As proactive officers today in law enforcement, there are more obstacles to overcome daily in our efforts to interdict the criminal element than there have ever been.
Many of these obstacles are from outside influences. However, some of them, sadly enough, come from inside the walls of our department. Sometimes they come from our teammates around us. Unfortunately, those officers will always be speaking negatively about proactive police work. For a new officer who is excited about the job and yearning to go out and have fun doing the job they signed up for, those types of negative interactions with fellow officers can and will have a significant impact on the kind of officer they decide to become.
Suppose you consider yourself a proactive officer who enjoys hitting the streets each shift, going after the criminal element, and succeeding. In that case, you can do something to keep that from happening to a new officer.
I urge you to take it upon yourself to preach this skill set and gift to any of your new officers who are willing to listen. Take them under your wing and empower them to have the success you are having. You just may be changing the career of a future legendary officer or an officer who will be the one that saves your life on a hot call or traffic stop gone south.
The impact you make as a single, hard-charger at your agency is excellent, but it pales in comparison to the impact you make when you become a mentor of this type of work to others. Until you do, I would argue that many of these officers will never know “what they don’t even know.” Very early in my career, I put myself through interdiction-type classes, which hugely influenced my success on the road. Still, one factor that I can’t deny was having a 14-year veteran proactive patrol cop way ahead of the curve who took it upon himself to mentor and develop me, teaching me how to work interdiction at the patrol level successfully. He honestly ignored the noise from the haters around him that talked down about his “real police work style.” Instead, he completely changed how I attacked the criminal element each shift and spoke to people to build rapport, gain admissions of PC and gain consent.
He lit the torch for me, and I ran with that torch full speed ahead, and I never stopped. When I worked with him, even after 14 years, he showed up every shift, switched on, and was ready to proactively go to bat out there—seeing that enthusiasm and mindset were contagious for me. So I made the conscious decision early on to make those characteristics my own. I can honestly say that having a mentor like that, with respect to proactive police work, changed my career and, in turn, my life.
I made it a mission to do the same as a patrol officer when I decided my skill set was strong enough. Then, after promoting to Sergeant, I made it a goal to use that role to continue to mentor and develop officers in the same way. It is my greater purpose. You have made a difference even if you can only impact one officer in a way that develops them to be a better version of themselves.
Nothing is more rewarding than this.
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