating, making time for your family can have a huge impact on your stress level.

Also, there is obvious parts of LE that are stressful. There are the other more exciting things that create good stress (eustress), the thrill of the hunt for instance. It does have a cumulative effect with the bad. Which overloads everyone periodically... sometimes it is necessary to burn a personal/vaca day to get back in the saddle.

As the others said, there is always a reserve capacity if you decide that it isn't working out.

larry_minn
08-07-2011, 12:55
I would assume there are professional councilers available? Like others said complete probation then decide. Get plenty of exercise/sleep/time with family. Good luck. My wife says "don't be so OCD:tongueout: (like her)
I would like to know a Officer when I drive across WI . :)

jdm86
08-07-2011, 16:05
A lot of good advice in this thread. What everyone said is pretty spot on. FTO is a rough, rough period of the job and you can have good days and bad days. The bad days will leave you feeling like you hate life, hate the job and that you just won't cut it. Thats when you shake it off, go back the next day and remember to correct those mistakes and do your best. And you know what, once you pass FTO, you will find your stride and place in the department. You'll start enjoying going to work because you want to learn, work hard and catch some bad guys. Remember too that the FTO, depending on who you get, may be pretty rough on you but he's preparing you for the real life out there on the street. I'd be slammed with all of the paper, get messed with while writing the paperwork, etc. It's all about making you mentally strong, because if you can't handle a distraction or being called names while writing a report, how are you going to handle the guy telling you to F off on a scene and you have nothing on that guy. You're GOING to screw up, its the name of the game. We all screw up, and it's part of learning the job and it will make you a better patrolman.

This job is a huge mental game, and once you conquer that, you're golden. Keep your chin up, brother.

golls17
08-07-2011, 19:05
Thanks for all of the comments and support, both on the thread and the PMs. I met with my Sgt. today and told him everything that's going on. He said he applauded me for recognizing it and addressing it, rather than trying to push through, since he's seen people fail by ignoring it in the past. He gave me the rest of the day off (after 2 hours), and tomorrow I'm going in and talking with the Captain. Captain will probably have more answers for the right people to talk to and advice for what to do from here.

My family (all medical people) think I'm dealing with anxiety (panic attacks) and mild depression. I'm calling around first thing tomorrow morning to meet with a psychologist or psychiatrist to get things straightened out in my head.

I think once I get myself figured out, the job will be back to business as usual. I still can't see myself doing anything else, and I told my Sgt. that today.

This is not something I'm proud of by any means, but I'm glad I am taking care of it before it gets worse.

phred119
08-07-2011, 19:14
Good for you. I manage the FTO program at my agency, and I've seen way too many new guys have problems, struggle with issues, but not own up to them. I think they aren't even honest with themselves alot of the time, and try to make belive that everything is OK. Once the facade comes down, its usually too far gone at that point to really help them.

I applaud you for your honesty, and seeking help. Sometimes the job can get overwhelming, but having a support mechanism in place (God, family, friends, and sometimes professional help) can make all the difference.

volsbear
08-07-2011, 19:39
Good for you. I don't have anything to add, but I wanted to wish you the best of luck. I went to college with 1,100 law enforcement majors and many had similar problems that you are describing. For many, the hours that police keep was problematic but once they were off FTO, got their sleep regulated, and figured out how to balance family, friends, and work things got a lot better.

You're leaps and bounds ahead of many people with similar issues simply because you have recognized it and addressed it. God bless.

DaBigBR
08-07-2011, 20:55
My family (all medical people) think I'm dealing with anxiety (panic attacks) and mild depression. I'm calling around first thing tomorrow morning to meet with a psychologist or psychiatrist to get things straightened out in my head.

There's probably something to that.

Exercise, diet, therapy, and then meds.

Obviously exercise and diet are a ***** in this job sometimes, especially with FTO. Stay the course.

ChiefWPD
08-08-2011, 06:18
A million years ago I was a young NYPD homicide detective. Got my first murder, the investigation was going nowhere (a push in homicide of a 65 year old woman - worked liked the dickens to solve it, never even got close).

Anyway, there I am, pacing the squad room floor. A senior detective says to me; "Hey, Rosie (my nickname), did YOU do it?"

Me; "Of course not!"

Detective; "Then what are you worried about?"

I relaxed a bit after that conversation. My point being, perspective is very important in this job.

Take a deep breath and enjoy the ride.

:wavey:

msu_grad_121
08-08-2011, 06:59
A senior detective says to me; "Hey, Rosie (my nickname), did YOU do it?"

Me; "Of course not!"

