While discussing inner departmental politics with a friend I was forced to take a step back, breathe a little and use my brain in an attempt to understand some of the more political things which have occurred in my career. I was not able to conceive of an answer directly, even after multiple attempts which led my ADHD empowered brain to a new chain of thoughts. I asked myself what has been truly important in my career looking back all of these years? It certainly wasn’t “who got that good gig in Detectives” or “Look who got promoted but why?” While some of those questions occupied much of my time during my career years, the more important thoughts garnered some amount of recognition.
I realized in a grand moment of temporary clarity the things in my career which resulted in meaningful change. It certainly wasn’t the shiny medals or the various accommodations I received from the Department. While I didn’t mind receiving those awards and was proud to have served, there wasn’t much substance contained. Often times a medal can be diminished by unwittingly comparing actions to someone else’s who have received a similar accommodation. The entire thought process seems to dilute the potency of such achievement leaving something to be desired. More importantly i observed great accomplishments in the many selfless acts of my partners which they thought were “no big deal” or “just part of the job.”
So grand realizations of those moments of pride came flowing back to me. There are so many lives touched by an officer serving for the good of the population rather than the good of the order. There are those rare calls for service or events which may spiral into an entirely new positive experience for an individual or victim. These types of effects can be difficult to perceive and takes a certain amount of introspection.
When an officer makes an arrest it is simply part of the job, we don’t get too excited about it. sometimes we get into a foot pursuit, chase somebody down and win the fight but a lot of those times no charges are filed. Sometimes the idiot we arrested just made a dumb mistake or was too emotional to behave like a civilized human being. Sometimes the subject was too socially stupid to warrant any pride from a resultant arrest. Sure there is the “job well done” feeling where Officers pat each other on the back the same way a carpenter looks back on his work and says “wow I did a good job on that cabinet” yet there is more to it than that.
True evil does exist. The willing and malicious damnation of fellow man through unspeakable acts of cruelty are defined as such. If we can nab one of them it is a fortuitous event which can be boasted of. Most of us count that type of arrest on one hand at the end of a long career. When you get to put that one away for good the effects upon time and space are astounding. That serial rapist won’t hurt anymore children. The sick kidnapper who imprisoned his victims for months and induced a feared loyalty upon them will be worshiped via fear no more. These are the events far more precious than a silver medal or a fancy letter from the Chief. The two may coincide and an officer may wear proudly upon his chest a mark of such achievement but the act itself is the source of pride. Everything else is just a distraction or a public relations campaign.
It doesn’t end there. When an officer picks up a child with a skinned knee who fell off of their tricycle while the parent was inside smoking crank. When the woman whose child was found dead in a puddle by no mistake of her own is hugged by the responding officers who tried to save her. And when the officer places his hand on the arrested juveniles shoulder with a stern but warm look on his face and says “you can do better,” these are timeless as well. For that child the Officer shall never age, even after he has long since left this world. In the mother’s eyes the Officer’s boots will always shine in unison with that badge and those shared tears. Nothing can dry the memory of those heroes who stood with her when the world crumbled all around. And for the demon behind bars, that fiery gaze will forever be tormented by he who delivered justice. Even if the Department or the public didn’t happen to notice that time.
The effects of a job well done are unending and incalculable. They truly spiral in every direction, undeterred by negative media attention, bad Departmental Policies or negative social attention. Those events are real and exist in a way which is infinitely repeatable yet important and distinct with each occurrence. The events are unchangeable and cannot be destroyed. The good will shown by officers who care is eternal and no hateful group or negative media attention can damage those moral deeds, for they have already been commuted.
Officer’s of the law stand proud during your career and do not minimize the great things you have done. Don’t listen to the garbage being spewed by public figure heads, brave keyboard bloggers or self righteous critics, they haven’t experienced the personal risk and reward system. Think back upon your career with pride and look upon the momentous life changing events you took part in for the better. Nobody can take that away from you unless you let them.
Good job and anybody who doesn’t think so or recognize it would never understand such an achievement anyways.