Editorial

Breaking out . . . Why I quit my job as a police officer and I’m not looking back

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Breaking out . . . Why I quit my job as a police officer and I’m not looking back

As far as jobs go, being a cop is a pretty badda**. I mean, c’mon, let’s look at the job description:

  • Drive fast
  • Carry a gun
  • Chase bad guys (on foot and in cars)
  • Enjoy the admiration of your community
  • Always get the girl (or guy, whichever)
  • Keep the peace
  • Help people
  • Save lives
  • Be a hero
  • Wear a cape
I Liked Being a Cop

I liked being a police officer. A lot at first. It was new and shiny and exciting. It was fun.

I worked nights and looked forward to doing it. I drove fast and carried a gun. I waded in the depths of human depravity and looked forward to going back for more the next day. I loved my shift mates; those brothers and sisters in blue who I know had my back at all costs. I loved my sergeant and knew he had my back.

Folks, most of you will never have any idea of what it is like to be a cop. To feel those feelings. To be pumped and having fun while being scared out of your f-ing mind at the same time. To know that you are about to open a door and there is a suicidal man with an axe on the other side (true story).

Or, differently, to kick down a door and not know what the hell to expect on the other side. You just can’t get that feeling from watching C.O.P.S.

To be a cop is to have a front row seat to the greatest show on earth. It was Jerry Springer live every day, and you are the big bald guy who gets to burst in from stage-left and take out the trash when it gets rowdy.

JER-REY! JER-REY!

Did I mention drive fast and carry a gun? Yeah. It was a pretty freaking awesome job. Until . . . it wasn’t.

Calls Became Mundane

Eventually the calls became mundane. The nights became routine. And when the new and shiny wears off, what is left? Well, I will show you. This is the job description of patrol officer that I posted on LinkedIn:

  • Drive in endless circles.
  • Deal with other people’s problems.
  • Wade in the depths of human depravity.
  • Baby-sit adult humans.
  • Sometimes take really exciting and fun calls involving death and danger.
  • Make inappropriate jokes to deal with the constant negativity.
  • Drive fast with lights and sirens (really fun!!).
  • Deal with things most people would prefer not to (humans covered in human feces anyone?).
  • Try and help the best you can when and where you can.

I didn’t write the job description above for this post. I wrote this a few days ago to describe my former profession. It was off the top of the head. From the heart. It was how a cop four-weeks removed from the profession feels about his former job. It’s raw. And what you will see above is an accurate description of a patrol officer. At least it was for me.

Incredible Profession

Being a police officer is an incredible profession, post-job cynicism aside. I learned more about people and humanity than most will ever learn from a lifetime in “normal” jobs. (Possible exceptions would be paramedic, firefighter, ER staff in a major city. Those professions also get a strong dose of human depravity every day.) I even got to patch a few bullet holes (*wink-nod to you I700’s) and maybe change a few lives.

Getting Burned

But after a while, it does just become just a job. After a while, the rookie stars fade from your eyes. You get burned by suspects. You get burned by the people you are trying to help. You get burned by the criminal justice system. You get burned by your department. You get burned by the politicians in the DA’s office and on the City Council. Wanna know why cops are cynical? It is because they’ve been burned. A lot. By everyone.

So what happens when a really cool gig turns into just another job? Simple, you start focusing on all the negative crap that surrounds the job. And for someone who started policing in 2014, there was plenty to focus on. As a matter of fact, I think most of my cohort would agree that, as far as the attitude surrounding the profession of policing is concerned, 2014 was one hell of a bad year to start. There was Ferguson and Baltimore and we had plenty of our own drama in Austin. All of a sudden, I read the news and got a strong feeling that certain parts of our society felt that I was just a jack-booted thug who evil-laughs while finding ways to violate people’s civil rights. That’s a tough pill to swallow for someone who took on a job to be one of the good guys.

Side Bar

Commercial break: There IS such a thing as the “Ferguson effect.” Constantly bash on cops as an entire profession and you WILL see a thing called de-policing.

There are bad cops just as there are bad doctors, lawyers, and business executives (and politicians. Don’t forget politicians!). Bad cops should be ferreted out with the ferocity of a lion pouncing on a gazelle. But when you start making up stories and mask them as fact; when you intentionally agitate the mob and start forming lynch-parties in the absence of due-process; when you negatively frame an entire profession to further an agenda, you are going to create a situation where all of a sudden the personal risk to become or remain a cop ain’t worth the hourly wage and shiny badge. That is all. Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.

Bull Slop

And, of course, there was all the other work-place BS associated with any other job: Politics. Drama. A policy manual so thick that if you dropped it you would break a toe. Working nights and weekends and missing parties and get-togethers and a social life. Working overtime for extra cash on all your days off and still feeling like you can’t get ahead. Day after day. Week after week. Year after year.

Before I knew it, I found myself in a muddy trench. Policing, once fun and exciting, became a slog through a pit. I was caught in attrition warfare, a stalemate, and warriors don’t do that. Warriors maneuver. We infiltrate. We find the flank and overcome the enemy with speed, initiative, and surprise.

Pulling the Trigger

Well, maybe not that much speed. It took a couple more years for me to pull the trigger. In my case, I began to come to the realization that I wasn’t going to be a cop for much longer after about my second year. I tried to stifle it, to push the thoughts down. I so wanted to love the job. I tried to tell myself that I loved it. But I didn’t. Policing is a fun and worthwhile profession. It needs to be done and deserves to be done by those who are incredibly qualified.

But it is not my calling.

There was always some nagging and persistent thought in the back of my mind that my path was meant to diverge from policing. That I am supposed to be something different. That I was supposed to take the path less travelled; all Robert Frost and s**t.

Planning My Escape

I began planning my escape mid-way through year four. Initially I was going to start a side-hustle and try and grow that into a business. Then, after year 12 I would, as our employment contract dictated, vest my pension and make my way out able to cash out my sick leave. Good plan, right? Makes sense. Conservative. Likely to be blessed as reasonable by those who are reasonable. But THEN . . .

