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Old 10-28-2012, 11:13   #1
1041TX
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Well, it happened.

Not sure where to start, this is more of a brain dump than anything.

I'm a long time reader around here and don't post much but the insight and experience around here keeps me coming back.

I'm fairly new on the job. I can honestly say that I feel like I really accomplished something most days when I get home. Some of the luster has worn off but overall I can't imagine doing anything else.

I didn't come into this gig with starry eyes thinking I was going to change the world, but that I would do my best to at least improve the area I was in for the 12 hours I was in it. Without a doubt, I do just that, even if it is just stopping a speeder or picking up a DWI.

They always said that the things you see and deal with will change you. I agree 100%. I wouldn't say that I have changed the core of who I am, but I certainly see things differently, for better or for worse. For one, the idea that I'm always carrying a gun, either at work or on my days off is something that was strange at first, but now it's like putting on socks, it's just something you do. And it's not the physical "there is a gun ony hip", but it's the reason that it is there, the whole warrior mindset thing. It's not there to be cool, it's there because it serves a purpose.

For whatever reason, today it hit me. After I finished booking my latest lick, I realized that for the 12 hours I am working, I am a sponge for misery!
....and even after that realization, I STILL love this gig. WTF is wrong with me? They say you have to have some mental defect to want to do all this. Totally true.

I guess today was a milestone, much like my first arrest or finishing FTO. Today I realized that the job is truly a lifestyle and not something easily forgotten on my days off.

I've been a part of some crazy stuff, and none of it has really bothered me. In fact, it's almost a surreal feeling knowing that someone's life is forever changed and that you are a part of it, either for better or worse in their eyes.

It seems odd that I feel normal walking around with an AR slung looking for some miscreants.

I have also come to truly understand the brotherhood. Without knowing it, my brothers and sisters have rallied around each other when it drops. It is an honor to work with the crew I work with. Through the good and bad we are a formidable wrecking crew.

I for one am glad that most folks don't see and deal with some of the crap we deal with every day. On the flip side, I think it is a travesty that the public doesn't see some of the comedy gold that I have seen.

It is an oddity to me that I have run Mach 3 to reports of shots fired and it doesn't bother me, but 3 hours later something minor somehow sticks with me the rest of the rotation. Like the billiard balls in the street from a somewhat humerous disturbance.

This certainly isn't some woe is me type post. I'm feeling great, life is good. I guess, more than anything I've taken a tiny step from being just another rookie to becoming a cop.

I've also come to appreciate the incredible importance of being normal as possible on the days off. I purposely don't even look at my work gear until the night before. Work stays at work and does not come into my home, unless it's an awesome funny story. Even those are kept in check.

Anyway, thanks for listening. Time to go back to the normal life until next week!

/crazy
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Old 10-28-2012, 15:35   #2
Jack23
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I enjoyed reading your post very much. I have more than one family member in law enforcement and as a member of my local Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association I am fairly close with a lot of our officers.

While I know I don't understand all the implications of being a police officer I can feel what you have written in your post. Sounds to me like you just had a catharsis. That's one of those moments of total clarity and understanding that helps to keep those in high stress jobs from burning out.

It's not a job that everyone can do. If you do it for a life time you run the risk of some permanent emotional and psychological damage. At this point I'd guess that you have things balanced out pretty well. You get to contact the lowest elements of society and you get to see people at their worst. That stacks up. I think the important thing is to keep in in perspective and keep it separate from your personal life.

From what I can gather from those I know on the job the two main things that help to keep things in perspective and not burn out or get jaded are: a good loving and understanding family, and taking the time to spend time away from the job and doing something you really enjoy that relaxes you and gets your mind away from the stress of doing your job.

My BIL retired from the Houston PD as a sargent after 33 years of service. He was a narc for 18 years and he has some wild and crazy stories. But he was lucky and had the good understanding family and the outside interests I mentioned above. He is the best example I can think of for how to do it right and come out the other side in good shape.

You have my admiration, thanks for helping this to be a better place to live, and my best wishes for good luck in the future. I think we need more LEOs like you. God bless....
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Old 10-28-2012, 15:47   #3
OFCJIM40
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"I guess today was a milestone, much like my first arrest or finishing FTO. Today I realized that the job is truly a lifestyle and not something easily forgotten on my days off. "

Give it a few more years and you'll easily (and better) forget things on days off. Let me say I always carry off duty and am always prepared for bad situations off duty, so I'm not saying mentally shut down your defenses. But as soon as I punch out, the job is forgotten until I return. I have family, dogs, friends, house improvements and fun to focus on. Not the 3 ring circus I left behind.
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Old 10-28-2012, 16:07   #4
Patchman
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First, welcome.

