Heroin – A Message to Police, The Public, The Addicts and The Dealers Alike

I have always wanted to write on the topic of Heroin. The issue was, what in the world could I possibly write, without going on for pages and pages? It’s impossible. Why? Because Heroin has become this country’s biggest epidemic.

If you have found yourself in a position where you’ve never encountered a Heroin addict, whether on the street, or through the job, consider yourself completely blessed. Seeing that the largest audience of LEO USA’s website and Facebook page are in the field of law enforcement, I highly doubt any of us have gone without making contact with a family or individual affected by the Heroin epidemic. I won’t get into the rhyme and reason behind Heroin addiction. We all know its onset can be for a few different reasons. What I do want to look into is why it is such an epidemic and what it is doing to this country.

I often joke at work that if a zombie apocalypse ever occurred, the zombies would resemble someone who is high on Heroin. It is simply amazing to see someone high on Heroin, able to nod in and out of an apparent sleep, while still being able to respond to directed questions and retain their balance, despite swaying back and forth, side to side. We all know what this looks like. And then comes the withdrawal. I’ve heard many Heroin addicts say that withdrawing is some of the most miserable pain they have ever felt. Heroin is an extremely powerful drug, extremely addictive and most definitely lethal.

This baffles me that somewhat decent people decided, at some point, to put poison into their bodies, that will throw them into a cycle of addiction and, inevitably, crime. They are lucky to end up in jail before they end up dead from an overdose. It is truly a game of Russian Roulette with a needle or straw.

The innocent communities in which these individuals live are inevitably affected by Heroin as well. Often, Heroin addicts find themselves short on money due to their addiction. They have lost jobs, lost family support, lost government support. This will lead to the individual needing to victimize hard-working people to achieve their next “fix”. This comes in the form of petty theft, motor vehicle theft, robbery, aggravated robbery, burglaries and, in some extreme instances, murder. Let us now attempt to say this drug is not a national epidemic, when innocent people are being victimized due to someone else’s addiction.

Let us stray from the actual throws of the addiction and center our conversation from the perspective of law enforcement.

Law enforcement agencies are spending hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars on combatting the Heroin epidemic in this country. Despite our ever-adapting tactics and strategies to curb this cycle of addiction and crime, we find ourselves in a never-ending battle of cat and mouse. We must enlist the trust and the efforts of the public to combat this cycle. We would never ask you to become the police and try to solve these crimes and take direct involvement in the Heroin epidemic. However, law enforcement agencies are constantly coming up with new ways for citizens to get indirectly involved in this fight. A large effort has been put into drug activity tip lines. It is imperative that the public understands that these avenues help law enforcement stay one step ahead of the criminals. Your family may not have been affected by Heroin, however, your community most certainly has. Every community has. It is time to become a collective team against a substance destroying this country from the inside out.

To the individuals affected by Heroin addiction, it is never too late to kick the habit. Much easier said than done, I know. I said it before, every single time you put the poison into your body, you are flirting with death. What little you know about Heroin. What even less you know about what is in the Heroin you are purchasing. What even LESS you know about the people you are buying the Heroin from and how dangerous these people are. You are putting your life at risk, in so many different ways, every single time you start the process of finding, buying and using this drug. Law enforcement isn’t here to take you down as the “big fish” per say. You have committed a crime and you will answer for that crime. However, in these instances, you are able to help combat the problem that has led you into a life of complete disaster. Allow us to work with you and find the people who are essentially feeding you death and depression. The road to your own personal redemption is always available, every moment of every day. We won’t try to understand what it feels like to be in the throes of a Heroin addiction, but I can promise you we have seen the result. We have seen the bodies, we have seen the families, we have seen the community. If you think it doesn’t effect us, you’re wrong, it does. Not only does it consume a large amount of our work time and effort (something we are proud to donate to the public) but it consumes a lot of our mental and emotional capacity. We are human, and we don’t like seeing other humans hurt. Allow us to help you. Allow yourself to help you.

