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Providing personal backup

By PoliceOne Staff

The bond between law enforcement officers is undoubtedly one of the strongest of any relationship. On a daily basis, officers put their lives on the line for their brother and sister officers during calls and in turn trust with their lives that their fellow officers will do the same for them. Ask an officer if he or she would hesitate to step in to assist an officer in trouble during a call and you can bet you’ll get a resounding “No way!”

Surprisingly, however, the same may not hold true when it comes to assisting an officer in personal matters. That’s not to say that help is knowingly withheld, but often officers will hesitate to meddle in “another officer’s private business,” even in instances where problems are clearly evident, with the idea that doing so would be disrespectful and unnecessary (“I’m sure he’ll take care of whatever it is on his own. If he needs help, he’ll ask and then I’ll gladly get involved.”). In some instances, this might be true. But in others, a willingness to stick your neck out a little and ask, “Hey, I noticed this or that...is everything OK?” can be a lifesaver.

When you see or sense something “odd” in a fellow officer — a change in personality, behavior that might be in line with substance abuse, a recently developed short fuse, a shift from a motivated 5%er level of police work to an overtly apathetic approach to the job — have the courage to take the risk and call it like you see it. No major public production necessary (or advised). Just a sincere inquiry into how things are going and a heartfelt reiteration of the fact that you’re there to support that fellow officer — no matter where, no matter what.

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