Policing is simultaneously the greatest career and the worst nightmare.
I got into it to be a protector. And that’s what I do every single day. But I also now play the role of admin; and peacekeeper; and cleaning service; and therapist.
I dodge bullets from gang bangers. But I also have to make sure to wear my vest at work, because if I don’t, I risk being stabbed in the back by my own administration needing to cover their own asses.
There is a lot we’d like to discuss as cops. But we can’t, because “free speech” doesn’t apply to us. Luckily we have a platform like Law Enforcement Today to be that voice.
So here we go. Three things I wish I could admit to my department and can’t.
1. It’s about time you grow a pair.
Sometimes I think that all of the good cops retired instead of moving up the ranks, leaving only one qualification to be “the boss”: you can’t have a spine.
Why is it that in policing, they are more afraid of the media than they are afraid of falling short of defending their officers?
Why is it that they are desperately concerned about the recommendations of a “community advisory panel” that hates cops and wouldn’t know safety it if slapped them upside the head?
Why do they buckle on contracts to gain us a few pennies when they are losing out on equipment and training for us and sell their souls – and ours – to lawmakers who couldn’t care less about us?
We can’t do our jobs and protect our communities if you’re not willing to do what it takes to protect US.
2. When I’m gone, I doubt you’ll protect my family.
Yeah, yeah, yeah … the brotherhood of blue and all that.
I believe in it – but I also don’t. I believe the brotherhood stops at my fellow brothers and sisters. If I were to be shot tomorrow, I know that my partner would have my back. I know my fellow police officers would hold fundraisers and launch GoFundMe campaigns to help support my family.
I also know that my department will hope I’m killed, because the insurance automatically kicks in and they don’t have to deal with a disabled cop and workers comp and all of the crap. It’s much easier to say, “He was such a good man” than it is to actually pay out comp and disability.
And if I am killed, when the smoke clears and the funeral is over, I believe that my fellow officers will be there for my family. But my department? You’ve demonstrated time and time again that families are simply collateral damage.
3. You are out of touch.
Our gear is too old. Our training is non-existent. Our comms don’t work when we get into schools or big buildings.
Your idea of a “PIO” is some kid who once had a Facebook page.
You make a public spectacle of our department by standing on a press stage next to politicians demanding that we remove the Second Amendment rights of citizens because it makes you look good and will help you to advance your career.
Morale? Team building? You once let a company drop off donuts, and we have a fresh supply of powdered creamer for the crappy coffee. There’s always that.
You hear the buzzwords “post-traumatic stress” and think it’s something that’s limited to those who serve in the military. It’s not. We desperately need help and support, because we are killing ourselves. But we also know what if we turn to you for help, our badge and our ability to provide for our families are most likely gone.
But hey – maybe you can use those buzz words as a way of getting a grant to send a couple of your favorites off on a weekend training at Disney or to cover your booze fest at IACP.
We need to have more conversations like this. Authentic. Real. Where the leadership actually listens to us.
But it won’t happen, because it hasn’t even started yet. Perhaps one day, in one department, this anonymous letter will get to someone who actually cares about making a change.
– Sgt. A. Merica