In December 2017, after months of negotiation, the Austin City Council, those blessed politicians trying so desperately hard to be seen as progressively progressive, decided to trip over their own feet and vote, unamimously, to NOT ratify a contract that had been negotiated in good faith by the Austin Police Association and their own selected negotiating team.

As much as I want to (see post-script), I will not go further on that subject. Matter of fact, I gotta pause here. I am getting all verklempt. I’m going to get some coffee and take a break. I get angry.

Momentary Pause

Ok, I am back.

That vote, ladies and gentlemen, is what a warrior would call an open flank. Well, since I was escaping, I guess it was more a hole in the lines. An opening. Whatever.

After the council’s vote, I stumbled around in stunned frustration for a couple of months before I realized that, without a contract, I could leave now and ca$h out that $ick leave.

What?

Have my cake AND eat it too? Now that is an opportunity that must be seized. Carpe diem and stuff. So, I did. One day in late February, I mustered up all my courage, walked into my sergeant’s office, and gave him my two week’s notice. I shot through the hole.

Risky Business

Is my business off the ground? Nope. Did I make the reasonable decision to jump ship when my income was fully replaced? Nope. Am I scared? Yep. It’s a big risk. I know. I recognize that I could end up desperate in a few months, with no income and the savings gone, flat on my face. But risk is a part of the game. And sometimes you just gotta go for it.

Warriors Reside in Every Department

I will end this post with a big note: It is the men and women who LOVE policing who will bear with it for decades and then some. And those warriors reside in every department across this great nation.

For them, the profession of policing is a calling. They live it. They breathe it. They don’t want to do anything else, and they would do it no matter what. No matter the polemic and negative BS that certain segments of this society might throw their way. They will still run to the sound of gunfire. They will still kick down that door not knowing what is on the other side. They will still walk up to that package to make sure it is not a bomb. And they will do it for you. With love in their hearts. Because they are warriors. And because they are the sheepdog. And it is their life’s work. God bless them and keep them. We need them badly.

Whoever reads this, all of you out there in internet-land, you need to shower your love on your cops. They need it now more than ever.  Oh, and give them pay raises too: shower them in Benjamins because love does’t pay the bills. And a well-paid cop is a happy cop. And don’t you want your cops to be happy?

Thanks for reading,

– Dustin

P.S: I have a lot of emotion (anger is my go-to emotion) surrounding the Austin City Council and their decision. I even wrote a blog post about it. Then I decided to take it down (nobody read it anyway) because I thought it was too angry. Even for me. The self-appointed King of Righteous Anger. Whew. I get hot just thinking about it.

P.S. #2: Note: Hey Austin City Council, when the long-standing president of the Austin NAACP publicly states that you made a mistake on not ratifying the contract . . . well, you done messed up A-ARON. Pure and simple. Just admit it. You will feel better and your cops might, maybe, regain a fraction of an ounce of respect for you. You have zero respect right now. The layman can read more about their terrible decision here.

Dustin Hammit wrote this bio about Dustin Hammit. In 3rd person. Using his full name the whole time. Yeah. He’s that guy.

Dustin Hammit is a Texan who comes from Texas and is damn proud of it. He was born in Austin and raised in Georgetown, TX. He went to Texas A&M, got a sweet pair of riding boots, and left with a piece of paper that hangs on a wall. Whoop!  

After college, he joined the Marine Corps because Marines are awesome, have the best uniforms, and always get the girls. He went to a lot of places and did some stuff. Then he left the active duty Marine Corps, did a corporate job for a year, before deciding that desks and offices suck. So he became a cop. Then he decided that working for politicians sucks. And he has control issues and always wants to do things his way. So he stopped being a cop.

Now he writes about breaking free of the grind and living life his own way. He interviews awesome people. You can read it at www.insurgentcapitalist.com. You can also like his sweet FB page at The Insurgent Capitalist. Or, if you are more of a Twitter person, he tweets at @TheInsurgenC (witty, no?).  

Dustin Hammit is somehow still married to the most understanding and patient woman in the entire world. Together, they spawned 4 more just like him (I mean, they’re like clones. It’s eerie). If you would like to shower Dustin Hammit with positive comments and affection, please email him at dustin@insurgentcapitalist.com.

Negative comments and death threats can be emailed to kimjong-un@northkorea.gov. That is all. 

Well, people who get me will like it. Everyone else will roll their eyes and send death threats to Kim Jong-Un. 

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Author
Dustin Hammit

Dustin Hammit wrote this bio about Dustin Hammit. In 3rd person. Using his full name the whole time. Yeah. He’s that guy.Dustin Hammit is a Texan who comes from Texas and is damn proud of it. He was born in Austin and raised in Georgetown, TX. He went to Texas A&M, got a sweet pair of riding boots, and left with a piece of paper that hangs on a wall. Whoop!  After college, he joined the Marine Corps because Marines are awesome, have the best uniforms, and always get the girls. He went to a lot of places and did some stuff. Then he left the active duty Marine Corps, did a corporate job for a year, before deciding that desks and offices suck. So he became a cop. Then he decided that working for politicians sucks. And he has control issues and always wants to do things his way. So he stopped being a cop.Now he writes about breaking free of the grind and living life his own way. He interviews awesome people. You can read it at www.insurgentcapitalist.com. You can also like his sweet FB page at The Insurgent Capitalist. Or, if you are more of a Twitter person, he tweets at @TheInsurgenC (witty, no?).  Dustin Hammit is somehow still married to the most understanding and patient woman in the entire world. Together, they spawned 4 more just like him (I mean, they’re like clones. It’s eerie). If you would like to shower Dustin Hammit with positive comments and affection, please email him at dustin@insurgentcapitalist.com.Negative comments and death threats can be emailed to kimjong-un@northkorea.gov. That is all. Well, people who get me will like it. Everyone else will roll their eyes and send death threats to Kim Jong-Un. 

