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Benefits And Dangers Of Police Work

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Benefits And Dangers Of Police Work

Postby Branwel » Mon Nov 14, 2016 6:08 pm

Good Afternoon Commander Wagoner,

First off I would like to thank you for your hard work and dedication to providing a safe environment for the citizens in your community!

I am an Introductory Criminal Justice student and am researching the benefits and dangers of police work.  I have found a plethora of information regarding the dangers of police work, however, I would really like to get an opinion from someone who has been involved in police work for many years.  From your profile, I can see that you are more than qualified. :-)

I am having a more difficult time finding information regarding the benefits of police work.  In my opinion, the media does a poor job of portraying the good side of law enforcement.

Anyway, I appreciate in advance your taking the time to answer my question.

Thanks,

Jodi Firestone
Branwel
 
Posts: 52
Joined: Fri Jan 10, 2014 3:24 am

Benefits And Dangers Of Police Work

Postby Eburscon » Fri Nov 18, 2016 12:05 pm

Hi Jodi,

You may share this with whomever you like. Glad you liked it.

So I guess the first thing we need to talk about is do you know what being a cop really is like? What you see on TV and in the movies is NOT all that police work is all about. In fact even the FOX TV “reality” show “COPS” is not what law enforcement is all about. I know, I was on “COPS” twice the very first week it was on. The stuff they show is only a very small part of what actually happens out on the streets.

Being a cop means you have to be a lot of things and do a lot of things. Think about the hours we work. Cops work every hour of the day. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. We work every holiday, in the rain and snow, during hurricanes, and of course in Florida, the wonderful sunshine(code name “heat”). Every minute of any day there are cops working. And if you want to be a cop, you have to realize you will for a period of time work those hard hours. I have worked I think about every holiday on all shifts. I have worked 8 hour, 10 hour and 12 hour shifts. I have worked up to 14 days straight without a day off(during hurricane Andrew recovery in South Florida). I have worked a shift then gone home slept for an hour or so, and gone to work a detail for extra money. Or I have worked all day, and gone home to sleep and a few hours into sleeping, the phone rings and it’s a call out(called out to a traffic homicide), so it’s back up, jumpsuit on and back into the patrol car. All with a few hours sleep.

Police work is not for everyone. You need to very carefully sit down and think about the stress it will put you and your family under and can you, and your family, handle it.

It takes its toll on not only you, but your family also. Are you single? Well police work has its pitfalls for singles. Many singles find little time to go out and have dates. Many singles also find that it’s hard to meet people other than those that they meet on calls. You don’t meet a whole lot of nice people on calls. But sometimes you do meet nice people. But then there is a problem with department policy and dating those you meet on the job. Also it can happen where your circle of friends becomes limited to fellow cops and agency personnel. This can be good and bad.

Married? Does your husband or wife like doing things by themselves or just them and the kid(s)? How about celebrating Christmas morning alone or without you? What do they think about sleeping alone? You work midnights, they work days, you see each other in passing maybe for a few minutes in the morning or afternoon. That’s just the way it is. That may be a plus for some of you, guess it depends on how much your significant other wants you around.

Fortunately that does not last your whole career. As you gain time and experience, you eventually get to change to a shift you want and things get a little better. As you gain experience and time, the stress levels get a little easier to handle. They are still there, you just learn how to work inside the system better.

Have you thought about the pay? You know cops do not make the top pay of a professional athlete or a doctor. While we are professionals, and trained in many areas, we get paid by the government we work for and therefore that equates to average to low pay to start out. We are paid enough to be comfortable these days though. It was not always that way. My starting salary in 1980 was $11,500. Just about poverty level I thought. When I came back from serving in the U.S. Army and got hired by the Broward County Sheriff’s Office in 1987, I made about $25,000. I have to say that pay has gotten better, the benefits(retirement, insurance, and others) are much better than they were just 10 years ago. Pay has also gone up and is now competitive with other entry level professional careers. So when thinking of law enforcement as a career, you need to look at the entire package that the department you are interested in is offering. Things like health and dental insurance, issued equipment, do they have take home police cars, retirement(VERY IMPORTANT!) promotion potential and more.

