Monday, September 15, 2014

Going Through a Phase...

Being a cop is something akin to the transition from childhood to adulthood.  We all go through phases in life, and in our career.

When you're a fresh, new boot you realize you know absolutely nothing about being a cop. Every day your FTO makes that more and more clear. You go out into the big, scary world where people are trying to hurt you, and you do your best to learn everything you can.  You have to start out by crawling, and eventually you'll be able to grasp something and pull yourself up to stand.

Once you have about a year or two on the job, you start to feel like you've got a handle on this job. You've become more confident in your abilities. You seek out more learning and keep trying to improve. You probably call your sergeant or another officer almost daily to ask about the finer points of handling a particular situation.  You're walking on your own now, but you still need someone to provide for you and change the occasional diaper when you shit yourself.  Sergeants, parents, take your pick.

At about the five year mark you start to think you know it all. You get over confident and nobody can tell you the way you're doing something is wrong.  Now you're a teen.  You're cocky and you know everything better than people who are senior to you.

Somewhere in the range from seven to about fifteen years, you are considered a proficient officer. You should know enough to be able to do the job without direct supervision, and without having to call on others regularly for answers. You know you're pretty good, but you start to realize you don't know it all.  Welcome to adulthood.  You are able to provide for yourself, but you know you're not perfect.  You are willing to ask questions without fear of losing face.  You know respect is earned.

After fifteen or twenty years, you really understand that you will never know everything, you can't fix everything, and there's nothing you can do about it. You will decide to either continue giving it your best and strive for the most positive outcome, or you will get dejected and give up.  Here's where you are either an old, crotchety senior citizen who hates everyone (and you should do us all a favor and just retire), or you are the well seasoned adult who still continues to learn and make yourself better even with the knowledge that you will never know everything, and even though your kids (read the public) think you either know everything or nothing, depending upon which better suits their needs at the moment.

I, fortunately, have not yet reached the senile old fart stage...

1 comment:

Jay said...

In all walks of life may we all aim to be well seasoned adults and not crotchety senior citizens. Glad you're not at the senile old fart stage yet although even if you were I’m sure you’d still have some interesting stories to tell. Thanks for hanging in there.