73 Comments

Serving since 1991. It is a calling I suppose?

Serving since 1983 and still going, it is a calling, but like many it has come at a cost of 3 relationships. 2 an 1/2 years to go…….

Dustin, You are a true hero. God Bless you for your service.

Mr.Hammit, you are freakin’
Hysterical.
Best regards,
Matt
(Former Houstonian)

Yeah. I get it. I retired after 30 years of gearing up. I’m just surprised more badges don’t jump ship. Be safe, live a happy life, take care of your clones, and be successful!

This all rings true. And yet after all these years in retirement, I still think and act like a cop. It just becomes who you are. People who know me and what I used to do respect me, at least outwardly.those who don’t know me, sometimes suspect or outright just guess. I don’t know why that is.

Truth. once a warrior always a warrior. It never leaves our mindset.

i spent almost 17 years wearing the badge. i left the profession due to personal reasons and a secondary job that was supposed to ride me into retirement “Risky business”. i miss the job every day, it truly is a calling. traffic/dui enforcement/ dre was my life line and passion. administration and both internal and external politics is killing the profession and pushing the good officers out. all that will be left is the call humper’s and those that do only enough to keep their job. sad.

Sorry about the grammer and text, the all capitals in this section contributed to the above

Awesome read. It’s reassuring to know that I am not the only one with A similar experience. Somethings are just not meant to be. Thank you for Writing this. 🙂

I spent almost 18 years on the job. I was diagnosed with MS and was able to retire. Loved the job, hated the politics and the MS was a blessing to get me out of a thankless, unappreciated, job where the city and the department distance themselves from you at the slightest. Respect to those that are still working the job.

Policing as a pridession is a calling, not a job. Serving the good citizens of a community is an honoR. Its good that dustin Recognized his bitterness and got out before he Made real mistakes. This career is not for everyone and if you as an officer are unable and unwilling to find balance and coping mechanisms,its better that you resign as dUstin did heRe.

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But for the most part, they are not. instead they are protected.

I put on a badge 32 years ago and Will be retiring next month. I loved the job. I enjoyed catching the bad guys and pRotecting the sheep of society. It was alot of fun. I have seen alot of changes in three decades of L.E. work. I just can’t take the current Environment anymore. The job is not the same as it use to Be. Im Tired of going into fights with what seems like having one hand tied behind by back with all the new policies and proceedures and worrying about Be politically correct and not offending anyone’s feelings. What a loaD of crap. This kindLer/gentler version of L.E. work is going to get more officers killed. The only thing an officer and their department should worry about is if the officer and their fellow brothers/sisters Go home at the end of their shift to their famalies! It should Not be about whether they offended someone’s feelings. When society as a whole becomes more viOlent and the police agencies Are teaching newer officers to becoming more kind & gentle,,,,it is not a good outcome for the police. I Worry for the next generation of L.E. officers. Be safe!

Can’t agree with you anymore, I’ve been in the LE circus now 31 years, started dispatching back in 1987. I still enjoy the dispatching, but the stress level is through the roof. We have admin that don’t care about its employees, all they want to do is suspend employees, ( good ones at that), that came to work and did their job, not the political hires. I’m trying to bail out, but scared that I can’t find something that I wanna do, just. It sure what I wanna do.
So Dustin hammit if you read this, I would really like to chat one day.

Thanks too you all and be safe !!

Michael

I left the job full time afTer 14 yearS, 10 months. The first 5 or so years were AWESOME! I’d even come In on my days off and ride with fellow officerS. I’m not sure at what point my fun Job went to the the most depressing thing in my life. I hateD getting ready for work knowing what the next 12 hours involved. I didn’t even like A newer offiCer’s pulling up beside Because I knew he wanted to talk about cop stUff. I worked at a small departmenT, one officer per shift. I got so used to being by mYselF, I didn’t want to talk to no one besides answering and questionIng myself on how I could leAve this job. I became very negAtive towards the job. If I had to answer a call, they were messing my routin of doing nothing up. I remember many nights sitting in parking lots at 0230Am, tired as hell with my mind Completely blank just praying I dIdn’t get a call. That isn’t hEalthy. Fortunately for mE, i started a started a lawn care business 5 years into my carEer. Lord knows any cop has to have two jobs to in order to have any spending money. It was a job I took pride in and pEople apprEciated my work. I actully cared more for My part time job Than my full time job. In june of 2015, after many, many hours of questioning myself, I walked into the town managers office with my two week notice. I consider myself a tough guy I guess. I left her office crying because I knew i just gAve my security, retirement, 401k, Free insurance etc. i was so scared but, I believed in myself and I didn’t want to live with ‘what if’. This June will be three years. It was the absolute best decision i have ever made in my life. I’ve tripled my salary, i no longer have thOse dreadful feelings before goinG into work and I’m proud of my job. I’m still a reserve officer so I haven’t completely left. 12-24 hours a month is all I Want. Police officers are important and are normal people who just Chose that career. The hours, weekends, holIdays away from home and family is not fun. I salute and respect everY mAn and woman in uniform because I know how hard the job is.

Not sure whAt’s up with the grammer issues.

it’s a problem with this website’s design. when typing a post you cannot see if the letters are capitalized or lower case, they are all small caps. Then you post and get to see how it looks.

Thanks for nailing it in the head. I feel the exact same way, still in transition, but glad to hear everything worked out for someone in my same situation. Thank you for the time you put in and congrats on the new venture

I left the badge after 10 years of service. I worked in several areas from patrol to det. & lots in between. It was a good career But i never felt like it was what i “signed up for” to mamy politics & BS. I got the paperweight of a policy mauel threw at me more times than can count. I joked IA had a seat with my name in it, but it was always beca i felt i was doing what was right Rathe than what was accept bynthe brass. Anyway i walked in gave the notice & took the leap almost 18mOnthes ago now. I currenTly a HS coach for mult sports & live every minute. The badge gave me family (blue & blood) knowledge & excitement, but most of all it Gave me sttength to Walk away & never look back!

