“Hey, so why did you want to be a cop?” A question we have all heard. People are curious about what makes us tick and why we would sign on. They want to see why we do what we do. There are many reasons why and each of them is our own. I am one of those people. As I get to know a sister or brother in blue (or Khaki), I ask them why they chose this profession. I find myself asking it more and more in recent times. We live in a time when no one wants to be a cop, so the ones that do, I want to know their reasons. I also ask the old-timers, the burnouts, admin, and retired cops. The answers are often the same; some are more honest than others.
I want to know why you became a cop. For those interested, I would like you to take some time and submit a 500-word or less article on what made you decide to become a law enforcement officer. Explain your process. Tell us what made you choose to be on team blue. The editor and chiefs here at Street Cop Training will select a few and publish them. Selected authors will be given a T-shirt from Street Cop Training and have the ability to share their stories with others. To start things off, I will tell you all why I became a law enforcement officer.
I became a cop because I wanted to be part of something bigger than I was. I have struggled in the past to find out who I am. I believe a lot of us go through that. I found out that I am the type of person who thrives in chaos. When others are in a panic, I am calm. I love solving problems. Above all, I love finding out the root of those problems and fixing them.
When I was younger, I wanted to be Indiana Jones. As it turns out, Archaeology has little to nothing to do with fighting Nazis and dating Karen Allen. My second option for a career was to be a cop. I was an explorer. I went on a ride-along. As soon as I was old enough, I became a security guard. Any training that was available to me I took. The fire and spark in the younger version of myself pushed me not to do anything but focus on my dream career. The local agencies got to know me pretty well. I had the patch collection to prove it too. I lived, breathed, ate, and slept being a cop—specifically a deputy sheriff.
I turned 20 and went to the academy. I joined a corrupt agency that would eventually lead to my sheriff being arrested and dying in jail. That left a bad taste in my mouth, so I quit. There was a period in my life when I couldn’t stand cops. I was not too fond of the idea of cops, and I thought it was a joke of a profession. I had a lot of hate and disappointment due to my bad experience. Yet anytime there was an officer-involved shooting that was justified went public, I defended the cop. When I would see people angry on social media in person and lashing out against the police, I would tell them they were wrong. I would explain ad nauseam why the cops do what they do to people that hated them. Looking back, I turned my back on myself, not the job. I was angry with myself for leaving.
I spent the next 15 years floating around and not knowing what I wanted to be when I grew up. It took a long time and a lot of failures for me to realize that I was fighting my nature. I needed to be a cop. So I went back to the academy at 38, and now I am back on team blue. I am part of something bigger than myself. I am thriving in the chaos. I gave up on all of that because of 1 man’s faults, which won’t happen again. I love this job.