I was one of eight guys participating in the first Cops & Cabins. Our retreat destination was in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Morganton, Georgia. Eight cops who disconnected from their world came together to gel in a retreat setting. And I happily rode my Harley more than 1000 miles to be in attendance.
Recharge at Cops & Cabins
The primary purpose was to recharge and refresh ourselves as we bonded with other cops in a relaxed setting. It was a hit since each person arrived ready to discuss life and exchange law enforcement experiences in productive, yet safe conversations. While there was no shortage of testosterone, it was not a competition. We came together as brothers, willing to champion one another. As a result, it was cathartic and fulfilling.
Police officer-film maker Patrick Shaver (Officer Involved) rolled tape as we shared experiences and exchanged ideas. Additionally, Law Enforcement Today Radio Show Host Jay Wiley posted several Facebook Live videos on the Cops & Cabins page.
Highway 20 Ride
As our four-day retreat came to a close, I prepared for my return journey primarily traveling Highway 20 from Georgia to Texas. (I hummed Zac Brown’s Highway 20 Ride throughout my trip.) But there was a major obstacle called Hurricane Nate. The spillover affect hit the South hard, and I began my ride home in heavy rain and thunderstorms.
Even with my new friend, Danny Griswold of Boynton Beach Police Department fame, providing a spare set of rain pants to compliment the rest of my riding gear, I was deluged in the storm.
I saw troopers . . . dutifully handling a crash in the elements.
As I voluntarily took on the elements, I passed several major collisions caused by the weather conditions. I saw Georgia state troopers in Atlanta dutifully handling a crash in the elements. Further down the road the Alabama Highway Patrol (ALEA) was doing the same.
However, after learning the worst weather was ahead of me in Birmingham, I took my water-saturated-self and ducked for cover at a hotel in Talladega.
As I dried out in my room, the thought, It’s a love/hate thing crossed my mind. Moreover, I mentally connected this view of interstate motorcycle travel to police work as well.
My love for riding supersedes my hate for the discomfort.
I’ve taken several interstate road rides on my bike. While I love riding beneath a full moon on a comfortable night, I hate traveling in extreme weather conditions. Beyond that, I love riding on the open rode without traffic, while I hate finding myself in large cities in the middle of congestion. Yet the reality is that my love for riding supersedes my hate for the discomfort that accompanies it.
Conversely, the same can be said for my experiences as law enforcement professional. I love catching robbery suspects after a string of crimes, while I hate the booking and report writing requirements that follow. Furthermore, I love working as a team with my partners, while I hate when individuals seek self-promotion for feathers in their cap. I love the sensation of catching someone like a rapist, but hate to see the damage he’s done to his victim(s).
Finally, I love the complexities and challenges that originate from our work, while I hate the mischaracterizations that are cast our way.
In the end, we all pursue our loves while tolerating the corresponding hates. So whether it’s interstate motorcycle riding or police work, it’s a love/hate thing.
And yes, I finally arrived home safely in Texas to a birthday party given in my honor, which I loved!
– Jim McNeff, editor-in-chief, Law Enforcement Today
(Photo courtesy Patrick Shaver)