Thanks Dustin for your article.I worked 27 years as a police OFficer retiring 2015, since I was a little boy i wanted to be a policeman. I retired from the los angeles police department. I was well liked and respected as a training officEr by my peers.. I did 23 years in a black and white. I can say this yes it becomes routine. The feelings of Driving code 3 in a city where Most people do not pull to the left while some poor victim is being beAten to death makes you wonder if People are so self centerEd that getting out of Our way to save a life is just to much oF a bother for them to turn toward the right curB. The media and the general public who generalize us all as evil everytime they find one bad cop or bad shootjng. The complaint system in which every COMPLAINT no matter hOw false. Complaints Are aLlOwed even when a citizen Is Proved to have made it all up. there is no folLow up or prosecution for makinG a false complaint toward a cop. This is unfair and gets officers anxiety, loss of pay, marital issues, divorce. Ptsd, aNd suicide. We are picked on constantly by the people we save and constantly bullied by tHe media. Cops and the criminal Justice system is not perfect but neither are you. Instead of livjng in the solution most like to sit at home watch the news and say Ignorant slurs to your local officer on the beat who volunteers on weekends on skidrow helping the homeless get fed and treat them like a human. Trust me how many tiMes Has this cop heard you Joe citizen say, “can’t we get rid of all these homeless people?” I would alway give tHe same respOnse, “homelessness is a soCial economical problem not a Police problem.” Most need medical help, pschological help, medication etc. how many times have i talked to the homeless and fOuNd out that tHey were In tHe Vietnam war lost many friends suffer from Ptsd and ask Joe Or joan citizen for chAnge and and you the public tell them to f$&@ off and get a Job. Oh wait i forgot the police are Expected to solve every dam problem in the community with no HElp from most of you and now You want a break for speeding in you own neighborhooD As you scream at yOur neighbors to slow doWn. Oh yeah i forgot the coPs are the bad guys!!??!! Anyone who wants to be a cop go for it. They are hiring everywhere unless of course you have a felony.not to sound jaded i must saY thank you Los angeles i Now know i am not the bad guY.

I’m just star my 22nd year on the job, but I’ve come close to throwing in the towel a few times. Thank goodness for stubbornness, eh? It’s definitely not the same job i signed up for!

36 years, Dallas pd. Saw too much, did too much and buried too many. I was done.

DON’T FORGET ALL THE OTHER JOB “BENEFITS”. WE ALL HAVE OR LEAVE WITH ONE OF MORE OF THESE: HEART ATTACK(S), NIGHTMARES, ALCOHOLISM, SLEEP DISORDERS, DIVORCE, STRESS RELATED ILLNESSES, ANTI-SOCIAL BEHAVIOR, BAD BACKS, NECK INJURIES – ALL THE THINKS THAT HAUNT US THAT WE CAN NEVER SPEAK OF – AND THINK OF ALL OF THOSE WE LOST TO SUICIDE.

Joe,
You nailed the job details, non of those ill affects ever will be recognized by the Admin or any political affiliation, NO one knows what it’s like dealing and seeing devastating sites day in and day out, that takes a toll on a good cop. The good cop then gets sick, etc and can’t return too full duty, then gets denied medical and can’t leave on a medical PTSD……according to politicians POST-TRAUMATIC-DISORDER, doesn’t exists in our jobs. Then the officers have to suffer financial ruins, which lead into a whole different set of problems.

GreAt read thanks. I have family member new to policing and has mentioned the FergusiSon effect. Do not want to get sueD, many obstacles to preforming job.

Thank you for this article. My husband shared it on Facebook and said “this guy has it RIGHt.” He was a cop for 15 years before back surgery left him permanently disabled. He is so cynical and it is often a cause for conflict between us because I see everything as rainbows and puppies. This article really put in perspective some things he has said to me before, but never all together like this. Seeing all these points out together so Poignantly helps me understand his cynicism a little more. I will never truly understand because I didn’t live that life, but maybe now I can be more forgiving of it. He will always be a sheepdog. It was a calling for him and he misses it every day in spite of the BULLShit that comes with the job. He wants to be out there HAVINg his BROTHERs’ & SISTERs’ backs. He wants to rid the streets of the bad guys and save the sheep of the world. Not being able to do it anymore really takes a toll on him. He is one of the GOOD guys. Thank you for helping me understand him more.

Dustin, you are the right type of pers to change what is wrong with this countrY. It’s people with your skills, your determination, your energy, your KNOWLEDGE, your understanding that puts a light on what your community needs more than the pathetic politicNs who ate running this country into the ground! Take what you have learned and teach your community to be better and be that leader of your cIty, community, county, dIstrict, or state! Become the best you can be to solve these problems amd prevent those that would perpetuate it! Thank you for all of your service!!!

I had to call it quits after 38 years when the administration demanded discipline when an officer tried to do the right things. i was convinced that action was the wrong message to the troops. as a lieutenant, i had no faith in those vested with running the police department. the 12th largest city in the nation. a very sad commentary.

Especially saD AS SO FEW DEMAND DISCIPLINE WHEN OFFICERS DO THE WRONG THING.

Did it for 13 years. loved my job! Finally just got so sick of the lies and politics. i hated leaving but my stress level is SOooo much better now!

i USED TO SAY, IT’S NOT WHAT I DO, BUT WHO I AM. I STILL FEEL THAT WAY. BUT I WENT TO LAW SCHOOL WHILE ON THE HOUSTON POLICE S.W.A.T. TEAM. GRADUATED, LEFT THE TEAM IN 1990, AND HAVE BEEN DEFENDING POLICE OFFICERS EVER SINCE, MOSTLY IN FEDERAL COURTS. TRIAL IS THE CLOSEST THING TO A SHOOT-OUT, EXCEPT IT NORMALLY LASTS A WEEK OR TWO, INSTEAD OF A FEW SECONDS. YOUR ARTICLE NAILED IT – THE POLITICIANS AND “ACTIVISTS” DO NOT REALIZE WHAT MIGHT BE LEFT IF THEY PUSH OUT ALL THE REAL POLICE WHO LOVE THE JOB, AND LOVE PEOPLE. GOD BLESS.

