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  • Speedbird543
    replied
    When I was new, I thought being a cop was the coolest thing in the world. I would drive my cruiser everywhere and have the radio on constantly. I would call the guys who were working when I was off to get the latest little detail on all of the hot calls, etc. As others have said this job changes you, but you the way in which you respond to the job also changes as you get more time on. Now, when I am off I am OFF. The boots come off, the flip-flops go on. I don't care what happened over my four days off, and the last place I want to be is in a cruiser listening to some dispatcher. Your job CANNOT be your life! Make sure that you keep friends who are not in law enforcement, and interests that do not involve work. If you guys liked to go to plays, or the movies, go to sporting events, camp, fish, whatever make sure that you keep doing those things. When you get home make sure that you ask her about her day and what she did. Though she may not have gotten into a fast chase or pulled a baby out of a burning car, whatever she did is still important to her and showing an interest in it will go far. Your girlfriend also has to understand that this is all still relatively new to you and you are proud of it and excited by it, as you should be. As time passes the novelty of the job will wear off, it will stop being who you are and it will become what you do.

    Leave a comment:


  • beachcop05
    replied
    Originally posted by Dingo990 View Post
    Other people give good advice.

    I will say also, many cops bring some of the problems on themselves. I don't know if this is your case. But I have some buddies who will carry in public and bug their spouses by constantly pointing out shady charactors, people who are speeding, calling in drunk drivers, explaining to their spouse (for the 50th time) why it is important for them to sit facing the door, moving towards any loud argument "just in case", listening to their radio or scanner at home ect, ect. I am not advocating being unvigilant but I think it is possible to outwardly act like a "normal person" while keeping an eye out for trouble at the same time.
    This is good advice. What you should understand is that this is just a job, nothing more. You deal with enough crap while you're at work to bring it home with you. When you come home be yourself and don't think/talk about work, don't work those overtime details, enjoy and cherish your time off. Your family comes first over this job.

    Leave a comment:


  • Kimble
    replied
    Originally posted by Smurfette_76 View Post
    Someone once said to me....never let your job be the coolest thing about you. That's a pretty deep statement. It's rather common in this field to become wrapped up in the job so that it affects your off time. There is a balance and that often comes with experience. My job is AN important part of who I am. It doesn't come before my family. There have been those cases that have taken me from my family (I'd say more often once I hit Detective in comparison to being on the road), but they are not the norm. I have the blessing (if you will) of being married to another LEO and so I'd dare say it offers both of us a more understanding relationship when job issues arrise. My husband has, as have I, had to remind the other from time to time that each was feeling neglected. However, we did go through counseling years ago and we've built upon what we learned.
    There's a tremendous amount of wisdom in Smurfette's post above. Absolutely true, and I've found the most satisfaction in life comes from my time with family, not kicking in doors on warrant round-ups, making arrests, or driving in a hot pursuit. All that stuff is fun, especially within the first 5 or so years of the job, but over time the job (no matter if you're in patrol, investigations or a full-time tactical team) becomes just that: a job. Interesting at times and often (fortunately) full of fellow officers that become life-long friends, but still just a job.

    To the OP, as a rookie with a girlfriend, you're not in a position where you have to choose between family and the job. Different story when its a spouse that has to support you vice a girlfriend. If she remains supportive and becomes more comfortable with the job, great, but realize if you plan on this job being what you do until retirement you're only going to be happy outside of work if you're with someone who is supportive. And while I would not recommend telling your significant other about the really scary or grotesque things you observe on the job, you do have to keep communication going on other interests (my wife and I really don't talk about my job as much as we talk about family, weekend plans, etc.). If you're girlfriend is meant to become your wife she'll show by remaining supportive after your first year or so. If that happens, I highly advise you two to keep the interests that originally brought you together alive and not have all your conversations based on the crazy calls you got any given day (or worse, not talk at all in an effort to "protect her" from what you experience on the job).

    Leave a comment:


  • Smurfette_76
    replied
    Answering before I read the other replies:

    It's understandable that, like you, she didn't really know what she was getting into when you took on this career. I think it does change your life in both positive and negative ways. Perhaps any career would, I don't know. It's feasible that she doesn't want to be an Officer's wife. That's her decision and not something you can change unless you're going to give up your career. Is it possible for the two of you to go to counseling? My guess is you two are having communication issues and counseling is an excellent way learn new ways of communicating with each other.