Second, as you noted, LE is one of the greatest job there is. Books upon books have been written about it and (I'm sure you've heard), you now have a front row seat to the greatest show on earth. Unfortunately, it is also one of the worst job there is. You have people who hate/want to kill you simply because it's your job to tell them they can't do this or that. You also have people who hate you out of envy, because they couldn't/unable to become a part of LE. And you have people who hate you simply because you wear a uniform.

This job is a lifestyle. You already noted you now see things differently... like how everyone lies/is disingenuous/has own agenda? My advise is to try very, very hard NOT to bring that cynical attitude home. Or at least, tune it waaayyyy down with the family. A regular or normal family setting that you can go home to each night (or morning) is very, very important. Always, always remember that you're depending on them just as much as they're depending on you.

Also remember that a 20 or 25 year career to retirement is a marathon, not a sprint. So watch out for burnout. Change assignments once in a while if possible. And avoid the three "B" temptations: babes, booze, and promises of easy $bucks$.

Good luck and stay safe.
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Last edited by Patchman; 10-28-2012 at 16:42..
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Old 10-28-2012, 16:40   #5
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Sometimes it is like having the best ringside seat to the greatest show on earth. Sometimes it is like being the ring master for the greatest show on earth.
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Old 10-28-2012, 16:49   #6
Hack
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patchman View Post
And avoid the three "B" temptations: babes, booze, and promises of easy $bucks$.

Good luck and stay safe.
First congratulations on making it this far, and good luck in furthering your career. Most everything that has been said I would just be repeating others. Even what is posted below this is basically a summation of a lot of things that have been said, but I thought I would share a little of what I have observed over the years with you.

Just adding a little something to what Patchman said in this posting. It's about the three B temptations. I have seen more havoc created with these three than about anything else. I have seen it happen inside the fence, and have heard of it happening outside the fence.

Babes: The thing about babes is that there are those who are good people. But, not all of them are. Some are directly after your badge; others are after breaking up marriages, (which also applies to the male of the human species); and then there are those who will do what they think they have to do get out of trouble, and make you part of their solution.

Booze: I have seen people loose their jobs over the mishandling of booze. Either a lack of temperance concerning it; or a lack of understanding concerning it. Then all kinds of trouble results from one or both of those issues.

Easy Bucks: Looking the other way for a crime to be committed will net some people money. Moving a package; (trafficking in illegal goods); some things even getting a person involved in RICO charges, and any number of other things. I have people who are in the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons because of nonsense.

If you believe you are about to get involved with anything that could make you loose your job, stop. If you are already involved, you may as well come clean now; before you are found out, and convicted of a crime.

I have seen any number of the things that I have mentioned. I have been fortunate in a little over twenty years of being a correctional officer in not being caught up in any of this stuff that I have mentioned. Not all people I have known can say that.
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Old 10-28-2012, 22:58   #7
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As others have posted try and change assignments if possible every so often. Just as you one day noticed that you have changed into something better, you can just as easily change to something worse. It has the added benefit of opening your eyes to other aspects of LE.

Make it a point to go out of your way to help someone that hasnt asked for help every so often. As mundane as this sounds it can keep you on the level and remain focused on what this job is all about.

I am 12 years in, and dont care to remember somethings but at the end of the day I wouldnt want to change the experiences I have had as it has made me the person I am today.

As is often said this is the greatest job on earth. Hold on for the ride and stay safe.
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Old 10-29-2012, 01:49   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patchman View Post

Also remember that a 20 or 25 year career to retirement is a marathon, not a sprint. So watch out for burnout. Change assignments once in a while if possible.
This man is very wise. I received some of the very same advice from a very wise sergeant who has watched my career from afar. I've always been a "full-throttle" cop. I've found recently that can't be maintained for a full career. In my case, I broke myself physically, then realized what I was doing to myself mentally. I'll be fine with a few more months of physical rehab, but if I hadn't gotten those words when I needed them, I'd have worked myself into the ground, just to do it.

The job was here before us. The job will be here long after us. We may miss it, and we may be spoken of at BS sessions for many years to come. But eventually, we'll be but a shadow, a faded picture on a wall, maybe a plaque somewhere in the office. The job will continue, long after we're dead and forgotten.

But what really matters, are those who matter to us. Our families, our friends, our spouses and children. They deserve our best just as much as the people we serve and protect. They deserve a "full-throttle dad" or mom. Give 100% at work, but leave a little left for the family, so you can give them 100% when you're home.
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