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2013 resolutions from the frontline trenches

I’ve had the privilege to meet and learn from some of the best officers and trainers across the nation. As we begin 2013, I asked some of them about their New Year’s resolutions. 

More responded than I can include here, but reading them all was both a humbling and inspiring experience for which I give thanks. All of them make me determined to be worthy of such guardians.

With the hope they do the same for you, here are some of those responses.

There are plenty of life lessons we can learn from our dogs. My dog’s New Year’s resolution is to “live in the present moment.” Good advice. (PoliceOne Image)
There are plenty of life lessons we can learn from our dogs. My dog’s New Year’s resolution is to “live in the present moment.” Good advice. (PoliceOne Image)

Lt. Col. Dave Grossman
From the man who needs no introduction, this resolution for himself and all of us:

“To sustain the sense of urgency. These are desperate times, and we must communicate that sense of urgency.”

Dave listed sobering challenges — Mexico’s gang and drug violence that crosses our border, active shooters in our theaters and elementary schools, the continuing threat of radical terrorists.

“It is a time for sheepdogs. A time for warriors. A time to be passionate. A time to sustain and communicate a deep and profound sense of urgency to those we teach.”

Harvey Hedden 
While many of us know Harvey as the Executive Director of ILEETA (International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association), he made his bones as a cop for 35 years — from patrolman to Chief. Harvey’s was so like the quiet, self-deprecating, hard-working-behind-the scenes-while-giving-the-credit-to-others man I’ve come to know.

“Find ways to help people who need it but would never ask for it.”

Lynn Larson 
Lynn has spent the last 18 years working at the Arizona P.O.S.T., and like Harvey, his resolution is a reflection of the man.

Lynn is the only cop I’ve met who sports a Super Bowl ring.

He describes his life after the Baltimore Colts as “a Swiss Army knife.” Before he settled in at the P.O.S.T., he delivered beer, played a season with the British Columbia Lions, taught school, and coached football. He’s also worked with tax-deferred investments, was a stock broker, worked in various schools’ gang and dropout prevention programs and was the national curriculum chair for DARE. 

“My resolution for 2013 is to share this piece of advice with every academy recruit class I administer our certification test to [remember]:

‘Don’t let what you do….become who you are. Stay well rounded; have friends who have nothing to do with law enforcement, have hobbies/activities that have nothing to do with law enforcement, keep your faith active, don’t work every extra shift you can — spend that time with your loved ones, and finally, live the Law Enforcement Code of Ethics…regardless of what others in your department may be doing’.”

Larry Smith 
Larry is one of the most positive, curious, open-minded and hearted, constantly learning, supportive people I’ve met in law enforcement. The guy sets the gold standard for “you’re not getting older, you’re getting better.”

With 34 years in policing, 40 years college level teaching, and three textbooks to his name, he’s got more martial arts and police awards and certifications than I have fingers and toes.

“I want to stay alive with good health so I can be the oldest police trainer alive.”

Since Larry is 78 going on 30, I figure he’s got at least another 70 years.

Nicholas Hayes
Nick is at the other end of the experience (but not wisdom) spectrum from Larry. I had the privilege of being one of his instructors at the Alaska DPS Academy two years ago.

He’s now my go-to guy for any technological questions I need answered to keep up with his generation of law enforcement. But Nick is no geek (not that there’s anything wrong with that). He’s a Skookum Alaska State Trooper in Fairbanks.

“My resolution is to use my position to positively impact the community and children. I did the Shop with a Cop this year and saw the positive impact we had on those children.

“Normally we show up and take mom or dad to jail for some criminal activity but with these programs, we’re able to show kids that we really care and that we are there to help. Showing love and compassion with this career is the tallest hurdle I’ve faced so far but it’s one I plan on jumping over.”

From your lips, to our ears, Nick.

Betsy Brantner Smith 
Betsy is a 115-pound, kick butt, take no prisoners, Amazon — physically, mentally, and emotionally. She retired as a patrol Sergeant with 30 years in law enforcement. Just watching her train wears me out. Calling her a high achiever is like calling Einstein good at math. Sorry sister, but I had to trim your resolutions because of space limitations.

“I will make ‘working out’ part of my ‘work day.’ …I will drink less coffee and more water.

“I will honor and appreciate [my] amazing family. I will remember their sacrifices over the years and show true gratitude for all they’ve done to allow me to live the life that I do. I will limit the number of times I say to them “I’ll be there soon” or “Give me a few more minutes” or “This is important, I’ve got to work on this now.

“I will listen, participate, and focus on the people that are truly important. And yes, that includes the dog, who has to wait far too long for his walks. In other words, I’ll re-adjust my priorities, again.”

Speaking of Dogs...
There are plenty of life lessons we can learn from our dogs. So here’s my dog’s New Year’s resolution:

“I will live in the present moment.”

That’s one resolution I’m betting gets kept.

Share your resolutions in the comments section below.

As you can see in the sidebar above and to the left, research shows that writing your goals down helps you achieve them. So, you’ll be one step ahead of my dog.

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