    Someone once said to me....never let your job be the coolest thing about you. That's a pretty deep statement. It's rather common in this field to become wrapped up in the job so that it affects your off time. There is a balance and that often comes with experience. My job is AN important part of who I am. It doesn't come before my family. There have been those cases that have taken me from my family (I'd say more often once I hit Detective in comparison to being on the road), but they are not the norm. I have the blessing (if you will) of being married to another LEO and so I'd dare say it offers both of us a more understanding relationship when job issues arrise. My husband has, as have I, had to remind the other from time to time that each was feeling neglected. However, we did go through counseling years ago and we've built upon what we learned.

    Best of luck to you.

    Leave a comment:


  • Se7en
    replied
    Originally posted by Dingo990 View Post
    Other people give good advice.

    I will say also, many cops bring some of the problems on themselves. I don't know if this is your case. But I have some buddies who will carry in public and bug their spouses by constantly pointing out shady charactors, people who are speeding, calling in drunk drivers, explaining to their spouse (for the 50th time) why it is important for them to sit facing the door, moving towards any loud argument "just in case", listening to their radio or scanner at home ect, ect. I am not advocating being unvigilant but I think it is possible to outwardly act like a "normal person" while keeping an eye out for trouble at the same time.
    Agreed... I think when most of us go into work we put on our warrior face and mindset because of the people we have to deal with. Sometimes it's hard to turn that off when you get home.

    Leave a comment:


  • Dingo990
    replied
    Other people give good advice.

    I will say also, many cops bring some of the problems on themselves. I don't know if this is your case. But I have some buddies who will carry in public and bug their spouses by constantly pointing out shady charactors, people who are speeding, calling in drunk drivers, explaining to their spouse (for the 50th time) why it is important for them to sit facing the door, moving towards any loud argument "just in case", listening to their radio or scanner at home ect, ect. I am not advocating being unvigilant but I think it is possible to outwardly act like a "normal person" while keeping an eye out for trouble at the same time.
    Last edited by Dingo990; 05-29-2011, 08:16 AM.

    Leave a comment:


  • PtlCop
    replied
    This is one of the hardest things for a new officer to deal with. The most important thing for you to do is to do what I call "getting out from behind the badge." You're a cop 24/7/265, but you don't always have to be in cop mode. Remember, she dated you before you were a cop, so she clearly liked you that way, do your best to get yourself back to YOU not COP YOU.

    I admire that you carry your weapon everywhere, so do I. I admire that you're cognizant of your surroundings, so am I. What you need to do, and it only comes with experience, is to make it less obvious to your girlfriend what you're doing. My girlfriend during my first year or so as a police officer HATED going out in public with me, i'd be constantly darting my eyes around at people, i'd be talking to her but looking at the guy walking in the door, etc. She'd routinely see me strap by gun on prior to going to dinner, a movie, the park, etc. All of these things remind her that you're in a dangerous profession.

    Try spending less time looking around at everyone who comes into the restaurant and concentrate on those people who look like they're up to no good, or those in your immediate area. I don't even look for people stealing candy bars at the grocery anymore, because to be honest, I don't care enough when i'm off duty to act upon it. The people at the restaurant that you hear arguing and having a domestic, let it go.

    Try to ensure, also, that you're not spending the whole time talking about your day, how many violent felons you arrested, complaining about the lazy Sgt, or anything like that. Talk to her about those things that interested you prior to you gettin into law enforcement. Sure, having her there as a sounding board for your gripes or complaints or fears in your job is good, but make sure that's not all you're talking about.

    As for her, some of the books suggested are very, very, very good for cop wives/girlfriends to read. Try to avoid letting her see you get all ready for work. For some reason, seeing me put on my vest and check my handgun to ensure its loaded really, really bothered my ex-girlfriend, because, again, it reminded her of how dangerous the job can be.