Fred was the guy who represented me through a bs civil rights lawsuit back in 2009 and did a jam up job. it went all the way to the 5th circuit before is was tossed and I never saw the inside of courtroom the entire time. You, sir, may not carry a badge, but your skills allow those of us that continue to follow our calling, serve with the knowledge that justice sometimes prevails. I just started my 28th year and am looking to do two more and change, in no small part to you. kudos

Ive been on the job 35 years and plan on aging out, im not a quitter. i still walk a steady foot post and eat a sausage and pepper on the armo everyday. i still carry my wheel gun unlike these so n so’s. if you know how to man a foot post this is a job that just keeps giving. in my spare time , which isnt often because i got to get mine while the getting is good, i go plinking and collect cans . it helps supplement my income till i finally age out. so far my monthly projection is 18,781.29, but thats not good enough for imtool. i gotta gets mine while the getting is good. another thing i hate is when these young un’s complain about vacation picks and that I take all the summer months. summer time is the best time to collect cans. i head on over to orchard beach in my vw bug and collect hundreds of them. people are just throwing money at imtool left and right, stupid so n so’s. ok i go get mine whiles the getting is good.

41 YEARS IN (TWO +20 YEAR STINTS IN TWO DIFFERENT DEPTS; NYPD/A CAPE COD’S TOWN CHIEF OF POLICE). JOB HAS GOTTEN SCREWY SINCE I CAME ON IN 1969. NEVER SAW THE LACK OF RESPECT AND HOSTILITY THAT’S SO COMMON TODAY.

ANYWAY, HAVE A GREAT LIFE!! YOU DID YOUR TIME IN THE TRENCHES.

I spent a total of 33 years serving my fellow man. Being a Police Officer is definitely a calling. Even at the end of my career I could think of nothing else I wanted to do. I am the Sheepdog! I still watch people and try not to sit with my back to the door. I look at VEHICLES REGISTRATION Stickers. Constantly see violations and want to do something about it- BUT…I can’t! It Infuriates me and makes me feel lost. God knew I wouldn’t leave on my own so HE intervened. I was injuried on the job (back surgery) which caused me to retire. Now disabled. The job and how your treated as an officer has CHANGED. Never was a polititian, nor did I then or do I now have a use for ’em. Always have an agenda. Administrators didn’t have a spine, just a “good ole boy system”. Miss the job not those at the top, but I DIGRESS. Those of us who can say we were a member of the “thin blue line”, were chosen by God no matter how long we did the job. God bless the peacemakers. We all have ptsd to SO.E extwnt, drink too much, or ARe physically and mentally scarred. I don’t regret my choice of careers.

Every bit of it is true. I served for 8 years until i could no longerstand the bs and hypocrisy from the administration. I don’t regret my choice to leave. Do i miss it? Sure sometimes but who wouldn’t miss the fun and exciting parts.

REtired after 27 full time years and 4 yrs reserve and retired due to a hearing loss that made me uncomfortable while working the street. It was a job i loved, only thing i miss now is the guys i worked with all that time. would i do it again yep in a heart only would have started at 21 yrs old rather THAN33YRS OLD. THE RETIREMENT IN CALIFORNIS IS A LOT BETTER THAN TX SORRY GUYS.

I’ve been at it now for right at 10 years and the only reason I feel like I can’t jump ship at this point is because of the benefits I have vested. And I don’t want to make the same mistake twice because I left the Air Force way too early. Love the men and women that I work with but it’s hard to be a police officer nowadays

I did a hard 20 yrs in South Bronx&Harlem in the NYPD.A FEW SHOOTOUTS WITH VERY CLOSECALLS .Im one of the fortinate ones that made it though there were very hard times when I thought i really WOULDNT.BElief in god,Prayer,hope, and A good family got me THROUGH.YES…Itd an extremely hard thanless job but sooo rewarding when you save a LIFE…INcluding one’s OWN.Peace&Gluck to YOU.Great article

Served from 1976 to 1999. Sure, i miss it. But it is a young mans profession. There are lots of memories both good and bad. I was able to survive my tour. to all of those that are still enjoying “their career.” i wish you godspeed. Remember when it’s over it will seem like the time flew by.

20 and honorably out here. Hats off to the new generation. The best advice I can share is this: Always do what is right in your heart. Your career, your family, your coworkers and your community all depend on YOU to always do the right thing. It’s very easy to get caught up in everything else. That’s the secret to having a long and honorable career. I’ve seen so many careers shortened and families destroyed doing otherwise.

Absolutely loved this write up and I totally see where You’re coming from. I support our enforcement and always will 100%, it’s a shame that the US is going down the path it’s on… I only see it getting worse.

“Negative comments and death threats can be emailed to kimjong-un@northkorea.gov. That is all.”… had me laughing out loud while waiting in a service department. I’m sure people were wondering wth??

Keep doing you… thank you for your services and God bless you!! ❤

Worked from 1987 to 2018 from Police Officer to Lieutenant for the NYPD, in Rockaways. I did like my work, but after about 9 years into my career, and being burned by the system, I learned to do the job by the book, in order to protect myself, and the officers who I supervised. My Last Commanding Officer did not appreciate my very conservative by the book policing, and refusal to downgrade crimes on reports. as a result she created false department charges against me. One day after I was informed that my assignment was being changed because of retaliation from my C.O. , I said I’m done, and just retired.

26 1/2 years spent in policing, starting in 1991. I have to admit, I enjoyed almost every bit of it. lots of crazy, dangerous situations like pretty much every cop – and was thrilled by it. loved it. i went out as a “boss”, but on my last day (no “V-ing” our for me), I changed my hours from 8a to 4 pm to 4p to midnight – and hit the streets. was determined to go out the way i came in: patrolling and locking up someone breaking the law. and I did.