To the “Big Fish”, the dealers, the manufacturers, I assure you our team is much larger than yours. Our resolve is much stronger than yours, our tactics are better than yours. There comes a time where we must say we will not back down without a fight. I officially welcome you to the fight. You prey on the physically weak and the weak-minded. We are here to ensure you do this no longer. Our laws are becoming more stringent, our tactics are becoming more refined. It is only a matter of time before you find yourself behind steel bars, searching for a lawyer who will represent one of society’s worst. What you are doing is essentially slow, premeditated murder. We do not take this lightly, we take it personally. We will fight this fight until each of us retire, and then our younger brothers and sisters will take on our fight, with the same ferocity that we left with them. One by one we will take on this fight. You may get away once or twice, maybe even three times. It is essential you know that, just because you got away, this does not mean we forgot about you. It’s okay, we are out and about every single day, just as you are. We see you, we know what you’re doing, and we will catch you. Tonight you may rest easy, without us knocking on the door. You will not be promised that same peace of mind tomorrow, or any day in the future. For the acts you do, the business in which you practice, you are inevitably limiting your days of freedom. Come to terms with that, because sooner, much rather than later, you will be looking on society from the inside out and not the outside in. We are Wolfhunters, and you are the wolf.

The pursuit is on.

As Dissent for Law Enforcement Grows, So Does Support – It is We Who See You

It is unfortunate that the negativity associated with law enforcement gets most of the press today. We see the dissent for law enforcement taking the foreground in our news feeds, news websites and newspapers. What the public may not see on a daily basis, is the support for law enforcement growing as well. It is unfair to give only one side of the fence all the publicity. However, it seems as though the opposing team is the one making the most (and often inappropriate) noise.

It is imperative that those who oppose law enforcement know that there is an ever-growing opponent in those that support our men and women in blue. Just a few days ago I was buying coffee with a partner at Starbucks. A man in line insisted that he pay for our drinks. We, of course, insisted that he not spend his money on us, but that his support was appreciated. There is a big difference between those that show hate towards law enforcement and those that show support. Hate often comes in loud, inappropriate, overt acts of violence and protest, while support comes in small quiet acts of kindness.

While the opponents may be physically and audibly louder than the supporters, the quiet acts of kindness speak much louder lessons.

To those that oppose us, I ensure you that we are not wavered by your negative acts. We will not back down, we will not stop providing for the public, the public that you belong to. We will not stop serving you as we have sworn to do, despite your negativity thrown recklessly in our direction. Your non-support only goes to strengthen our unity, our resolve and our steadfast determination to serve justice when an injustice has been committed.

To those that support us, we often hear the phrase from your direction that “we see you”. Well I promise you and ensure you that it is we who see you. We see you day and night, with your kind waves of appreciation, your looks of fondness. We see it in your children as you embrace the fact that they want to talk to us, wave to us and refuse to pull them away from us and teach them hate. We see it when we step up to the cash register, only to figure out that our drink or meal has already been paid for and you have already disappeared, not wishing to be noticed, but only wishing to have taken part in an extremely kind act. We see it in the hugs, the posters, the blue porch lights, the FOP bumper stickers and the handshakes of appreciation. We see it in your regard for the law and your determination to take responsibility for your mistakes. We all, inevitably, make mistakes. We see your support in your understanding that we are human. I assure you, we understand you are human too. We see support in your compliance and in your respect.

There will come a time, and it is not too far away, where the support of our police men and women in this country will become far louder, metaphorically, than the dissent. We are very aware that the support for law enforcement is not the minority in this country. You are the silent majority.

We see you out there and, on behalf of all badge bearers, we thank you.

Faith and Law Enforcement Go Hand-in-Hand

Never fear, I am not here to push religion on anyone. I do not believe in pushing my faith or religion on any other person than myself. I honor different beliefs, it is what this job has taught me to do. This article isn’t about religion, it is about having faith. I am going to make an attempt to explain how faith plays a role into our profession, in a separate context from religion.

Almost everyone, when faith is brought into a conversation, will automatically orient their minds and associate the conversation with religion. In law enforcement, however, faith takes on multiple definitions. In my best words, faith can be synonymous with “belief” and “trust”. I now ask you to associate the word “faith” with these two words and ideas. Take some time to think to yourself how you would further define “belief” and “trust”.

In this profession we must have faith. It is a necessity in order for us to get through every day. Keeping in mind that faith can be defined as “belief” and “trust”, I believe you will see how it plays a role in our lives and in our work.

