7 reasons I'm still a police officer
The list of things I enjoy could be much longer, but I'll keep it to these seven
The life of a modern day police officer is difficult at best. We’re expected to know the ins and outs of every law written, decide on the fly how to enforce those laws, navigate through streams of motorists who have forgotten how to yield to an emergency vehicle, and use only the amount of force that has been deemed appropriate by the internet and media when arresting those who don’t want to be arrested.
We don’t get to see folks when they’re having a good day.
Usually, we only darken a doorstep because something bad has been—or is currently happening inside that door. Once we arrive, we’re expected to bring order to the situation and immediately make determinations about which story being told is the actual truth.
Those of us who don a ballistic vest, uniform, and duty belt and hit the streets knowing very well there are people in this world that will not hesitate to try and take our lives. Even in my quaint little suburban town, I’ve had my fair share of single-fingered waves by passing motorists.
“Defund the police!” Well, that was done years ago; do you want to see my paystub? Have a look at our budget while you’re at it.
I have a bachelor’s degree and years of experience. I could find a job that would pay better in the corporate world and be much safer, too. So why do I remain a cop? Why do we subject ourselves to the sights, sounds, smells, and danger that are inherent in today’s world? I can’t speak for everyone, but here are seven reasons I’m still a cop:
1. Protecting those who cannot protect themselves
There isn’t anything more satisfying about police work than stopping a crime that is in progress or arresting someone who has victimized an innocent person. Rolling up on a burglary that is otherwise not yet reported, or any number of other crimes of the sort is an amazingly gratifying experience. Placing handcuffs on a suspect of a brutal crime is even better.
2. Getting help to someone who needs it
We encounter all walks of life, and it doesn’t matter what socioeconomic category, race, color, or creed we encounter, each interaction is unique. Sometimes the best answer is to jail a drug offender so the court can mandate treatment. I’ve had several people thank me years later for getting them the help that their family so desperately wanted for them.
Other times, we may come into contact with someone who is truly trying to do what they can to support a family and is coming up short. Being able to help is what it’s all about. Many a cop has opened his or her own wallet to buy groceries, to replace a stolen bicycle, or put a couple of gallons of gas in a vehicle for someone who is down on his or her luck.
3. Variety is the spice of life
Sure, we may take the same types of calls pretty frequently, and they are often at the same locations, but it’s never repetitive. Each call for service that involves humans can be a brand new experience and an opportunity to do something new. New may be good or bad, but it’s new nonetheless.
4. I appreciate my family life more
The Mrs. is great all by herself, but after responding to domestic disturbance after domestic disturbance for years, I know how lucky I am to have her in my life. The same is true with my kids because we deal with some real disrespectful juveniles at times. Knowing that each time I leave the house in uniform may be the last time, I do everything I can to maximize the time I have with all of them.
5. I’m a more informed parent.
This knowledge is pretty handy when the kids make a new friend at school and get invited to a sleepover. Wait, you want to stay where? Nah, we’ll pass. Thanks, though.
6. I don’t have to decide what to wear to work.
Unless I’m training somewhere or doing a plainclothes phase of field training, I know what I’m going to be wearing when I head out the door for work. If I want some variety, I’ll switch from my BDU’s to the good old fashioned polyester get up.
7. I work with some real good cops.
I wish I could say that everyone I work with is outstanding, but let’s be real, there are some that really just enjoy telling people that they’re cops. We are lucky to have some really brave, courageous, and compassionate officers in my town. Just when you think you have them figured out, they’ll roll out a new wrinkle to show how amazing they actually are. These are the men and women that I want responding to back me up, and when I hear that they’re on the way I know they will do everything they can to help everyone stay safe.
The list of things I enjoy could be much longer, I mean who doesn’t like to drive fast and get paid to go shoot at the range? Ultimately, it’s all about keeping my area a safe place for my friends and family.