But, all that said – I totally understand where dustin is coming from, and don’t find fault with his decision. policing really is different today. I feel sorry for those joining now – who won’t know what they are missing. i wish everyone of them “good luck” and a long and fulfilling career.but I just don’t think they will have the same, great ride that i did and all of those cops who started the job 25 -30 years or more ago.

good luck, dustin, in whatever you do. hopefully it will be writing. you have a knack.

Started in 1976,Retired in 2004 from Texas largest Police Dept. Lots of assignments but never a desk job. Never tried to promote,happy on the streets. Started with another dept in 2006 as a undercover warrant officer been there 12 years. Still out there daily chasing (and catching) bad guys at 61yrs. With the younger officers. I’m EITHER crazy or it’s what you describe as a calling. Enjoyed reading your story. Thanks..

Started in 1976,Retired in 2004 from Texas largest Police Dept. Lots of assignments but never a desk job. Never tried to promote,happy on the streets. Started with another dept in 2006 full-time as a undercover warrant officer been there 12 years. Still out there daily chasing (and catching) bad guys at 61yrs. With the younger officers.with two good retirements I’m not doing it for the money. I’m EITHER crazy or it’s what you describe as a calling. Enjoyed reading your story. Thanks..

DustIn
Jusy wanred to say That yes your arti rIngS very true of todays way in pOLicing, it wasnt alwAYS that way. I did 33 Years in 2 states, TeXas and NM retiring out of NM. I am back living the Dream down on the gulf coast.
But, baCk wHeN i started in 1980 in Texas, it too was a fun gig. We always said that we couldnt belie we got paid to do tHis job. But it was differenT. We could fight someone over an arrest, shake hands and they would get in the car and go to jail. We couLd pOur out a minors case oF beer and send them home Instead of calling thier parents we could build respect And freindships we the youths.
We could flap a joint in the wind and gain an in formant for bIgger cases.
Not after around 1990’s. Then it became tampering with eVidenCe. Everyone hAd to be charged. You put your hands on a suspect, you better arresT hiM.
And lawsuits. Man i hold the record. Been sued 21times. 12 in one night. Never did anything wroNg. NaMe REMOVED from Suit but ciTy paid like clockwork.
Things changed drastically. NEw officers cOming in thought they had an enTiTlement policy. Pick of shifTs best days off. Get the new cars. Totsl disrespect for senior officers. DiSrespct Toward supervisors. Like i said. Entitlement issues. Didnt think they should have to work thier way up the ladder. Some learned tO behave some didnt make it passed probation.
1 spent the biggest part of my last 15 or so Years either as an investIgator or Narcotics agent. I guess it was lucky fOr me since as an agent/sgt i didnt really have to deal with the bs.
I retired in dec 2013 and also was disabled due to a neck injuty.
Furguson and all the other bull sh. Happened after.
To those who served back before Fuerguson And the others we knew what polcing was anD id say we knew the fun. Now its not. Im glad im out. And no, i wont go back back. To those of you still serving, GOD bless you and kEep you safe. And please go hOMe at the end if your shift. The criminals out there aint worth your life or hEalth. They are the ones who dont get to go home at night.
BE SAFE OUT THERE.

I came on in 2009 with a relatively large sheriff’s office. Absolutely loved the job with every ounce of my being…for the first few years. Then something changed, and it wasn’t me. It was the people. It was the administration. Attitudes toward police changed. I tried my best to be a good cop, but as time went on it seemed like more and more people hated us no matter what we did. And rather than stand behind us, the administration gave in to the court of public opinion and hobbled us. I got out. I still miss it, because I do believe police work is my calling. The fact is, the current state of affairs especially in larger metropolitan areas is simply unworkable. God bless and watch over those who chose to press on.

Serving since 1988 two different departments, two completely different approaches to Law Enforcement. The politics and low pay and all that other horse hockey can drag you down. I can’t really think of what else I would do though, even though I dream of retirement all the time.

You hit the nail on the head. After 31 years I ended my career with “the greatest show” on earth in 2014. I never realized as it, but it was the beginning of the end of a great occupation. I retired in may and listened to the on-line scanners as the events unfolded in ferguson. all I could think was, a power greater than me guided me in the right direction!! I work in the schools now as part of a 5-year grant that emphasizes the positive things kids are doing. is that a 365 degree turn or what? I love it and am very proud of my service. as for this article. it is right on…maybe i’ll write a book about the good ole days!

I was a cop for a little over 38 years at several different police agencies… I truly liked the job, the pay wasn’t the greatest but dealing with so many different people was an interesting and learning experience…. I feel sorry for cops these days cause they can’t do the job like we used to… they’re insulted, degraded and in many instances shot at or killed… Society has changed so much it’s scary… I left law enforcement in 2006 and now, 12 years later, it’s just not the same job as it used to be…. Shame…. But I’ll always back any cop, any time if necessary….

there is truth In this article. Been doing this for 24 years, with 5 left to go. I’m so close to getting my full retirement it’d be stupid to leave now…although God knows I’d love to. This job used YO be the bomb, just like you said. Over the years, after having been there and done that with the t-shirt to prove it, the physical wounds (having been shot and way too many fights…you should hear me snap, crackle and pop for the first 3 hours every morning!), and of course THe political and departmental backstabbing. I’VE wanted to be a cop since I was 5, to follow in the footsteps of my dad. Up until the whole Ferguson thing, this was an awesome job. The media has crucified us beyond belief, and now I get blamed for “always” killing unarmed black people. Last time I checked, I’VE been INVILVED in only two shootings, and neither with an unarmed black man. It’s gotten to the point WHere when we try to be nice and play with the kiddies or something, we get blamed for not doing our job of protecting and SERVINg. I teach at OuR academy from time to time, and when I leave I feel so sorry for those young men and women…and I’m so glad I’m not just starting out. Alas, I will be retiring in a few short years and moving out of the country, so peace out and keep up the good fight!!