During a traffic stop, we must have faith that our training has taught us to approach the vehicle from the right direction, to respond to any adverse behavior a driver or passenger may engage in, to react with respect and within the law and to apply justice accordingly.

During a domestic disturbance call, we must have faith that our emotions will not overtake our sound judgment. We must have faith that individuals are telling the truth while having faith that our minds and experience can discern when half-truths are present.

We must have faith in our families, our wives, husbands, children and parents. We must have faith that they will support us in everything we do, in everything we see, in our reactions, in our sadness, in our happiness, in our protective nature and in our, sometimes, madness.

We must have faith in the public, that they will put their faith in us, to protect them, serve them and come to their aid when in need, without prejudice or bias.

We must have faith in our departments, that they will train us to their allowed and available capacity and that they will back us up when we find ourselves on the defensive, as long as we have acted within the law, which we most definitely do.

We must have faith in our partners, in our sisters and brothers in blue, that when we call for assistance they will never be too far away with the same zest for justice you have every day. We must have faith that they will come to our assistance when we find ourselves down on life. We must have faith that they won’t judge us in our weaknesses, but will take every available opportunity to strengthen our morale.

We must have faith that we have guardian angels watching our every move. We must have faith that when our time has come, we have given 110% to our lives, to our families, to the public and to our steadfast convictions.

Most importantly, we must have faith in ourselves. It is imperative, that before you place faith in anything else, you place rock-solid faith in yourself and your morals. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, there is a reason we wear the badge. There is a reason you took this job. There is a reason you live the lifestyle you live. Have faith in yourself, never doubt your profession. We have hearts of lions, intentions of saints, blood of true warriors. Often, the first thing that is lost in the job, is the faith in ourselves to succeed. Don’t allow yourself to be fooled by outside influences. Do not quit, do not give up, it is not in your nature. Have faith that you are living a life of honor and integrity. Have faith that you are doing the right thing, day in and day out. Have faith in your will to live, your will to survive, your will to overcome evil.

Have faith in the Thin Blue Line, for it has faith in you.

Follow Your Instinct, Trust Your Gut

We all know what it is like, one second things seem to be calm and going well and then within a split second everything seems to hit the fan at once. I have referenced in past articles that training will, hopefully, take control in these instances. There are instances, however, in which hesitation may occur. I need not go into hesitation within this article, for that has previously been covered. What I am seeking to reach at a more in-depth level is instinct and the “gut feeling” we all know too well.

Instinct and the “gut feeling” goes beyond training and hesitation. While the gut feeling you get in certain situations, that may be the basis of a split second decision, may be formed and molded by training, it is largely based upon our root instincts, morals, physiology, psychology and biology. As intelligent mammals, we have a natural process that cannot be un-programmed (for lack of a better phrase). It is important that we understand where our instincts and gut feelings come from. It is a largely formed opinion that instincts come from an ingrained “will to live”. Almost all animals have this base instinct. As police officers we are frequently approached with situations that will tap into that will to live, our natural process. This natural instinct and gut feeling may also be based upon our fight or flight mentality which has also been previously touched on.

What is important to note, is that our instincts have been continually formed since the day we were born. As police officers, it is safe to say our morals and instincts have been formed on solid ground. That is why, in this profession, it is important to trust your instincts. How often have we hesitated, second-guessed ourselves, made a decision and then come to find out we should have followed our “gut feeling”? How often do we go into a situation, no matter the capacity in which you serve in law enforcement (corrections, probation, parole, patrol, traffic, investigations, etc.), and you get the feeling that something is just not right. This is the gut feeling I speak of. Your natural instincts (a cognitive process) are signaling your body to start a physical process or symptom that takes the form of the “gut feeling”.

It is literally a feeling.

Our brains are naturally preparing us to enter into fight or flight scenario. Our brains are serving as a natural alarm to danger. It is vital we allow our instincts to create the gut feeling. Take solid notice of this natural alarm and subsequently allow your training to enter into your operation. At some point, everything begins to flow in a complete continuum, allowing you to make sound decisions.

Second-guessing your instincts or gut feelings is a process that must be overcome. You have to trust yourself. Do not allow outside influences take control. It is far too easy for us to second-guess what we are about to do. Realize that no one, but you, is in the exact situation you find yourself. You must ensure your safety, along with the safety of your brothers and sisters. Your instincts, along with your training, will surely lead you to success.

