We were discussing this the other night at meal break. I was joking around with the guys because the seat I chose had me with my back to the front door of the restaurant, but I was facing a full length wall mirror which afforded me a great view of everything behind me. This got me thinking about an idea for this post.
When you see a cop working, hopefully you see (outwardly) a calm cool collected sumbitch. We are trained to keep our composure when everyone around us are losing theirs. Instinctively we run towards the trouble when everyone else is running away from it and we are trained to take control of the situation by any means necessary and available. This is the warrior in us.
The flip side of this is that we always have a worst case scenario situation for every minute of every day playing in the back of our minds. We play the grown up version of the “what if” game we all played as children (the grown up cop game is a darker and more pragmatic version) This is the worrier part of us.
- What if the guy in the next car at the red light is a maniac with a weapon?
- What if I walk into the local 7-11 to get a gatorade while its being held up?
- What if the alarm call I’m being sent to is legitimate instead of another false alarm?
- What if the unknown or 911 hangup I’m being sent to is some home invasion, murder or equally hideous situation?
- What if the guy I just pulled over for a traffic infraction has a warrant, drugs and or a weapon in the car?
- What if the woman who just called 911 because her boyfriend just hit her goes bezerk when I put the handcuffs on him (because she only called to scare him away from her)?
We don’t play this game in our heads for the woe is me value, we play it so we already have some sort of game plan to fall back on if the shit hits the fan and call goes to crap quickly. And it happens more times than you would think.
This mentality bleeds through to regular life as well as when I’m working.
- I very rarely leave the house without at least two sometimes three personal protection products on my person. Even if I’m just going to the corner store for a gallon of milk.
- I’m usually in a bladed off stance with nothing in my hands even when talking to my closest friends
- No one ever gets to stand behind me if I have anything to say about it.
- I’m always checking around to make sure everything is “as it should be”
Being a cop, for me is and will continue to be one of the best things that has ever happened to me. But there was a trade off that I made when I became a cop. I got my shiny new badge, but in return I gave away my innocence, naivete and the ability to just be in the moment. At the moment it is still a good trade.