Leatherneck, Spot on! I’m retired USmc 20yrs, 1st Gulf War Vet, 20 yr Police Vet and looking forward to a second retirement.it’s tough to keep doing the job, but I am reminded everyday,by this…”it’s not what HAPPENS when you get hit, it’s what you do after you get hit” life is hard and will beat you down everyday…its us warriors who make that step to get up, dust off and keep going. i am looking forward to doing something different when and as soon as I can, (grow a beard, oversleep without getting wrote up and not working mandatory overtime) a few more years. i love this country and I know you do to. well said what you wrote, well said. I wish you well and THANKS for YOUR service both in the corps and Police. citizens will never know or understand the regulations that dictate everything a POLICE officer does and is SCRUTINIZED EVERY SECOND by the public, the media politicians and their own DEPARTMENTS.
Semper FI,
Gunny D

when i was typing it was all caps, don’t know what happened, but needs to be fixed

I’m just an old former nam vet & never served a day in law enforcement, but I appreciate every leo out there. i’m the old guy who says “thanks for your service” when I see you someplace. i’m the old fart who picked up your meal tab, along with that of all the leo’s at your table. i’m the guy who slows down & moves a lane to the left when I see you stopping someone on the side of the road. i’m the guy looking to see if you need any help, whatever you are doing. i’m the guy who has followed 3 hit & run drivers & guided you to their locations. the main thing I am is the guy who respects you & what you do.
many of my friends are retired leo’s. most people don’t know the hardships the thin blue line faces. most people don’t know that you worry about what some idiot in the kitchen of a restaurant may have put in your food, like spit or feces. most people don’t notice your concerns about who may be near you in public because they are not targets in this “war on police”. most people don’t notice that you have to work two jobs to make a decent living. most people never even notice that all of your friends are fellow police officers for a reason. I heard a businessman complain about having to wear a tie to work. He should try working a 12 hour shift wearing what you guys carry around. What is it? About 40 pounds…even in summer?
there are a lot of us “civilians” out there who feel just like I feel. you have one of the most difficult jobs on earth & we know it. you are on our side & we appreciate what you do for us. when I go to bed at night, I do so knowing you guys & gals are out their patrolling the streets to keep us safe. our hearts go out to you & your families & can only hope your family backs you & your work & keeps the family together.
my brother-in-law was head of the Dade County DEA many years ago. They had a District Attorney named Janet Reno who couldn’t get a conviction on a major drug dealer, so the agents took another tactic. they would pick up a drug dealer, drive him to another part of the county where they knew other drug dealers were working & toss them out of their car and yell, “thanks for calling. let us know when you have another tip”. two or three days later, his body would float up in one of the many canals in Miami. well, that’s one way to get a conviction when the politicians can’t or won’t do their job. eventually, Washington told them to stop that practice & things returned to normal…no or few convictions. I look the other way & think, “good job”.
my hat is off to all leo’s. my salute to you is sincere. my respect knows no bounds.
thank all of you for your service. may I buy lunch for you sometime?
bob brink
kingwood, tx

Loved your reply, sir. Dust the dirt off and get back up.

I did 7 years as a Reserve Officer before getting a full time gig. Did 9 years as a patrolman, 9 years as a sergeant, 9 years as a Lieutenant, 2.5 as a Captain, and ending with 5 years as a Chief. The descriptions of the high side of this calling are right on. If you would have told me prior to getting into this profession that I would have had the opportunity to do the things I got to do, see the things I saw, learn what I learned, help those I had the opportunity to help, I would have never believed you. It was an unbelievable career and I was sorry to see it end. I have enough stories and memories to keep any gathering in stitches. Not everybody can claim they were attacked by an elephant in the line of duty.

As a former FTO I give you high honors to realize that this profession was no longer for you. You have my greatest respect for acting on that realization and my greatest sorrow for losing you from the fold. Clearly you were one of the good ones.

Did 35 years Active Officer, 8.5 with LAPD, 2.5 with a small PD, Carpinteria PD in SB Countyand the remainder of the 35 years with the SB Co Sheriff’s. Most of my time was in patrol. WOrked Det’s, Crime Prevention, SAR, DARE, Mounted Unit and Smart unit (accident investigator) and Hostage negotiations. I am still with the HNT unit as a retired member and attend training and go on callouts. started my career in 72 and am still involved. It is a calling, you do it for the love of the game….it DEFINITELY is not the pay and can be MUNDANE, but you do it for the game….

Where do I begin? hahaha yup, Graveyard shift for 4 years, fun, action, pursuits, resisting arrests, all the fun a rookie can have until the politics ruins it for everyone. the first day on the job i’m asking do they actually pay us for this? geez!! now we can’t have have enough work!! need to pay something, gotta work ot or off-duty work. i reached my 20th year this year and i believe i will continue to work another 10 years. i just dont know if i will be able to work another 10 years in this line of work. maybe because this is a career and not a job. times have changed. even the rookies look like theyre wearing diapers still. there were no body worn cameras, cell phone videos, videos for the videos. the word of the officer was just that the word of the officer. now, because of some corrupt officers, our word doesnt matter. we need to have videos recording to justify our actions, be it the use of Taser, the use of force, the use of the bathroom (ha i’m kidding) but anything that requires a public contact, video needs to be activated. why activate it the camera?, we can just have video running constantly. another joke.

but this is ridiculous. theres no trust or confidence in police from our own department. or administration, or city officials. oh well, i still have fun everyday; i give hugs, i work andlive in the community i serve and i make people happy. the problem is the internal drama, that makes the job a bitch, the unions that will never get along to solve our own internal problems.
we are problem solvers, why cant we fix our own drama? petty crap. anyways dustin, have fun!!! write a book!!! then write a novel, then do a cartoon series. im sure you will be a success outside of police work. once a cop, always a cop!

Hello everyone, I’m not a cop and never have been. I just wanted to take a minute to say thank you all for your service and may god keep you all safe!