Detective; "Then what are you worried about?"

I relaxed a bit after that conversation. My point being, perspective is very important in this job.

Take a deep breath and enjoy the ride.

:wavey:

It can be nice when a senior guy gives you some sage advice. I used to let it eat me alive when 36th District would plead down an A&B on PO or basically give the person no punishment for their crime. Then one day, a buddy of mine named Rich said, "We are the middlemen of the law. What happens in court is none of our concern. As long as the idiot doesn't come back and pull the same BS, you taught him the lesson he needed. And if he does, then you educate again. And again, if necessary, until he gets it."

That stuck with me when I went in for yet another A&B on PO and the prosecutor wanted to plead it down. He asked if I had a problem, and I said, "No. I'm pretty sure Mr. Whatever His Name Was learned his lesson, didn't ya?" He just nodded.

I second seeking professional help. Find something to destress. Working out, fishing, origami, whatever. And definitely don't give up yet unless absolutely necessary! Hang in there, it'll get better!

Good luck in whatever you choose! PM if you need anything.

DaBigBR
08-08-2011, 10:31
A million years ago I was a young NYPD homicide detective. Got my first murder, the investigation was going nowhere (a push in homicide of a 65 year old woman - worked liked the dickens to solve it, never even got close).

Anyway, there I am, pacing the squad room floor. A senior detective says to me; "Hey, Rosie (my nickname), did YOU do it?"

Me; "Of course not!"

Detective; "Then what are you worried about?"

I relaxed a bit after that conversation. My point being, perspective is very important in this job.

Take a deep breath and enjoy the ride.

:wavey:

I love that story.

Filed away for future re-use.

Kadetklapp
08-08-2011, 10:34
If it makes you feel any better, I'm strongly considering hanging it up too. The methods in which I entered law enforcement are pretty bass akwards. I entered into the job working the jail and then going to the courthouse, but started doing reserve work and then going to a local academy (a tedious year-long process) and now I'm a paid town marshal going thru the state academy waiver process. Lately our local town agency's council is on our backs night and day about anything and everything they can find "wrong" with us. They are constantly belittling us in town meetings, threatening our positions and equipment, and threatening sanctions for perceived wrongs. It's got me all stirred up. I took a big test today for the crim law portion of my waiver and I'm not sure I passed it since I'm very flustered right now.

I'd say hang in there, I know how you feel.

DFinch
08-08-2011, 11:54
With 21 years in I look back to times I've thought if I could go back there's no way I'd do it again and times I can't believe I ever thought that and wouldn't trade my experiences for all the money in the world.

You need to read Gilmartin. Immediately.

You need to get checked medically.

You need to follow the very valuable advice given here concerning diet, caffeine, and a fitness program/workouts.

You should sit down and make an honest list about what really is and isn't causing you stress. In your post you say it's not FTO, you say it's not the high stress calls, you basically say it's not "the job", then you say the "job stress" is so bad you can't sleep. You need to identify the specific things about the job that build that stress. There's a lot of work to do between "it's all I've ever wanted to do" and "it's not for me". If it's not what you expected it would be, that's a wake up call we've all been through. None of us are perfect and it's a screwed up system. You figure out pretty fast you're not going to save the world, you're just another "blue suit" to the politicians, bad guys will get away or go unpunished, there is no such thing as reform, and nobody understands the reality of life in the way we do in our unique world. It is what it is. That said, you will make a difference in individual situations. You will save lives. You will make a difference, one call at a time, and you will cling to those moments and they will remind you why you put up with all the rest of the BS so you can get to the next one that matters.

Above all, cut yourself some slack. You chose to take the "red pill" and live beyond the curtain of blissful ignorance that envelopes most of society. It's ugly, but it's real. Accept it for what it is and maybe you'll find some peace. It is a life of peaks and valleys and you can learn to enjoy the ride. You can also walk away, but if you do you owe it to yourself to do it with your head held high and with a sense of certainty that it's the right thing for you.

golls17
08-08-2011, 13:13
OK, just got back from talking with the Chief and Captain. Basically, they said I have until this Thursday at 8am to not only talk to somebody and figure out the root of the problem, but also have the Dr. be confident that I am able to work in a police environment. It sounds like if I don't have my answers by then it's either resign or be terminated. I've got some doctors to call. Be back later.

ETA: Went to the doctor, they gave me a Rx for the anxiety and depression. I have a follow-up with them on Wednesday. I also have an appointment with a psychologist tomorrow afternoon.

nikerret
08-08-2011, 13:24
Keep your head up. :)

cowboywannabe
08-08-2011, 13:36
believe me, being a millionaire is much easier than being a cop.

