Nobody Loves a Warrior Until the Enemy Is at the Gate
There are so many reasons to pursue a career in law enforcement. Reading through Facebook groups like Law Enforcement for Life, and as an avid reader and contributor of Law Enforcement Today, I see mention of a myriad of reasons that people become cops, correctional officers, or a plethora of other LEO positions. There is one reason that I think (and hope) we all share, but we rarely mention it.
For many of us, the motivations to take that oath are complex. Some personnel have more than one reason to become an LEO. While serving our communities and protecting the public is certainly at the epicenter of what we do, as it should be, we as LEOs must also endeavor to protect ourselves. We must constantly be on the look out and stepping up to protect our fellow LEOs too. So while protecting the public is terrific and we all share that value, let’s not forget that we must also protect each other.
The old adage, nobody loves a warrior until the enemy is at the gate, is more fitting today then at any point during my almost two decade career as a law enforcement officer. I don’t recall a time during my life that being in law enforcement had such a profoundly negative connotation with such a large portion of our society. It’s a very troubling reality.
While the public battles their perception of the police, we must continue performing our duties with vigilance and we must get home alive, every day. Our vigilance must be omni-present. That means we are vigilant before work, during work, after work, on our days off and on holidays. Always be vigilant! Teach your family what that means and make sure they have a plan and know what to do should the proverbial shit hit the fan in their presence. Make sense? That’s a whole different article so let me stay on task here, and not go off on a tangent. I tend to do that sometimes when I’m passionate about something.
We must do our job, which is ever changing, and it must be done to the best of our ability. Like most professions, ours is becoming more and more influenced by technology and innovation. Law enforcement is constantly evolving. Whether you’re guarding the border, running radar, or securing inmates at a prison like my nephew Alex does, chances are, technology has a huge impact on your daily routine and I’m not referring to the jailhouse tattoo gun you confiscated last week Alex, but good job nonetheless. Seriously though, even if you’re not the one using the technology, it impacts you. I’ll get to what I mean by that in a moment.
While we, those behind the badge, find ourselves in the heat of battle, protecting the very sanctity of the freedoms and safety that the public enjoys, they too are using technology. That very technology is directly impacting the outcomes of interactions gone wrong. Maybe in years past, if one or many assailants were over powering an officer, the public would see and quickly intervene to assist. That’s no longer a common outcome. In fact, when that happens, when the public helps the police, it makes the news. Why? Generally because it’s such a rarity to help the police that it’s now newsworthy. Sad, but very true. Think about it…
The public is often so engaged using their smart phones to record video of our battles that they don’t even seem to consider assisting us. It’s for that reason that we must accept that the only constant is that our brothers and sisters in law enforcement will always have our six. We must reaffirm, daily, that we will protect our life and even give our life to protect the lives of our family. By family, I don’t just mean blood relatives, I mean those who carry a badge and take the oath we take. We can hope that the majority of the public will do what’s right but we must remain vigilant and that means we won’t be reliant upon merely goodwill because we need each other, now more than ever.
They may not drop their iPhones to stop recording and give us a hand when we need them, but rest assured that when they need us, they’ll use that same cell phone to call and nothing will stop us from giving our everything, even our very last breath, to keep them safe when the enemy is at the gate!
Together, let’s reaffirm our positions and ensure that future generations of law enforcement know that we need them to become police personnel. Not only because the public needs them to protect and serve, but we all do!
– Louie G., an 18-year law enforcement veteran