As I think about my life. Really I am not sure I would change anything. I am happy with where I am in my life and what I have accomplished, which is a lot.
I am not the CEO of a big corporation, not an actress, not a singer, not famous for anything at all. I never wanted to be. I’ve been a Student, a teacher, a Mom, a Cop, an EMT, a wife, a whistle-blower, and so many more things.
The things that really matter involve making a difference, even if it is little, or big. It’s all relative. Things that we do as parents, police officers and human beings, when positive, have a ripple effect. It can take years to see the results.
I’ve been told by others younger than I, that I was the reason they went into Law Enforcement. My handling of a situation in their life caused them to look up to and admire the profession. I wish all cops were that way. But then we would all be accused of being “Too Nice” like I was. The thing is, there is no reason to not be nice. If the situation was one where I had to use physical force, or my weapon, it was me doing my job. I didn’t have to psych myself up and call people derogatory names in order to have the adrenaline to perform.
For example: I arrested a guy on a warrant. He screamed, yelled and swore at me almost all the way to the jail. I remained silent. I did not give him a “rough ride” or slam on my brakes so he hit the metal safety partition that separates the front from the prisoner portion of the cruiser.
I have seen it done, it’s not pretty. It results in injuries, a broken nose, a cut or bump on the forehead. Conversely, I have seen prisoners purposely bang their heads on the metal partition until they were bruised and bloodied. All this to go to the hospital instead of jail, or because they had such a hatred for the police that they did it to accuse the officer of wrongdoing.
Why didn’t I treat my prisoner this way?? I put myself in his shoes.
How would I feel being arrested, handcuffed, stuck in a police car, taken to jail? I might have had other plans, maybe I was running errands or grabbing dinner for the family. Will they know what happened to me? If I were ever in that position, I would be upset and scared too. This was simply an expression of his fear. Understandable.
As we got closer to the jail, he realized he had questions and started asking me what was going to happen to him. I answered his questions quietly and explained the booking process the best I could. I also told him that I had no choice to arrest him due to the warrant, but that it was nothing personal. I did not think he was a bad man, just that there had been a mistake made by him in his life or he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. I asked him how long this warrant had been hanging over his head and he said, a long time. I told him that he could look at this as an opportunity to remedy the mistake and take care of the warrant, and that it would no longer be a weight on his shoulders. He calmed way down.
When we got to the jail and I was booking him, he apologized to me. He said, “I am sorry for all those things I said to you. You are not like most cops.” I explained that I was a single parent and being a cop put a roof over our heads and food on the table for my family. I didn’t hate him or think he was bad. He then told me, “If I ever run into you again or if you are in trouble while you are working the street, I will come and help you.” I was grateful for that.
Typically, cops have an “us against them” mindset. This is wrong.
If your personality and view of life isn’t well developed before you become an officer, you become jaded, your view of people warped, and you sense of power unbalanced. I’m not saying I didn’t get frustrated at times, but my frustration was mostly with co-workers, organizational culture, and politics. I really dislike politics, but as much as one tries to avoid them, they will find you. Mostly when you have to stand up for something or someone.