Preventing a career-ending mistake
The Four Horsemen of career apocalypse — anger, lust, greed, and peer pressure — can end a cop's livelihood as surely as a bullet can end their life
Many officers affix a favorite photo to the visor of the patrol car at the beginning of each shift to remind themselves that they will do everything in their power to insure that they will survive the shift and return home to that family. There are many potential dangers officers have to be mentally and physically be prepared to resist. These dangers include criminals, ambushers, domestic abusers and the Four Horsemen. “What do you mean, the Four Horsemen?” you ask.
The Four Horsemen
You can look at this two ways. You can say it is unfair, or you can appreciate the confidence the public has in you. Regardless, there is truth in the words of the late Eldon Mueller, “The man who angers you conquers you.”
The police professional can expect to be verbally and physically assaulted in every manner imaginable. Officers need to prepare themselves to act out of necessity rather than anger. This can be done through physical skill training and mental conditioning. To overreact would not only jeopardize a police professional’s career, but there is a fine line between criminal battery and justifiable use of force. Officers can’t allow suspects to goad them into crossing that line.
In March 2010, Sgt. Scott Krause was convicted of punching a handcuffed prisoner repeatedly for kicking the window of the squad car and demanding to be taken to the bathroom. Krause lost his job and was sentenced to 18 months in prison. This man angered Sergeant Krause and sadly, conquered him.
There are some extreme examples where officers in the past have entered law enforcement already possessing dark criminal desires. Former Officer Marcus Huffman in August of 2010 was sentenced to 40 years in prison after he was convicted of sexually assaulting a female in a police department substation. He had picked her up after he stopped to assist her because she was extremely intoxicated and on foot.
For example, in April 2010 Officer Ronald Jackson was sentenced to 18 months in prison for Theft. He stopped a female carrying a large quantity of brand new high tech equipment stolen from Best Buy. The female was arrested on an outstanding warrant. Jackson and his back-up, Officer Christian Brezil split the stolen merchandize and there was no mention of it in their report.
Jackson’s career is over and the former police officer is facing a prison term.
Would you be prepared to take action which would lead to their firing and criminal prosecution, or succumb to peer pressure? No matter how heinous the crime, it is not an easy arrest to make when the suspect wears the same uniform as you do.
The Path of Honor
The path of honor is not always the easy path to follow — there will be many opportunities in a career to take a detour from this path. If you ever find yourself tempted to leave this path, remember the smiling faces of your family in the worn picture on the visor of your squad. Act as if they are watching you and strive to make them proud.
A police officer seeking to hold true to their principals and high values must remember, when tempted to succumb to anger, lust, greed, or peer pressure that they can sell their honor for a penny. Once it is lost, however, it can’t be bought back for a billion dollars.
Looking back after the completion of an honorable career in law enforcement is a source of unspeakable satisfaction. Guard your honor with your life and your life with your honor.
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