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September 21, 2009
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Andrew Hawkes Highway Drug Interdiction
with Andrew Hawkes

Change is inevitable, so roll with it

As we age and gain experience, we often find ourselves in the midst of an ever-changing world of technology, laws, training, and equipment. I remember when I first started out we were the first real generation that did not even consider carrying a wheel gun as a duty weapon. We would look at veteran officer — and their revolvers — as dinosaurs that needed to change. I told myself that I would never have a problem with adapting to innovations and new things because we had the latest and greatest equipment and little would change over the course of my career. Boy, was I wrong!

Since my rookie year, I have seen several major adaptations to the job. Now we have computers in the cars, our pistols have rails on them to add laser sights and flashlights, we have GPS in our cars that tell dispatch were we are at all times, and the once-innovative ‘OC Spray’ is quickly becoming obsolete with the invention of the TASER. Racial profiling statistics, civil liability, and the end — or at least the beginning of the end — of “professional courtesy” is upon us as well.

Young, educated, technology-savvy recruits are looking at my generation thinking the same thing I thought so many years ago. But it’s important to realize that all these changes are not only inevitable, but good for our profession and good for our safety. We must always look toward the future and be able change as things improve.

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When you hear that your agency is getting new technology equipment like license plate readers, “e-citation” software, officer-mounted video cameras, or high-tech new lightbars, you should embrace the changes as much as you can. Get trained on this new stuff.

I didn’t realize that little things, such as ASP batons had even changed so much until one of my rookie's ask me if mine still worked. I didn't realize that batons had almost morphed in some type of space-age light-saber looking gadget. Mine? Well it’s mostly chipped-up metal with a bit of DNA on it. Don't become a Dinosaur, make the little changes necessary to keep up with the learning curve. You will be glad you did...

Training is the key to maintaining a long and worthwhile career. At retirement you can look back at a successful career and many accomplishments, that you had in year one or year eighteen. Don't become "retired on duty" but do whatever it takes to maintain that edge as an officer, whether it is studying up on the newest laws in the classroom or getting the latest certification on the newest piece of equipment out there.

I’ve got to run now — I have to enter racial profiling information on my laptop while my camera records my every move and my GPS tells me how to get to the next call.

About the author

Lt. Hawkes is a 21-year police veteran. In addition to his years of highway drug interdiction, Lt. Hawkes has worked in patrol, K9, investigations, narcotics and administration. He holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Dallas Baptist University and is a graduate of the Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas. He has been the recipient of both State and Local awards. His book, Secrets of Successful Highway Interdiction, which can be purchased here, www.highwaydruginterdiction.com, contains eleven chapters on Highway Drug Interdiction.




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