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Do Police Officers Matter?

Police work is the forced evolution of your perceptions of the human condition. Every moral code, belief and preconceived deal of socially appropriate behavior will be assaulted, shaken and taken to the turf in a law enforcement career.

Police work rattles your adrenalin cage, slaps you in the face with raw reality and gives you 3 seconds to make rational, informed—possibly life-or-death—decisions.

Imagine this: your work day is punctuated by having 20 tons of water dropped on you—sometimes someone, or your intuition, shouts a warning, sometimes not. The water is a threat to you, to those around you and to your fellow officers. It is inevitable and inescapable. You must deal with it every day—every time it happens.

So…do you train to become strong enough to drop to the ground and endure the water's onslaught? Do you train to become agile enough to leap out of harms way?

Or, do you train yourself to become an arrow that pierces the water, splitting and deflecting its' power, while you remain steadfast and totally aware of it—even while surrounded by its' potentially lethal torrent?

If your only need is to survive the deluge and continue on, any of these training options might be acceptable. But what if self-preservation was only conditional? What if every work day centered on waiting for, and being prepared for, the water?

Waiting for, anticipating and reacting to the water.

Ever ready, ever alert, ever prepared.

Police work demands being prepared to act—and that demand creates tremendous anticipation of action. You watch, you wait, you review action options. You listen, learn and wait some more. And eventually you see that anticipation of action has to be controlled, regulated and educated—so it becomes a finely tuned and accurate trigger for adrenalin-induced action.

The toll of maintaining this level of awareness can be staggering to officers, but with experience comes an ability to balance perspectives and accept the realities encountered.
Police work is a daily parade of people in crisis. And every crisis is unique to the people involved, but may be based on a conflict common to many. One shift may include a dozen domestic disturbances, all caused by families in crisis, but all unique due to the different individuals involved.

Experienced police officers accept that every person encounters times of crisis in their lives and that most people are not accustomed to crisis and don't react well to it. Emotions can be excessive, responses out of character and judgments impaired. The police officer becomes the critical incident expert during those times of crisis. Their uniform, badge, weapons and vehicle are tools that reinforce this role, but their demeanor and actions establish their authority as a welcome reality within the unreality of the critical incident.

Officers are expected to know all the rules; render fair, impartial judgments; rebuild realities and read minds. While others scream in agony, reel in horror or become enraged—the officer must take actions that protect all, enforce the law and resolve chaos. Regardless of personal injury or threat to life and limb, police officers are expected to perform their duties professionally and without hesitation.

The tragedy and human suffering that touch an officers' life takes a special fortitude of spirit and mind to keep that touch from creating wounds in personal realities and personalities. In times of trial, the camaraderie borne of this specialty fuses to become a bond that brings officers, and balance, back—safe in body and sound of mind.

Submitted by:

George Godoy

Sgt. George Godoy retired from police work after 22 years. He was assigned to police recruitment for 5 years and was specifically involved in the police hiring process. He is founder of: http://www.PoliceExam911.com




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