In Law Enforcement, respect, is a two way street.
Lately I can’t seem to stop thinking about this generation and the lack of respect for authority. I am constantly wondering if I want to go back to work as an officer when I get done with this whole cancer thing.
We all know that Police Officers are the most hated people in the world right now and most of that is just bad parenting or general lack of respect, but I can’t help to wonder if part of it isn’t being brought on by ourselves.
Our Rookie officers are also part of this new generation that think they are entitled. Now don’t get me wrong, I have met some exceptional rookie officers and we will always need new cops, but I have also met some rookies who didn’t think they had dues to pay. There is a story that talks about how you aren’t a real cop until you know what tears taste like, I believe that wholeheartedly.
There are officers who come out of the Academy thinking they are the biggest badass around because now they have a badge. I hate to tell you Rookie, but you bring on the hate yourself by acting like that. You never know what kind of day someone is having and if you approach them with your chest puffed out with your God complex, you’re asking for confrontation. Your ego could easily get your hurt or even worse, killed.
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A couple years ago I was pulled over for speeding by a very new state trooper. How could I tell? His attitude. I pulled over, he came to the passenger side and the only words spoken was “license and insurance” I handed those to him and attempted to tell him that I had a loaded weapon in the console between us but before I could get half a word out, he had returned to his car.
When he came back a few minutes later He handed me my ticket and said that it was digital, so I didn’t need to sign and told me my court date. This time I tried to say thank you, but again he was gone without letting me speak a word. Now, as a police officer myself, was I going to shoot him? No, absolutely not, but I wasn’t able to let him know that I had a weapon because of his attitude towards me. What if I had been a bad guy?
It’s not always about being a badass, people will give you more respect if you earn it. Being nice is not that hard. Be nice until it’s time to not be nice. We need to remember that the public is always watching, even when you think they aren’t. You can’t go to the bathroom on duty without someone knowing about it.
A few days ago, I was in line at a local food chain and this couple was in front of me, obviously on a date. They didn’t look much older than 18 or so but I guess the guy was at least 21 because when it came his turn to pay, he told the clerk at the register to make sure he gave him his police discount since he hadn’t given it to him the last time he was there.
I personally have several issues with this. First of all, he wasn’t on duty. Completely casual clothing, no badge or markings of any kind. When I went through the academy it was drilled into our heads that not only were accepting gratuities illegal in some cases, but it was morally wrong.
I’m not saying that I have never accepted a free meal or a discount, but I was always on duty and always tried to pay, full price. I never asked or a discount. I didn’t feel entitled to one, but some restaurants will do this as a way to say thank you. They don’t have to give discounts, you are not entitled to a discount. I don’t even know this officer, but it makes me wonder how he treats people when he’s on duty if he will treat a clerk like that off duty.
My point is that I don’t agree with all the hate and disrespect that officers deal with today but I’m not sure that some don’t bring on just a small part of it themselves. Don’t bring on confrontations or lose your job, or your life because of your arrogance. You have to give respect to earn respect.
This may be a tough pill to swallow for some, but wouldn’t you rather lose the ego instead of your life? Remember why you wanted to be an officer to begin with and if your answer is anything other than you wanted to help people, you may need to rethink what you are doing.