7 Cool Things Unique to Police Life
Officers experience and observe idiosyncratic activity unique to other professions. There are moments of despair and moments of glory. In between those two pendulums are the odd occurrences, humorous encounters, and thrills. Perhaps you are familiar with some of these factors of police life. Below are some of my favorites:
1. Every Day Is Like A Box Of Chocolates
Routine factory work or being tied down to a desk or space is not in a cop’s repertoire. You never know what you are going to get to respond to each work day. Every shift and every call are distinctive and/or remarkable.
Police officers not only deal with human misery, but they have contact with funny or odd events which break up the gloom and doom of the profession. Law enforcement officials have to be able to comprehend and empathize with various complex human relationships, behaviors, and incidents which they encounter on a daily basis. Human behavior is very unpredictable and at times can be amazing and humorous to observe. People do and say crazy things. I once had a chief state, “Police work is box office seats to pure entertainment.” It truly can be an enjoyable spectator sport at times.
3. Fast And Furious: Lights And Sirens
Police cars are designed for speed, safe handling, and maneuverability. Every department wants to distinguish itself among the others with graphics, but the engine, handling, and inside of the car is the most important to an officer. Emergency calls occur daily. Officers drive 8-12 hours in one shift which requires vehicle operations skills to be paramount. Continued education in emergency vehicle operations is mandatory for every officer.
Running Code 3 (emergency lights and sirens activated) really is as fun as it looks. Over time, driving code becomes automatic and the thrill dissolves into comfortable operation and familiarity of a rocket. It’s true that NASA regularly recruits police officers to become astronauts. Well, not really, but it sounded exciting anyway.
4. Toys Are Us
The latest and greatest technology, gadgets, devices, and training tools are introduced to law enforcement for the purpose of fighting criminal activity. As society moves more and more into the technology age of high tech, police must keep progressive in order to be prepared. Science and engineering have played an important role in law enforcement.
For instance, when the Taser was brought in as a less lethal device, police officers had another instrument to use to restrain a combative subject with minimal injury to the officer and suspect. As part of training, many departments require an officer to be tased and endure thorough training before being allowed to carry it. This is to insure the device is used appropriately and assists the officers’ knowledge of a human’s physiological response when receiving the charges. Although not a favorite pastime of patrol officers in training, it did become a less lethal instructor’s dream come true to avenge those colleagues who claimed to be impermeable.
Added to list are Simunitions (non-lethal ammunition, conversion systems, and simulated firearms) used in dynamic training events. It puts virtual reality into training. It’s just like playing hide and seek only with flying objects caused to increase adrenaline and bring real life into focus without injury or death, obviously. After the training sessions, many officers compare “war wounds” (red marks) caused by the projectiles.
Many police departments have the largest big screen video game systems in the country. Most often this is referred to as the F.A.T.S. (Firearms Training System) device. Welcome to “Call of Duty: Cops Version.” Various scenarios are placed on the screen in front of the officer for an interactive training course including sound and visual displays. At the end, each officer’s skills are assessed and scored by the system in conjunction with a firearms instructor.
Body cameras, video dash mounts, and recording devices/systems are becoming front page news for organizations claiming to keep up with public demands in technology. Tools provided to law enforcement for training purposes, restraint mechanisms, and the apprehension of suspects are necessary. As technology increases, officers gain more advantageous training methods and devices. If you examine an officer’s gun belt, you will see additional tools on a smaller scale used in the line of duty.
5. The Buddy System
The bond officers have with each other is comparable to the camaraderie created between soldiers. Not only do officers back each other in life and death situations, they do so in their personal lives as well. They are the first to be present for their peers’ personal life and career celebrations, and the first to assist during hard times. Outsiders often refer to this as the “blue bond” or “police brotherhood”, among other terms.
6. Helping Hands (saving lives, helping people and kids)
Along with the “blue bond”, officers have an internal instinct to protect the citizens in their communities. A police officer’s doctrine, “to serve and protect” is taken to heart by law enforcement. When they answer the emergency calls- preserving life is priority-sometimes at the sacrifice of their own safety.
Law enforcement are actively involved in many charitable organizations to benefit children and families. Kids have always had a special relationship with law enforcement because children are viewed as innocent and unable most times to defend themselves. As part of our society, it is a moral belief that adults have an obligation to protect them. Police officers take that responsibility very seriously.
You might also see officers socializing with young persons by patronizing lemonade stands, sledding down a hill in winter with a group, or cheering them on at the ball park. Kids rock! We want them to be healthy, happy, and safe. Always.
7. Adrenaline Junkies
It’s no secret that cops are adrenaline junkies and the dynamic calls feed that addiction. On duty, it becomes second nature over time. There are many risky and dangerous calls to duty which can spark adrenaline surges. Over time, a veteran may not have quite the same physiological response as a newer officer. Off duty, you might see police officers engaging in hobbies to seek that next thrill like rock climbing, Spartan events, or white water rafting/kayaking and such. And on the slower side of physical wellness, if work adrenaline rushes are fed by the profession, you might see them out on the river fishing to get away from societal chaos.
There are many more activities in law enforcement which might strike a chord with officers in a different sense. The profession is always evolving and presenting unique experiences to those who engage in the career. With so much negative influences on an officer, the positive encounters and humorous observations make it worth the sacrifice.