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Facebook Forum: Weighing in on 'millennial' police recruits

Do you think there's a law enforcement generation gap, and is it a problem?

By PoliceOne Staff

A recent P1 article on the "me generation" and its effect on the future of law enforcement sparked an interesting and, at times, heated discussion on our Facebook page. As some people voiced their complaints about a new class of police recruits who are whiny and disrespectful, others came to their defense. Tell us what you think in the comments section.

Q: Do you think there's a law enforcement generation gap, and is it a problem?

A: The millennial generation poses problems for policing
Though I'm now retired, having served more than 25 years, I still watch and some of the observations I've made are troubling. Many of today's cops ride around in what I call a "war wagon," a large suburban or similar type vehicle with tinted windows instead of the more traditional patrol vehicle. They rarely ride with the windows down nor interact independently with people in their beats. When they do get out, they are dressed more often in a semi-military fashion than in a traditional uniform. They are armed to the teeth, and are quick to let you know. And, this is the biggest thing: they seem scared to death of the very people they swore to protect. Most seem to have no idea how to talk to people, how to develop informants, etc., nor does it seem they want to. They have what I call the 9-11 attitude and it's not a good thing. I pretty much agree with the author's assessment and it does not bode well for the future of law enforcement.  — Brian Wilburn

The "new" and "entitled" generation.... The majority of them want a lot of money, to do very little work. And with no respect at all. Saw it first hand, and part of the reason why I no longer work with them. All I can hope for is Karma! — Marialice Powers

This generation is full of no responsibility, no respect and no accountability. It's pathetic. — M Diggy Mac

A: I'm a millennial but I don't identify with my generation
I have to disagree to a point. There are those of us that fall in that generational definition that are nothing like our birthaged brethren. I'm from a family of LEOs and I've been one since I was of age. I cannot tolerate my fellow generation and fall in line with the older crowd. I work for what I have and where I'm at. I work 2 LEO jobs and have been promoted to front line supervisor at one. I went to college and graduated with a BS and am currently pursuing an MPA as well. Don't discount all of us. — Thomas Myers

I am part of the "me generation" and I refuse to be grouped with these idiots...when a superior asks you to do something you don't ask why, you just do it! That's how I was raised. — Eric Brooks

Sadly I belong to this generation, and being a LEO I found the article interesting and true to some degree. I agree on it's the upbringing of an individual. I grew up in a somewhat strict household with a military parent. I was taught to value self reliance, critical thinking, education, respect and honor, traits others my age do not share and it's annoying to see. Again I believe it starts at home even before a boot hits the Academy grounds. I hope this trend changes. — Terrence Huerta

As a millennial currently working in this field I must say a lot of this is true. People in my generation would rather "Save the Whales" than learn how to save a life, unless saving a life will give them a slot on MTV. Yet, another thing is true. Those few of us millennials that choose law enforcement generally will not fit the stereotypical mold that has been cast for the rest of the generation. I am completely responsible, respectful and accountable. I love my job. — Kayla Plumlee

A: We've heard this one before
Yeah. That's exactly what the 'boomers said about us X-ers. Their social characteristics are different, that's for sure. But this generation is probably the most civic-minded and best educated of all of us. The trouble is that no-one in their lives has introduced them to discipline, they don't understand the ramifications of failure, and they are very resistant to social pressure. So the typical tactics used in training to instill uniformity and teamwork may not work. But if you give them a chance, I guarantee this generation will surprise you with their ingenuity and ability to find new solutions to old problems. — Logan Moody

Didn't Plato complain about the younger generation being undisciplined? It seemed they fared just fine. — Tom Hall

I guess the real question is, when the "Baby Boomer" generation entered the age of LEO careers how did they differ from the generation before? Similarities to today I would be willing to bet. Everyone knows law enforcement is slow to change, so anything new is looked at usually unfavorably. In 20 years it will be interesting in how the "ME" generation has changed law enforcement and how they are adapting to the next generation. — Gregg Magnus

A: Give them a chance
Like it or not, the millennials are here. And they are here to stay. Like technology and tactics, law enforcement must keep up with society. We need millennials to police their generation. We baby boomers and Gen Xers learned to "improvise, adapt and overcome" - integrating millennials is no exception. We must bridge the generational gap by learning about them while teaching them about us. — Tim McClelland

This may apply to most but there are several who still respect authority honor the chain of command and are far from high maintenance. But most of it can go back to the parenting. I was raised to respect elders and work or everything I want and have. — Josh Morgan

I haven't seen it; almost without exception I'm proud to ride next to our young people! They said this about my generation. You just can't bully, haze, or disrespect them as we had to endure. These are smart kids. — David Howard

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