Police Work, Training, and Expectations
By Dan Ticali
We live in very uncertain times for those of us in Law Enforcement. More so than in generations past. Mostly, that has been a direct result of us doing good work. We as a blue wave, have made the masses feel safer than in generations past. And that (by the way) is a good thing. We should take pride in our work and accomplishments. But, we also need to realize that, when there are peaks, there are valleys. When there is calm, a storm is probably on its way. It is the simple ebb and flow of life, which is no different than the tide of our oceans. As these tides change, so must our philosophy and outlook on what is necessary of the modern officer. To be frank, not much changes in the areas most complain about. We still need officers capable of protecting us and intervening with force when necessary. But in times of peace or the reduction of crime, we need to understand that the fundamental change that is necessary is in our civilians and elected officials. Just because crime rates have dropped, or things seem less scary for the individual civilian; doesn’t mean anything has changed in the day to day life of our Police Officers. They are still chasing bad people with bad intentions, and those same bad people would be willing to harm, or take the life of one of our officers. It’s less frequent for the civilian, but not so much for us.
No, no one is asking that an officer who does something wrong get a pass. But, it is difficult to judge the legality of a malpractice suit—unless you’ve practiced medicine or counseled medical, legal disputes. If I had a soapbox, and a forum, as a police instructor I would inform you that the majority of police training doesn’t benefit the officer or community. It benefits the Department and the municipality. It’s a “chicken or the egg” discussion. Police departments do police work. They chase bad guys. Bad guys don’t always care about the law. Sometimes the officer is forced to do something permanent. Is it the officer? Was it the suspect? Or was it the training the officer received that was the catalyst for the tragedy? My opinion is that it’s unquestionably always going to be a combination of the three.
Due to the “noise makers” in our current society (whether they are activists, politicians, or media personalities), there is a constant taste of distrust for our Police. But you should ask yourself, are your local officers receiving the support that is so desperately crucial to performing their job well? Are these officers provided the most productive training? Are these men and women in blue being provided the necessary outlets and resources (minus the stigma of seeking help) that creates a healthy balance both emotionally and psychologically? Or is the average officer simply receiving what the media thinks will appease the masses into thinking the problem, isn’t really the problem? Like I stated earlier, it’s a “chicken or the egg” type of issue. But I must digress. To paraphrase a good friend and mentor when he said: Police training, which the only intended purpose; is to benefit the department, and not the individual officer; cannot ever be considered good police training.
When we train our officers solely to the benefit of the department, the cops and citizens suffer alike. You can’t instill fear in an officer about doing his / her job, explaining how many ways they can be prosecuted, making them feel under trained (which most do) and then explain “well it is what it is” and then make the sign of the cross with your hands. Cops should receive the type of training that makes them feel confident in their role, empowered to serve, and noble in their pursuit of justice. When honest citizens get that vibe, I believe they’ll have our backs. Now, listen…I’m not expecting all protest signs to disappear, or cop haters to vanish. But I can handle them, I’ve done so for 17 + years. But where is the logic in starting the conversation trying to make me afraid of my own shadow? I stopped believing in the boogieman a long time ago (although I secretly still believe in Santa, he stores his red suit in my attic). Bottom line? Most cops join because they want to help. They want to be a solution and source for people in the communities they work. And yes, they are willing (when needed) to stand between danger and the innocent.
The truth is nobody, but a first responder believes stronger in the phrase “ALL LIVES MATTER.” We don’t care if your white, Asian, Indian, Black, West Indian, Blue, Green, Grey, transgender, gay, alternate, Christian, Muslim, Sikh, Jewish, or anything else. We don’t care because we just want to be there to help when you need us. That’s exactly why I would express to you that Blue Lives Matter also. Because we have members of our family from any and all groups, and when we see you, we see a fellow blue suitor’s family member; we see our own family members. We see our sons and daughters, our sisters and brothers, and we see them in all of you. If you know anything about a cop, it’s that we won’t let our (blue or blood) family down.