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December 28, 2012
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Brian Willis If I Knew Then...
with Brian Willis

2012 in Review: Enough is enough

As you reflect on the past 12 months and plan for the upcoming year, ask yourself life’s most powerful question

The norm as you head into a new year is to make a list of New Year's Resolutions — things you will do in the upcoming year.

As you reflect on the past 12 months and plan for the upcoming year, ask yourself life’s most powerful question — What’s Important Now?

And consider making 2013 your year to say “Enough is Enough.”

Enough with Making Excuses
Do you make excuses why you don’t work out? Excuses like, “It is too hard to work out when you work shifts.”  “I don’t have time to work out because I have a busy life.” “Why should I work out if the department won’t give me time and won’t pay for my gym membership.”

Enough is enough. While you are making excuses, not working out and getting fat and lazy, some violent criminal is intensely working out in his 4 x 8 foot cell so he can kick your ass when you try to take him back to jail.

Your excuses are having a negative effect on your health, your future and your family and they are putting you, and your brother and sister officers who rely on you, at risk.

Do you make excuses why you don’t eat healthy, claiming it is hard to eat healthy when you work shifts, and the only thing open in the middle of the night are donut shops?

Enough is enough. Pack a lunch, bring a cooler, or buy quality meal replacement bars and shakes. Read Daniel Amen’s books (Change Your Brain - Change Your Life, Change Your Brain - Change Your Body, and The Amen Solution) and find out exactly how what you eat, what you drink and your lack of sleep is negatively affecting not only your body, but your brain.

Are you one of those officers who make excuses why you don’t wear body armor (too hot, too uncomfortable, nothing every happens in my town)? Enough is enough. Body armor saves lives, plain and simple.

You owe it to yourself, your brother and sister officers, your community and your family to wear your armor every day. If you won’t wear it for yourself, then wear it for your fellow officers so they do not have to put their lives at risk and come save your sorry ass when you get shot. If you will not wear it for yourself then wear it for your family.

Do you make excuses why you don’t wear your seat belt?

The seat belt gets hung up on the butt of my pistol
I get hung up on the seat belt getting out of the car
I could get trapped in my car and ambushed if I am wearing a seat belt

Enough is enough.

Cops are dying needlessly every year because they are NOT wearing seatbelts. Over the last three decades, there are more than 300 officers who lost their lives in fatal traffic collisions who may very well still be alive if they had been wearing their seatbelts. Thousands more have been seriously injured in collisions because they were not wearing their seat belts.

Enough of the Big Boys (and Girls) Don’t Cry Mentality
For too long the prevailing mentality in the law enforcement culture has been “big boys don’t cry,” “suck it up,” and “it is a sign of weakness to admit something is bothering you and to ask for help.”

This mentality is destroying careers, destroying families, and killing officers.

Enough is enough.

If something is bothering you, it is a sign of strength and courage to get the help you need before it destroys you and your family. Talk to someone. Access your peer support and psychological services resources, talk to peers who have been through what you have been through. 

Read Surviving the Shadows by Bob Delaney. Attend a presentation by Bob Delaney, Clarke and Tracie Paris, or others who are sharing the message of hope. You deserve to be healthy physically and emotionally so do something to get the help you need.

Enough with Avoiding the Courageous Conversations
Make a list of the officers you know who drive too fast all the time, never wear their seat belts, never wear their body armor, eat like crap and never work out and who you know are struggling emotionally and psychologically.

Have you had a courageous conversation with any of them to let them know you care enough about them to bring their dangerous behaviors to their attention? 

Why is it that cops will risk their lives to save a fellow officer, but will not have these courageous conversations that could just as easily save a life? 

Enough is enough. 

Make it your mission this year to reach out to each of those officers and let them know you care too much about them and their families to ignore these behaviors any longer. That conversation may just save their career, their marriage and their life.

Enough with Failing to Take Responsibility for Your Own Training
Too many officers continue to embrace the mentality that training is the agencies responsibility. I continue to hear officers say; “if training is not on the company time, and the company dime they will not attend the training." 

Abdicating the responsibility for training to your agency is an extremely dangerous mindset. Your agency does not respond to calls — you do. Agencies do not get killed and injured in the line of duty — officers do.

Enough is enough.

You are at the pointy end of the spear. You are the one going into harms way and responding to dangerous calls. You need to invest in yourself and make a personal commitment to train on your own.

Start by making every day a training day and committing 10 minutes a day to train your skills and tactics, review a policy or a legal issue or conduct a when / then exercise. 

Set aside a couple of dollars a day into a ‘training account’ and at least once a year attend a training course or conference on your own. That investment will pay huge dividends for your safety and wellbeing and your family and fellow officers will be grateful.

Enough with Bad Training
As a profession we have been tolerant of bad training for too long and the time has come to say enough is enough.

Enough with:

Bad PowerPoint presentations
Trainers just standing in the front of the room reading from the lesson plans or reading verbatim every word from every slide
Using “this is the way we have always done it” as an excuse for delivering outdated training
Training that is designed for officers to fail
The telling of endless, irrelevant war stories
Endless videos of officers screwing up and getting killed
The mentality that trainers need to ‘stress officers out’ in order for training to be effective
Killing officers in training scenarios
Firearms programs designed to teach officers to qualify, but failing to teach them to win gunfights

If you are a trainer, join ILEETA, attend an ILEETA conference, attend an Excellence in Training Course, read books like Presentation Zen by Garr Reynolds, InsideOut Coaching by Joe Ehrmann, Mindset by Carol Dweck and The Police Instructor by Richard Neil.

“What’s Important Now” is for all of us to make 2013 the year we care enough about each other and our profession to say, “Enough is Enough.”


About the author

Brian Willis is an internationally-recognized thought leader, speaker, trainer, and writer. Brian serves as the Deputy Executive Director for the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA) and is President of the innovative training company Winning Mind Training. Brian was a full time police officer with the Calgary Police Service from 1979 to 2004. He is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his contribution and commitment to Officer Safety in Canada and was named Law Officer Trainer of the Year for 2011. He is also editor of the highly-acclaimed books W.I.N.: Critical Issues in Training and Leading Warriors , W.I.N. 2: Insights Into Training and Leading Warriors, and his latest work, If I Knew Then: Life Lessons From Cops on the Street , are all available through (www.warriorspiritbooks.com). Brian is a member of NTOA, ITOA, IALEFI, and the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers. Brian can be reached through his website at www.winningmindtraining.com.

Brian can be reached via e-mail at brian.willis@policeone.com.





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