Yes, there are times where we have a gut feeling that something is not right, when, in fact, all is secure and well. The fact of the matter is that following your instincts, even in these situations where it may be slightly wrong, will no more damage your safety than disregarding it all together.

I am not suggesting that police become over zealous or go into every situation with service weapons at the low or high ready. I am simply suggesting that you put full trust and faith in yourself. You ensured your safety up to this point in your career, there is no reason to doubt yourself now.

Our Fight Against Compartmentalization – Finding an Outlet

Throughout our careers in law enforcement we are going to see some things we love and we are going to see some things we hate. In my short career so far, I have seen some things I wish I wouldn’t have ever had to see in my life. I am able to chalk it up as part of the job.

What we must be mindful of, is our unique ability to compartmentalize the things we find stressful or mentally taxing in our jobs.

Allow me to explain, for you may be doing this without even realizing it.

Men are far worse at this than women and we, as men, must make a conscious effort to combat it. When we see something stressful in our job (car wreck with fatalities, neglected children, rape, felonious assaults, murder, etc.) we have the unique ability to metaphorically pack it up and store it away, for no one to see. For the time frame immediately after a stressful event, compartmentalized emotions are okay. However, we should notcannot and must not allow that emotion or memory related to a stressful event remain compartmentalized and to ourselves. After a short period of time, we must make a conscious effort to allow ourselves an outlet for these emotions. After a while, too many emotions that have been packed up and stored away will cause a breakdown, a career burnout, aggression and can further lead to regret from decisions we made during a state of high emotional outlet.

We have always been told to separate work from home. I strongly agree with this notion. In no way am I endorsing, or encouraging you, as an officer, to use your family as a verbal outlet of your emotions. This can potentially cause undue stress in the home. I am also not endorsing that we keep our families in the dark about our jobs. It is a very fragile balancing act we must endure. Additionally, one mode of outlet that one officer uses may not be effective for another officer.

Outlet may not always be verbal.

Find something you enjoy. Find something that allows you to relax and think. Quiet contemplation is an effective way, for some, of relieving stress. Some find reading, hiking, physical fitness, social activities and numerous other hobbies effective at allowing the mind to empty its emotions effectively. In my case, writing allows me to express what is in my head to a wide audience, without placing my stress on any particular person directly. Those closest to me have the option of reading what I write, but I, in no way, am forcing them to bear the brunt of my experiences.

I have referenced in many articles that we, as police officers, are creatures of control. We are extremely skilled at controlling situations, especially stressful situations. Where our skills tend to lack is in taking care of ourselves, controlling our stress and taking advantage of opportunities to clear our minds. We must make every effort possible to take care of our own mental health, before it becomes an issue and effects our home life and the job.

We are not always aware that we have an overload of compartmentalized thoughts and emotions. Take time and try to bring those experiences to the forefront of your thoughts and allow them to exit your mind. While it may take time, find an effective outlet and begin, one experience at a time, coming to terms with your own stressors. Take yourself out of your comfort zone. If you have found yourself in a situation where you feel as though you may be on the verge of losing control of your emotions, do not hesitate to speak with a professional. If you see someone, a brother or sister in blue, who is clearly having a difficult time with something, encourage them to speak with you. We are here for each other. It is very hard to speak of our emotions, especially with the type-A personalities we all have. We live in a world of lowered stigmas concerning mental health. It is acceptable to be stressed and emotionally taxed. Become cognitive, be aware of your own thoughts, allow yourself some “me time”. In the end, it’s only going to allow you to become and remain an effective LEO.

Keep fighting the good fight, Wolf Hunter.

Perseverance – One Officer’s Story of Success When the Odds Were All But in His Favor

One of the greatest aspects of this job is that we have the opportunity, as police officers, to meet numerous different people, from what seems like every background imaginable. A few years back, I had the absolute blessing of meeting Constable David Geiger with the Oxford Township Police Department in Ohio. Ever since meeting him, David and I have kept on and off contact as I entered the police force. Not only is David full of useful information and encouraging words, but he has a story of perseverance unlike any I have encountered before. You see, David has a physical disability, something he refers to, politely, as a Dif-Ability, that he sustained during a motorcycle accident in 2003. According to David’s website, http://www.Dif-Ability.com, he always wanted to be a police officer as a young man. He states he had an insatiable desire to help people. If you take David’s story from start to end, you will see the true definition of a wolf hunter. David, despite the odds being stacked completely against him, followed his heart. He was created by God with the blood of a police officer, and a police officer he will forever be.

