The headline of this article can be slightly misleading. I have written in articles past that we are creatures of control and ultimately cannot control every aspect of our profession or our lives. I still believe this holds true. I will still say to people that there are some things you cannot control. What we, as wolf hunters, have ultimate control over, is ourselves. In this lies the content and the heart of today’s entry.
There are so many different variables ¸in our day-to-day operation as police officers. We simply cannot control them all. Variables lie within our administrations, our supervisors, our department budget, the criminals on the street, the weather, our available equipment, etc. The only thing that we can be sure, on a consistent basis, we have control over is ourselves. If you take an honest look at yourself, as I have done with myself multiple times, it is easily seen that having complete and total control over yourself is much easier said than done. Let us look into a few different areas in which you, as a police officer, have ultimate control, or maybe a lack of control.
Health and fitness is something in our profession that we absolutely, positively, must have control over. It has more of an impact on the job than most officers choose to believe. Some officers have lost control of it to a point that they refuse to admit that they have become unhealthy. It has the obvious benefits that we all already know. If you’re fit, you can fight. But what about this…if you’re fit, the general public will look more positively on you. Your health and fitness may lead to de-escalation in some situations. I know I’d rather fight an unhealthy, unfit cop than one that is clearly in shape. The daily job is filled with times in which you are sitting, in a vehicle, for hours. This, just in the nature of what it is, can cause health problems. We need to work to reverse these negative health effects by keeping ourselves healthy and fit. Physical health is not the only aspect of our health we need to keep control over. We also need to have ultimate control over our mental health. In a past article, titled “Become Disconnected, to Stay Connected”, I mention that putting aside outside distractions will help you, as an officer, relax and decompress. We must make sure we are allowing ourselves an outlet for the stresses we have as officers day in and day out. If we do not allow this to happen, our mental health may be compromised. If our mental health is compromised, it can quickly spiral out of control, leading to anxiety, depression and post traumatic stress. We need to remain fully conscious of our health at all times. If we see it slipping, we must regain control of it. No one is more responsible for our own personal health than ourselves.
Slightly on par with our mental health is our attitude. We are in ultimate control of our own attitude. We are not entitled to proper treatment, we are not entitled to any certain position, we are not entitled to anything in this job. We entered this profession knowing very well that it is not the most glorious profession in the world. You came into the job with a good attitude, so where has that good attitude gone? I see a lot of disgruntled officers, placing blame for their woes on every single person or group BUT themselves. We work in an extremely competitive environment, where no officer is ever guaranteed to always succeed in doing what they want to do. You want K-9? Earn it, or someone else will. You want to be a detective? Earn it, because I guarantee someone else will. Nothing is owed in this profession. The only thing that is owed, that is expected, is for you, as the individual officer, to come into work every single day and do the best you can with the best attitude possible. You may not be the most skilled officer, but an average officer with an amazing attitude is worth much more to a department than an experienced and skilled officer with a terrible attitude. It should be the case with every officer that no other person besides yourself can improve or destroy your attitude. Own your attitude toward this profession and life-style and you will succeed. Perhaps you will set a trend.
You, officer, also have ultimate control over your decisions. Do what is right all of the time. In today’s operating environment we do not have room to consciously make wrong decisions. Mistakes will be made, there is absolutely no doubt about that. Mistakes are there for a reason, for us to learn. I am talking about conscious and thought out decisions. No one is responsible or under control of your decisions, but yourself. Go into every work day with the solid intention to make the right decisions and you will ultimately succeed.
Speaking of success, this is another area in which we have ultimate control. You have the opportunity to set yourself up for success every single day. In and out of the job, successes are made. Success is what you, as an individual, make it. Your successes may not be successes to anyone else, but they are to you. And that is most important. Disregard individuals who downplay your successes, no matter how minor they may seem to others. Allow yourself one success every day. Do you keep forgetting to approach a stopped vehicle from the “correct” side? Make it your point that day to do it correctly and succeed. Haven’t been taking care of your physical fitness? Make it a goal to get into the gym that day…you have just succeeded. What may be one person’s daily routine, is your ultimate success for that day. Make it so. The only person that needs to qualify something as a success is you.
The only person that is in ultimate control is you, wolf hunter.