Things I’ve Learned In 14 Years

Today marks my fourteenth year in law enforcement so I thought I might share a few of the things I’ve learned.

People can be fucking stupid. That includes me.

The job will never love you, no matter how much you love it.

Addicts take no time off. You can encounter them at any time, under any conditions.

Gangsters do take time off. You’ll rarely encounter them before 1000hrs. Gangsters almost always start out mama’s boys, crying for attention from mama.

Traffic stops are not routine.

If it looks to good to be true, it will definitely bite you.

Yes, you may have to touch that vermin-infested criminal, but you don’t have to smell him.

If you are fighting with someone in the middle of the street and didn’t call it in, you are on your own, no matter how many civilians are watching. They’ll record your actions, but don’t count on them helping you.

Shaking it off is for games, not work. You get hurt, you report that shit.

A full moon affects some people, sometimes. Be aware that you might be the person affected. 

Domestic abusers do not generally change their stripes. Pedophiles do not change.

You are going to see things that should not be seen. Hear things that cannot be unheard.

Write the best report you can, every time. You never know when someone is going to get arrested on that stolen property report and you’ll be called to testify.

Accidents happen a lot less often than collisions.

Don’t bring that shit home. Don’t wear your boots home, and don’t take your shit out on the kids, pets, or spouse. That said, figure out how to lance those wounds so they don’t come out at night.

Drinking is not a solution, no matter how fun it can be.

Suicide is not an option. Everything ends, including pain.

If you see a fellow officer in pain, put it all on hold and help them, even if you have to overcome resistance to do so.

Cultivate courtesies even as you learn to talk shit. Know when to use one or the other.

Stay in policy. It might be stupid, but it might protect you from stupid, too.

Supervisors are not out to screw you, but they also may not be looking out for your best interests, either.

When in doubt it is better to be tried by twelve than carried by six.

It’s also better to write the report, no matter how pointless or long, than expend even more effort trying to avoid taking that report.