The do’s and don’ts of a cop vacation
#1 Carry a pistol in a concealed manner
I know that all cops don’t get an opportunity to venture out on vacations away from home, but I’m not sure I could function for an entire calendar year in uniform without a break or two in an area where no one knows I’m a cop.
Living in a fishbowl wears on the psyche. It makes these short respites necessary. After a year of missing events and holidays with the family, I owe a week or two of my undivided attention to them.
My wife and I like to play a game while we are vacationing. We call it “spot the cop,” and it’s all about pointing out other cops who are on vacation by identifying the telltale signs. We’d play “spot the firefighter” too, but it would be too easy since they’re always wearing some sort of FD union shirt anyway.
Here’s my short list of do’s and don’ts for vacationing cops:
Do: Carry a pistol in a concealed manner
Even though you’re off duty and in another state, you still need to be able to defend yourself and your family. Most of my off duty clothes only fit if I’m carrying a pistol anyway. If you are suddenly thrust into an incident that is life or death, be prepared to act. Just remember, an officer in uniform wins, so be prepared to follow directions and quickly identify yourself.
Don’t: Carry your pistol in a fanny pack
You aren’t fooling anyone while you walk around with a fanny pack that obviously weighs about 10 pounds.
Do: Carry your badge and department-issued identification
No one wants to get pushed into an incident while off duty and on vacation, but if it happens you will need to prove who you are to responding officers. If it’s not a life and death situation, be a good witness and stay out of it.
Don’t: “Accidentally” badge people (especially if it's for a discount on food)
If you’re driving with a lead foot and get stopped by a local officer, you can discreetly mention it, but don’t frantically flash it out the window as he or she is approaching your vehicle.
Do: Wear comfortable clothing that is appropriate for the area you are visiting
You’re on vacation. Take a break from your uniform and duty belt. Get comfortable.
Don’t: Wear police t-shirts or the basket weave belt you wear with your uniform pants
Not only do you look like a “boot” for doing it, you are defeating the purpose of being on vacation and not having to be readily identified as a cop. Unless you’re camping, leave the 5.11 pants at home.
Do: Relax. You’ve earned it
Drink some adult beverages if you are so inclined. Smoke a cigar. Go fishing. Go swimming. Lay out by the beach. Go for a hike.
Don’t: Drive drunk
This should be obvious. We all know drinking and driving is a terrible decision. Different state lines don’t change that. So don't do it. And if you find yourself on a golf course, for God’s sake don’t start shooting your pistol even if it would be a great firing range.
Since I’ll be headed out on vacation soon, I’d love to hear any do’s and don’ts you may have, so please add them in the comments section.