We all know the police officer who was born to be a cop. Perhaps you’re one. I think I was. Some are skilled police officers, some aren’t, but they still pursue the betterment of the police purpose.
Skilled or not, they go to work and readily answer their calls, write their parkers, respond to on-view disturbances and hand-wavers. Their goal is to serve and protect. Oh, they’d never admit to that without a hint of sarcasm in their remarks, but deep down that’s what they do.
Sure, there are some officers who joined because of the health care package or salary. Others joined because of the sense of power they get from being the police, and some joined just because they didn’t have anything better.
Most join the force because they want to do the right thing. They want to lock up the bad guys and save the victims. It’s more visible in the younger officers. They haven’t had the police life beat them down yet.
The young officer hasn’t cleaned the vomit off their shoes often enough, yet. They haven’t locked up the parent who beat their two-year-old into a coma; yet, they haven’t stood in -0 degree temps to direct traffic around a fatal traffic accident that claimed two lives, yet. Their exuberance is still as visible as the shine on their new boots.
Now, look at the senior officer. The one who has been around the block a few times. The one who has streamlined what he carries out to the squad car each day. The one who wears a holster where the dye has worn off from daily wear. You know who I’m talking about, the one with the fifty-mission slouch to his uniform hat.
Sure, he may not race into calls like the younger cops, but he heads that way, knowing the bad guy will probably be gone before anyone arrives and when a description is given, he’ll be in a good position to look for him.
When he stops someone for a traffic violation, he often gets a thank you from the driver. He doesn’t write everyone a ticket. He often gives the speech and lets them go on their way.
In this day and age, the idea of anyone going out and doing police work might seem foolish. After all, because of the mass media and politicians, a police officer is assumed to be corrupt and racist. Citizens live to capture a video on their smart-phone of an officer wrestling with a violent offender. Why with proper editing it will go viral, showing the officer as the aggressor and that poor arrestee as the victim. Never let the facts get in the way.
Still, those officers go out each day and try to make a difference. You must wonder why? I do. I’ve come to realize that each of these officers, exhibit something that is seldom found in other professions. Honor, respect, love for the family, and the need to do the right thing.
These officers honor their oath each day, both on and off duty. They understand the meaning of that oath and the burden it puts upon them.
They respect the people they serve. That means they don’t treat everyone the same. The gangbanger on the corner gets spoken to in the manner appropriate for the situation. The retired construction worker who had too much to drink and is stumbling home might get a ride home, so he doesn’t get rolled. The mother of three trying to put her groceries in the car and keep her kids in line might get a hand. The store owner locking up for the night might get a drive-by from the beat car that is just seeing it is safe.
These officers understand the need for a strong family. It might not always be by marriage or blood but by the blue we wear. They understand the need for a strong support group. With police suicides at record highs that support is needed more than ever.
Finally, these officers understand the need to do the right thing. It’s not always the popular thing to do. It might mean giving a driver a pass. It might mean something more. It always leads to the betterment of the police purpose.
That’s why you still see officers racing down the street with lights flashing and siren blaring. Someone may need them and the right thing to do is get there and help. That’s why you still see officers risking their lives to help others. That’s why you still see officers getting killed in the line of duty.
A while back I thought police departments were doomed to fail. After talking to several other police officers, I realized I was wrong. As long as there are those officers who are willing to do the right thing, there will be a core holding the departments together. There will be honor and respect behind the stars we wear.
Stay safe everyone, run low and zigzag.
– Robert Weisskopf (ret. Lt.)
Note: You can read all of Robert Weisskopf’s articles at https://www.lawenforcementtoday.com/author/robertw332/ and find all his books on Amazon at https://amzn.to/2PsbT4t.