David allowed me the unique opportunity to ask him several questions relating to his Dif-Ability and his experiences in law enforcement since sustaining his injury. I suggest, to all, you read between the lines of his responses and see true grit and determination in this officer.

  • David, please briefly explain your injury and how you sustained it.
  • August 8, 2003 I was involved in motorcycle accident. I landed on top of a guard rail on my back, forcing my right arm behind me violently. This violent movement severed 3 of my brachial plexus nerves and stretched out the 4th in my right shoulder completely paralyzing the arm.
  • What were your biggest difficulties directly after your injury?
  • I was in a medically induced coma for approximately 4 weeks after the accident. When I awoke I had tubes and wires coming from every part of my body. All my muscles had weakened and I had to build them back up to even start walking again.
  • What was the typical response from departments, after your injury, regarding your employment as a police officer?
  • I was on medical leave from the department I was with and eventually moved to the auxiliary force. After years of surgeries, physical and occupational therapy I was ready to be reclaim my position with the police department. The administration along with human resources decided that since I was unable to shoot weak handed I would not be reinstated as a Police Corporal.
     
    When applying with new departments I found that I wasn’t being hired. I can only speculate as to why. Only one department of about 70 admitted it was due to my arm.  I would make it to an interview then stop hearing from them or get a letter simply stating that the position was filled.  
     
    During interviews I would openly talk about my dif-ability and my ability to perform every function of a police officer. However, simply telling them was not getting the results I wanted. That’s why I made the video, so they could see me in action and realize that I’m not a liability but an asset.
  • How did you overcome the difficulties that your injury caused?
  • Will, determination and gym memberships. I started slow. I never recovered a grip in my hand so I had to think of ways to work my right arm out. I started by lying on my back under the coffee table and pushing it up off the floor on one side. Once that got easy I added books on top of the table to add more resistance, then push-ups. I eventually starting going to the gym. I bought a Velcro D ring strap that is usually for wrapping around ankles and wrapped it around my right wrist and lifted cable weights with it. I spent 5 days a week at the gym without fail.
     
    In addition to the gym I start training in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). The reason was twofold, fitness and to prove to myself that I could defend myself or others in a physical confrontation if presented with one as a police officer. I was sparring with world-class athletes and I was holding my own!
     
    Any issue that I thought an administration would have with my dif-ability; handcuffing, firearms, first aid etc. I made sure I trained, and or, became an instructor in that particular aspect.  I had to be creative in finding effective ways to do complex tasks and I succeeded.
  • What is your biggest accomplishment since your injury?
  • Surviving my accident in the first place tops the list but without question it is being hired at Oxford Township Police Department. Convincing an administration wasn’t easy. I offered multiple times at interviews to perform demonstrations or to be given a functional capacity test, most declined. Explaining that I would be on probation if hired and could be let go if I failed any part of the field training officer’s assessment. I have since been promoted as a field training officer myself; so not only am I trusted to do police work, I’m trusted to train other officers.
  • What is the biggest obstacle you face in your every day job? How do overcome that obstacle?
  • I really don’t have any obstacles. Sure, there are some things that take me a little longer to complete like processing a crime scene but those are things that shouldn’t be rushed in the first place.
  • If you had one piece of advice to give to current and future police officers, what would it be?
  • Failing at something doesn’t make you a failure, quitting does. Excuses get you nowhere. Go after your goals with steadfast determination and with as much vigor as you would your next breath if you were drowning. 
Police work is one of the most technically demanding jobs out there. We must have fine motor skill, and the physical ability to ward off attack, radio for help, and draw a weapon, sometimes within what seems like a few seconds. With the ability to fully use only one of his arms, David has completely adapted his tactics and training to ensure he is able to do everything any other police officer can do, and arguably better. David refuses to use the term disability and has since coined the term Dif-Ability, stating that he can do everything you and I can do as an officer, just differently. David takes pride in our profession, he is a model every officer should follow, he is the definition of the Thin Blue Line. If I were in trouble and heard David over the radio, I would be more than comforted by the fact that I had a true wolf hunter backing me up. David is battle proven, has the heart of a lion and the determination unlike anyone I have ever encountered thus far. He is the definition of perseverance.
David, I thank you for your time, your dedication to this life style and, on behalf of police officers and the public alike, I thank you for your courage, commitment and bravery in the face of adversity. You were an inspiration to me in pursuing this career and I am sure you have been an inspiration to many others. Your story is one every officer should learn; I know I will never forget it.
Note: Please visit Constable David Geiger’s website at www.Dif-Ability.com to learn more about his story and his life since his injury. 