Have 4 years on and already thinking about leaving . Not much for the city life / bulls***. I don’t have much time on but i feel its worse than it’s ever been. Just trying to find something else somewhere before I make the biggest decision of my life .

Good for you you, get out while you still can.

To all the young guys I always say “It’s not like Miami Vice (yes I’m that old). No hot girls in bikinis, no Phil Collins playing in the background, and no high end sports cars. My undercover car was a 1986 Ford Bronco with a busted headlight and a lot of trash rolling around in the floor. A lot of shitty fast food and long nights of driving in circles with the occasional mad moments.” And in just 27 years it made me the man I am today.

I do miss being able to pull people over though.

Great article and all so true. As a Warrior retiring with over 30 years come July, I have seen exactly where you’re at. Not only the society changes but Administrative changes. When the theme of Dallas; Power, Greed and Backstab; becomes administrators it was definitely time to go.

After reading this my first thought was Dustin couldn’t cut the mustard. Then I thought, wait, when I was a cop 1970-2000 i didn’t have to deal with as many combatants as Dustin. I didn’t have to worry about cell phones and being video recorded. I did enjoy my job. I admit it. Chasing holdup men and ferreting out burglars and rapists made my day. I loved it and I loved the excitment. A surprising few people fought with me. Those that did, lost. Police work has lost its glory and the fun of doing it. I get it. It makes me glad I have been retired for 18 years.

I’m one of those who pulled the pin after 10 years. Part of the conditions that spurred that decision was working full-time and going to college full-time which was grueling in and of itself, but also the typical daily grind of rotating shift work and all of the conditions and experiences that entails, an ungrateful and fickle public, administrators who talked a good game of support for their officer’s but who really were nothing but politicians when the chips were down, and something lots of us don’t like to speak of, but a minority of lazy officers whose quest to get out of work created additional work for the rest of us. My wife asked me the other day if I ever missed it and after some careful thought I said no. Because for the last 20 years I have listened to my 2 oldest children who are Officer’s complain about many of the same issues I had, but only exponentially greater in this day and time. To all of you still serving, stay safe, and know that the day you retire your life will change forever for the better.

I retired after 34 years of service, your description of the job is 100% correct. You are correct when you say, only those who have the calling in their heart, should be an Officer. It is just a job, you must look at sin and not partake, you must wade through sh*t, but let none stick to, or bother you. Get called every name in the book, but not call them back. This is not a job for everyone, it is a calling for a special few. Thank You for the time you served, and may the good lord, help you find where you are suppose to be !

I can understand and relate to some of what has been written. I started my LEO in 1975 in small towns in Ariz and worked my way up to Chief. I retired in 1995 with all the political BS I could take. I am not sure I could do the job today because of the changing times. I do know if an officer did today what we did back then, he would be in prison, and yet we were not terrible to the people we dealt with, we just took care of the problems. To everyone still out there, please be SAFE and come home at the end of your shift. God Bless

After 32 years on I was forced to retire. PTSD. No fanfare, no spoken thank you’s. In the the end I was just a number. Very gratifying. NOT.

Thank you for your service brother.

Excellent article and you were right on point with your comments. The one negative aspect of the job you left out was, dealing with incompetent supervisors and managers. They were always more of a challenge to me, than were the bad guys. Over a 35 year period I worked for a few great supervisors and many who couldn’t lead a piss ant around the toilet bowl. As an Officer I made myself a promise that if ever promoted to Sergeant, I would not forget what it was like to be the little guy at the bottom of the totem pole. I made Sergeant and I didn’t forget. Then, I made myself a promise if I ever was promoted to Lieutenant, I would remember what it was like to be the guy at the bottom. I was promoted to Lieutenant and I never forgot. Dealing with piss poor Management was like a second job for me and I spent 17 years as the President of out Police Association. I was the only Lieutenant ever elected President by the rank and file. I recall when we got a new Police Chief, a little shit with a “big man” complex the City gave him the bad news. Everyone in the Department (including Captains) was a member of the Association except for him. Then, they gave him the worse news, one of his Lieutenants was the Association President. We butted heads over the years on a number of issues ranging from Captains being on the four-ten work schedule, to hiring an Officer from another department he didn’t like. As Association President he couldn’t touch me, but after the Lieutenants in a moment of insanity decided to start a Management Association, I was no longer President. As they say, “pay backs are a bitch” and the pompous little shit did everything he could to find a reason to fire me. The good news is I outlasted him and he was forced to resign behind a sexual harassment complaint. Bottom line is, I am one of those you described who loved his job and the men and women I worked with. I was good at it and was devastated when I had a heart attack in 2001 and had to retire. I then went on to work for the Department of Justice, managing the Police Training Program in Afghanistan (Best job I ever had). I also did two tours of duty as a Senior Police Adviser at the Baghdad Police College in Iraq (Worse job I ever had). Today, I still miss all those things you so amply described in your job description and hate retirement. Thanks for your accurate description of the life of a Police Officer.

The worst part of “the calling” has to be getting betrayed by your teammates. After almost ten years of proudly serving,I was targeted by a group wanting to promote and it was over almost before it began. So sad that the politicians have decided you can’t be a leader unless you know how to fire people. All that leads to is good cops getting hunted by scared cops who are trying to leave their fear in the street by promoting. My department had it happen for so many years a book was written about it in 1997, and another is coming out now. 20 years of hunting good cops because the fearful ones can’t promote without proving they can correct behavior, whether it needs correcting or not. In my case, three sergeants, two lieutenants, and a commander all promoted within two weeks of getting me fired with all sorts of lies, evidence tampering, witness coercion, straight up criminal mob sh@t. You can’t ever be good at Policing or the cowards in search of stripes, bars, and stars will hunt you down. My respect to all the street level cops who do the job day in and day out. Betrayal is what brings on the heart attacks, suicides, and depression in Police work. You’ve never been betrayed until your partners in blue do it to you.

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