Friday, November 20, 2009

Flying Solo...

You have passed FTO, and you're on your own. It has likely been two to three years since you completed the employment application that got you here. You have taken test after test, worked your ass off in the academy, repeated the process in Field Training, and now you get to work by yourself.

Don't think you know it all, because you don't. You'll continue to learn, train and educate yourself for the rest of your career.

I often have days when I'm rolling along on auto-pilot, not even thinking about what I'm doing because I've done it so many times over. Then something will pop up that I have never experienced and I'll have to figure out how to handle it. I learn from it, and the next time it happens I'll be able to deal with it without having to think it through first. But, just when I think I've seen everything, I always find that I haven't.

Police work is like that.

Cops are really set in our ways, and we don't embrace change. We like to do things the same way, every time. We often think our way is the only way. Sometimes it takes a proverbial smack upside the head to realize a different way might actually be better.

Don't automatically dismiss new ideas. "The way we've always done it" is not an excuse to stop learning new methods and techniques. Things change. Better ways are discovered. New case law arises. Sometimes the courts will decide the way we've always done it is now wrong.

As police officers, we have to adapt. We have to be flexible. We have to learn how to do things the right way, even when the right way changes. This seems to be less of a problem for newer officers, because things seem to change more often these days than they did 30 years ago.

Hopefully, after all you've been through over the past year or two, the application process, the academy, FTO, you'll be in this line of work for the long run. You may find that it's not exactly what you expected, but if you love it enough you'll get over that.

So buckle in and hang on,

It's gonna be a great ride...


Flying Tiger said...

You are correct in your assessment. What kills me is when BRASS ignores good ideas from officers that would help thing run more efficiently and safely, and keep officers on the streets, instead of doing it a certain way because "That's the way it's always been done."

shayne baker said...

Officer "Smith",

I have been reading your blog religiously over the past few days. I am currently in the Military and I am looking to apply to the California Highway Patrol in November of this year. I find your writing informative as well as humorous. I will be getting out of the service in January and am moving back to Sacramento. Now I understand asking to meet you and pick your brain is most likely out of the question. But, I would love to have email contact with you. In my years I know that networking, making friends, and also finding a good mentor goes a long way. I would be very honored if you would afford me the privaledge of either of those. If not, I appreciate you taking the time to read this and wish you and your family all the best.