Vigilant
08-08-2011, 15:03
If this does fall through, you might consider Corrections, or a County jail. The politics would probably be cleaner at the state level. Probably.

Keep in mind, six months from now, this will all be old business, one way or another.

golls17
08-08-2011, 15:15
If this does fall through, you might consider Corrections, or a County jail. The politics would probably be cleaner at the state level. Probably.

Keep in mind, six months from now, this will all be old business, one way or another.

Unfortunately, I have started looking for alternate work. If I resign from a police job, do I still have a chance at anything in law enforcement?

razdog76
08-08-2011, 15:40
Unfortunately, I have started looking for alternate work. If I resign from a police job, do I still have a chance at anything in law enforcement?

It would probably be better to look at that question from a different perspective. How would an HR manager look at it in terms of hiring for any job?

It would certainly be in your best (employment) interest to find another job before leaving your current.

Bodyarmorguy
08-08-2011, 16:02
I have a friend that graduated from the academy last December, now we are not talking a kid here......about 47 at the time. All he talked about was going to work at my old Department...that is all he wanted. Enthusiastic, top of his class in almost every discipline and got snapped right up along with two others from his class.

During orientation he is telling me how stressed he is, seeing a doc for depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, etc. This is during orientation!!! Hadn't even gone on the road for FTO yet. Two or 3 days into FTO, he quits, then calls me. The Chief even told him he was doing great and that they didn't want him to leave. I told him to see the Chief and ask to stay on as a reserve. He does and is in the middle of FTO when he quits again because they aren't promising him a job as soon as he completes FTO.

I think he may be screwed at least in this County....nobody is going to take much of a gamble on a guy that quits twice during FTO. IMHO

4949shooter
08-08-2011, 16:24
believe me, being a millionaire is much easier than being a cop.

I should have chose being a millionaire as a profession.

Dammit.

David Armstrong
08-08-2011, 16:55
Everything came into perspective, though, when my wife asked, "If we didn't have to worry about the financial aspect, would you still quit?" I realized I probably would, which should be a giant red flag. I know I've changed as a person, too, and not in a way I like.
And remember, it is just going to get worse once all the fun and new wears off. I'll agree with what others have said...finish probation, then get out of the business and try a reserve slot. Nothing wrong with it, not everybody is cut out to do this full-time.

Vigilant
08-08-2011, 18:48
By definition, in most cases but not all, Corrections is not Law Enforcement. It is more like the opposite side of the coin. I would at least keep it in mind.

Sounds to me like your employer was a bit harsh when you leveled with them. They didn't give you much of a time frame to work with.

Vigilant
08-08-2011, 18:49
I should have chose being a millionaire as a profession.

Dammit.

I know how you feel. I should have been a male stripper.

Sgt127
08-08-2011, 19:31
I know how you feel. I should have been a male stripper.

Eh, It's not all its cut out to be either.....

Vigilant
08-08-2011, 19:39
Eh, It's not all its cut out to be either.....

Looks like you kept your day job, so all is not lost. Could be worse. You could have been a licensed cosmetologist, and been forced to rant and rave all day long and tell all the Butt Sisters how ravishing they looked after you plied your magical trade upon their ugly mugs..... :rofl:

lloydchristmas
08-09-2011, 00:03
I know how you feel. I should have been a male stripper.

If I did this for a living, I would starve to death.

Hack
08-09-2011, 00:41
By definition, in most cases but not all, Corrections is not Law Enforcement. It is more like the opposite side of the coin. I would at least keep it in mind.

Sounds to me like your employer was a bit harsh when you leveled with them. They didn't give you much of a time frame to work with.

Corrections is definitely a mixed lot. But, there are advantages to working it. The only ones you see on the street are the ones who have been released from custody.

It's not always LE, but some are. My agency is, New Jersey is IIRC, and NYS is, Missouri CO powers are very limited, but if they are on an escape hunt you don't get in their way, county generally is helping out then, but unless the law has changed it's MODOC's show. There are all kinds.

pal2511
08-10-2011, 02:55
Unfortunately, I have started looking for alternate work. If I resign from a police job, do I still have a chance at anything in law enforcement?

Originally Posted by Vigilant View Post
If this does fall through, you might consider Corrections, or a County jail. The politics would probably be cleaner at the state level. Probably.

Keep in mind, six months from now, this will all be old business, one way or another.
Unfortunately, I have started looking for alternate work. If I resign from a police job, do I still have a chance at anything in law enforcement?