Comply, It’s Just That Easy – A Message to the Public

This topic has always bothered me to a certain extent, but more so recently after I found myself in an alley, gun drawn and on a suspect. The reason my gun came out that night was due to the fact that the suspect simply would not comply with my verbal commands. There were other circumstances that led to my gun being drawn such as the fact that there was a victim bleeding on the ground and the suspect was wearing loose-fitting clothing and I was unsure whether or not he had a weapon. However, that is beside the fact that he was not complying with my verbal commands.

I am baffled that, when approached by three officers who were giving loud, clear and authoritative commands to “get on the ground”, he refused three separate times to follow our direction, leading to us falling back on a lethal force option. What the public needs to understand is that this is NOT the time to ask questions of the police. It is not the time to refuse commands and it is not the time to plead your case. We will eventually get to that point with you. Innocent, guilty, or suspected of a crime, if we tell you to do something, you DO IT. For all you know, our suspect may not be you, but may be standing behind you. We may be ordering you to the ground for your safety. We may be ordering you to the ground because we are trying to see or advance past you to the person we really want. We may be ordering you to the ground because you fit the description of the suspect. Trust me when I say that we are trained, we know what we are doing, we are not telling you to do something because we have no cause for it. If you want to remain safe while interacting with police officers, all you simply need to do is comply. If your own personal safety is your main concern in these instances, then do the smart thing and do as we say. You are at a significantly lower risk of having force used against you if you simply comply.

Many will argue that police are infringing on 4th Amendment rights to a higher extent in today’s environment. I will submit to you that we are responding to a small percent of the public’s noted increase in aggression towards the police. We are ensuring your safety, along with ours. We do not know you, as you do not know us. However, you know more about us than we know about you. You know we are the police. You know that we have been trained. I ensure you that we have been trained. We do not wish harm upon you. We do not want to hit you, we do not want to tase you, we do not want to mace you, and we do NOT want to shoot you. That is why we simply ask for compliance.

I am not sure what is being taught in schools, society or by parents today that leads to individuals refusing to comply with commands of the police. I was always taught to listen to the police. I was always taught to treat everyone with respect. As a police officer, I still hold onto these virtues. I still make every attempt to treat everyone with respect and I still, even as a police officer, listen to the police when being told to do something. If you are guilty and you have been caught, “man up” and take responsibility for what you have done. You claim to be a man of integrity and honor; prove it.

The public is not our enemy, nor do we see it that way. The public is our ally. We wish to keep it this way. Compliance comes in many different forms. It may be in the form of cooperating as a witness and it may come in the form of doing as we ask in an emergency situation. It is understandable that you may be scared when approached by the police. I can remember when I was scared every time I saw a police car driving behind me. Yet, I never had a thought of non-compliance. Understand that we are scared too. We are human, just as well as you are. If you think it is fun to pull out a gun, think again. We are left with a range of emotions that we must deal with after a high intensity situation. A range of emotions that a normal person need not deal with. A range of emotions that often lead us into personal turmoil.

If you want to guarantee your safety during an interaction with the police, then simply comply, it’s just that easy.

We are Human Too

Today’s first entry is more geared towards the general public than it is members of law enforcement. I think it is very important that individuals of the general public remember, when interacting with the police, we are human just as much as they are.

I will always take that into consideration when dealing with an individual, so why can’t they? Police officers are held to a higher standard, we all know this. We all understand that we are held to a higher standard and we embrace it into our professional lives. However, being held to a higher standard does not mean that we are not human too.