Then there is the stress. It’s not easy dealing with other people’s problems day in day out. It’s not a lot of fun to watch people be hurt or die. It is hard mentally and sometimes physically when you get in a fight. Not all the people you come into contact with willingly go to jail when needed. Some will try to fight with you. You may get hurt and have to go to the hospital. I can remember one of my stupidest mistakes was about a year into my career when I had to go to my old high school and arrest a teenager(I was 19 myself at the time!) for possession of drugs. This little girl could not have been 5’ tall and maybe 100 pounds. I thought to myself this would be an easy arrest(first mistake) and handcuffed her in front(second mistake) and allowed her to take her shoes off(they had wooden heals) and carry them(third mistake). I began to walk her out to my patrol car in the front of the school and as I was escorting her with my hand on her elbow, she whips the shoes up and blindsides me in the side of the head. Well needless to say that hurt a bit. I ended up having to take her to the ground and re-cuff her behind her back, and take all possible weapons from her. Then I was able to get her to the car under control. While driving to the station to book her in and call her parents, I looked at the nice lump and welt I had on the side of my face near my temple. That would be hard to explain to my co-workers. Never underestimate your opponent. There is of course the stress the job puts you under. You will have all kinds of different sources for stress as a police officer. You will have stress from the excitement of the job, stress from the danger of the job, stress from your supervisors and department making you follow certain policies and procedures, while at the same time trying to stay within the rules. Stress from the shift work I mentioned, stress from seeing what humans can do to each other and how we treat each other. Stress from seeing how children can be treated(or killed) by their parents. There are all kinds of stress. Do you know or think you can handle it?

I have taken several(read 10+) trips to the hospital for various injuries. I can think off-hand of my head, eyes, elbows, and knees. My back, my fingers, my feet and just about every other part of me has been injured in some way at one time or another. But those are stories for another time. You want to be cops remember!

Like I mentioned before, you will do all kinds of things as a cop. You will give first aid, and cover the dead. You will act as a family counselor, animal control officer, mechanic, and other things. And of course act as a cop and have to arrest people or give people tickets or other things they dislike.

And last but by no means least, you as a police officer may at some time have to take another human beings life. You are given a huge responsibility. One of caring for your fellow human beings, your fellow citizens, yet you are also given a power that no other has. None. No Judge, No President of the United States, no one, other than the police officer has the authority to take a life if needed on a split second decision made by the officer alone. That “power” as some call it is a life changing thing. You must temper yourself so that this ultimate act is not done based on anger or any emotion alone. Shooting a fellow human being is a very hard thing to do, and then something you must live with the rest of your life. You can do this if you prepare yourself mentally and physically. And it is not against the 10 Commandments to be a police officer and shoot a person, the Commandment says Murder not kill. There is a huge difference.

Hope that helps..
Eburscon
 
Posts: 39
Joined: Tue Jan 14, 2014 3:44 pm

Benefits And Dangers Of Police Work

Postby Omeet » Fri Nov 18, 2016 9:19 pm

Good Afternoon Commander Wagoner,

First off I would like to thank you for your hard work and dedication to providing a safe environment for the citizens in your community!

I am an Introductory Criminal Justice student and am researching the benefits and dangers of police work.  I have found a plethora of information regarding the dangers of police work, however, I would really like to get an opinion from someone who has been involved in police work for many years.  From your profile, I can see that you are more than qualified. :-)

I am having a more difficult time finding information regarding the benefits of police work.  In my opinion, the media does a poor job of portraying the good side of law enforcement.

Anyway, I appreciate in advance your taking the time to answer my question.

Thanks,

Jodi Firestone
Omeet
 
Posts: 47
Joined: Tue Feb 18, 2014 1:56 pm


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