Not trying to be rude but if you can't handle the "stress" of being on the road don't go into corrections. Spent 5 years there and I thought it was just as "stressfull" was the road but just in a different manner.

Get out of law enforcement if you are having this many problems but you need to give it some more time I think.

You wont learn everything overnight. Talk to some other people that are local, everyone has different challenges in the beginning.

I didn't read all the postings but what are you scared of the most?

Getting hurt? Geography? Rules and regulations, laws?

golls17
08-10-2011, 06:05
I didn't read all the postings but what are you scared of the most?



Honestly, failing. But I'm starting to give myself a little slack, and that's helped a lot.

pal2511
08-10-2011, 06:12
Everyone fails during training. You win or lose on how you take the failure. We all have had jobs where we have messed things up regardless if we had a year in or twenty years

Vigilant
08-10-2011, 07:15
Originally Posted by Vigilant View Post
If this does fall through, you might consider Corrections, or a County jail. The politics would probably be cleaner at the state level. Probably.

Keep in mind, six months from now, this will all be old business, one way or another.
Unfortunately, I have started looking for alternate work. If I resign from a police job, do I still have a chance at anything in law enforcement?



Not trying to be rude but if you can't handle the "stress" of being on the road don't go into corrections. Spent 5 years there and I thought it was just as "stressfull" was the road but just in a different manner.

Get out of law enforcement if you are having this many problems but you need to give it some more time I think.

You wont learn everything overnight. Talk to some other people that are local, everyone has different challenges in the beginning.

I didn't read all the postings but what are you scared of the most?

Getting hurt? Geography? Rules and regulations, laws?

No offense taken at all. We're all trying to help. Even so, I respectfully disagree, to a point. Corrections involves some of the same types of stress, and some different types. It is also, in most scenarios at least, less complex, from what little I know of Law Enforcement. I say, starting out in Minimum or Medium Custody might be something to consider if the job on the street does not pan out.

Corrections could also be a good way for the OP to get started in his direction of choice, gain some confidence, and also gain some valuable experience.

Sam Spade
08-10-2011, 07:32
Honestly, failing. But I'm starting to give myself a little slack, and that's helped a lot.

Part of your problem, IMO, is that you don't understand what the pass/fail standards are.

You are in a training program. "Pass" is that you demonstrate your aptitude, not your mastery of the job. In FTO, you fail for lack of ethics, lack of safety and inability to learn. That you aren't making felony cases that will survive SCOTUS review isn't part of the grading.

That standard gradually increases, so you have to keep working. But departments have been doing this longer than you have, and we're smart enough not to dump everything on you at once. Phase I, Phase II, III, IV, on your own, off probation, FTO in your own right, Lead Officer...there's a gradual but ever-increasing expectation of what you need to do to pass.

Deal with the goal at hand, *maybe* the next one to excel, but not the goal years down the road.

CAcop
08-10-2011, 07:46
Honestly, failing. But I'm starting to give myself a little slack, and that's helped a lot.

When in FTO you have to tell yourself it is not a mistake if you learn from something you did wrong. It's a mistake if you do it over and over.

I stressed myself in FTO until I figured that out.

Hack
08-10-2011, 07:59
When in FTO you have to tell yourself it is not a mistake if you learn from something you did wrong. It's a mistake if you do it over and over.

I stressed myself in FTO until I figured that out.

That is the way it is in corrections. Places are different and makes a big difference in how you train and so on. But, regardless of where a person trains either LE on the street or behind the secure fence, you are going to make mistakes. You'll learn from it, slap yourself on the head or try to kick yourself in the backside a few times and keep on doing what you need to do to pass FTO.

DaBigBR
08-10-2011, 08:33
Honestly, failing. But I'm starting to give myself a little slack, and that's helped a lot.

As long as you're not getting NRT'ed, you're fine. In most FTO programs you're going to receive pretty average ratings...this is one of those times where a "perfect" day will get you C-level grades (if you're on a numbered DOR system), and that's just fine.

Sharky7
08-10-2011, 10:33
Unfortunately, I have started looking for alternate work. If I resign from a police job, do I still have a chance at anything in law enforcement?

Did they drop some hints or are you just being proactive?

golls17
08-10-2011, 12:50
Did they drop some hints or are you just being proactive?

I was just being proactive. I talked with my Captain today, I'm back to work on Friday (had the week off to 'heal').

ateamer
08-10-2011, 13:28
If you aren't making mistakes and wondering "how the hell do I straighten this out", you aren't being challenged, which means that you are not getting the most effective field training.