What does being human mean?

Being human means that we have emotions, we feel sadness, anxiety, fear, loneliness, happiness, excitement, regret, hopelessness and fatigue. Being human means that we have bad days, we have good days, we have mediocre days, some days we feel sick, some days we feel healthy and strong, and some days we just wish we were at home with our family. Being human means that we fear the unknown, we have individual character traits, we aren’t all the same. Being human means that we are allowed to be mad, not necessarily at you (unless you have earned it). We are allowed to break down, and we are allowed to be built back up. Being human means that we make mistakes, but we will do our best to learn from and correct them.

You see, being a police officer does not restrict me from being human. My sadness, anger or fear may not be directed at you.  But just as you can claim to be human, we can too.

I Don’t Just Want This Job, I Need This Job

I use this form of media, this forum, to relieve stress, to give myself an outlet, but to also reach out to those officers who may be feeling the exact same way I do, but just don’t know how to express it.

I’ve come to a point where I have decided that I don’t just want this job, I need this job. This may sound extreme; I will ask you one question, if you were not a police officer what could you see yourself doing successfully? What would you want to do? Is that a realistic goal?

I think this is a unique characteristic of police officers. We find ourselves in a job that turns into such a lifestyle that we believe in. When we believe in something as strong as we believe in policing, we are unable to see ourselves in another profession, in another life-style. I often think to myself what I would do if I were laid off, if I lost my job, or if I made a mistake so great that I was given the all-feared “A or B plan”. It can actually cause tangible stress for me. I have become so mentally dedicated to this life style and this profession that I cannot possibly think of a life beyond policing.

I have come to realize that maybe, just maybe, this is okay. I guarantee some professionals would say that this is an unhealthy mindset. I can see how they would say that, but I will still disagree. What I have come to discover, is that this fear of failing, or the fear of being left out of this job allows me to perform this job to the utmost of my abilities. I have allowed my fear to turn into a positive aspect of my job and life. I do not allow my fear to draw me into a negative mindset, I allow it to aid in my success. If you fear that someday you may find yourself in a situation in which you will be out of your comfort zone of policing, you need to allow that fear to aid in your every single-day success. Ensure that you go into every day determined to succeed and perform. Make those conscious and correct decisions. Do not allow your emotions to get the best of you. Do not hesitate, but do not become too eager. Remain tactical, secure and safe. Use your training, you know you have it.

I know just as well as you do that we all fear losing our job as a police officer. What in the world would, or could, we possibly do without this job? You and I both know that we were born to be police officers. Go into every single work day ensuring that when you leave, you will still be a police officer tomorrow.

Blessed are the peace makers.

A Police Officer’s Stance on Gun Control

It seems that, in the United States, every single time a major event involving a gun occurs, numerous people come out of the wood work to take one side or the other on gun control. I have the unique blessing to sit back and watch this evolve as a police officer. I see valid points for both sides of the fence (although I will refrain from telling you which side I truly belong to; I am sure you can guess, as a fellow police officer).

What I can do is sit here and tell you my stance on gun control, solely through the eyes of a police officer. Now, I do not speak for all police officers, I do not speak for my department, I do not speak for my family. I speak for me and me only. My stance is not dependent on what legislation enacts, it is not dependent on how hard it is to buy a gun at a gun store, it is not dependent on the law. My stance on gun control is completely dependent on those that refuse to follow the law. In my opinion, it does not matter how much gun control exists. People who break the law, will continue to break the law. My stance on gun control lies in how much control I have over my own gun. As a police officer, I will always have the god-given privilege to carry a firearm. Gun control to me is how well I can aim, how well I can concentrate on trigger squeeze, following through, remaining on target until the target is neutralized, and keeping a sense of situational awareness all while ensuring the threat to myself and others is dealt with. Gun control to me is not a political issue. Gun control to me is ensuring that I am trained to the point that, when I need to rely on my gun, I am able to utilize it effectively.

It is an indisputable fact that guns will exist in this world until the day you and I die, despite what anyone in our city’s, state’s or country’s legislature does. It is our responsibility to make sure we have control over our guns as police officers. Train well, train often, train past the fight.