    Also a big thing for me was getting outta my squad car. We have take home cars, with unlimited use. Which is a great benefit, but it can be overused. When I'm driving my squad, it's impossible not to be in cop mode, in fact, i'm automatically more vigiilant in my squad than I am when i'm in a car where nobody knows i'm a cop. If you have a take home car and you guys are going to dinner, take your personal car.

    Leave a comment:


  • nuthead
    replied
    Try including her in your awareness and everything. Explain to her what sort of things you're looking for (signs someone is carrying, etc.) and get her to help you look. If she feels like she's a part of your world, she's more likely to embrace it. Besides, two heads are better than one and staying alert is something everyone should do. Try to include her in more things so she feels like its the two of you against your problems (or whatever), not just you going it alone.

    Leave a comment:


  • 13MWZ
    replied
    I'm still in the academy, so while I dont know exactly what it's like on the job yet, I compare it to my military experiance. My wife and I were together (but not married) while I was in the military. I went on a couple year long deployments and that realy put a strain on our relationship. When I got home the first time she said I had changed in ways similar to what you described. Head always on a swivle, hightened sence of awareness, ALWAYS sitting with my back to a wall, on edge, ect. She was able to deal with it although it annoyed her. When I got back the second time it was worse. We almost broke up over it. One night while we were on a 'date night' trying to make things okay again we were sitting at a booth in the back corner of a small resteraunt. I was scanning the area as always and heard her saying "there you go again, paying more attention to others than to me....bla bla bla". As she was saying that I was watching a guy who just looked out of place sitting at a table alone. He was looking around a lot, fidgity, and nervous looking. He had reached into his jacket and pulled out something that simulated the grip and draw of a firearm although I didnt get a clear look at it. He stood up and walked tward the cashier as a couple was paying for their meal. He stood right next to the couple and a look of shear terror took over the poor girl's face. My wife was in mid sentence, although I'm not sure what she was talking about anymore, when I stood up and told her to call 911. I quickly walked over to the cashier's area and noticed that infact the guy was holding a semiauto. I did a few super secret kung fu ninja moves on the guy and got him on the ground with his (what turned out to be a Sig) a few feet away from us. Shoved my knee in his back and twisted his arms behind him and waited for law enforcement. Once they got there, took him, took our statments ect my wife came up and told everybody who would listen "That's my fiance, he's a hero". I'm I a hero? No, but she now realized that although my "weirdness" as she called it annoyed her, it pays off.

    So, your girlfriend may never understand, something may happen (God forbid) that shows her how your sence of awareness is a good thing and she will begin to understand, or she may simply learn to deal with it. Eitherway, it is what will keep you and the people you protect alive.

    If she's the right one she will come around, if not, the right one will come around.

    Leave a comment:


  • Jolloveslaw2009
    replied
    I'm going to chime in here, as a female in the field (while working in Corrections) I got the same complaints from the guy I was dating at the time, it is hard to maintain relationships, especially if you don't have someone who understands the profession, I have chosen to put my career first, if I meet someone along the way then great, if he's in the same profession, even better but for now, I refuse to let any drama, bs OR ultimatums even enter the equation. Remember with great power comes great responsibility and your dedication will pay off, if she can't be behind you 100% then don't waste your time because your decision has already been made. Good Luck!!

    Leave a comment:


  • deputy x 2
    replied
    It may or may not.

    Being a LEO, you are always on alert and constantly watch what is going on around you. That isn't going to change....even when you retire. As for being neglected......that's up to you. As for "acting normal" nope not under her definition. Once a cop always a cop...24/7.

    Explain to her...being attentive may be the difference between life and death.

    Will she adapt?? That's up to her....not you.

    Good luck....with her.

    Leave a comment:


  • jmw_LS2
    replied
    Thanks for the advice guys. I will definetly grab that book so we can both read it.


    I appreciate everyones time.

    Leave a comment:


  • Se7en
    replied
    This profession is horrible for relationships... crappy work hours, days off bounce around, spending days off in training or court etc etc. Will it get better? Probably not. Just remember try not to bring your work home and don't act like the police when you're off.

    Leave a comment:


  • SRT936
    replied
    Originally posted by Iowa #1603 View Post
    COMMUNICATION helps. Have a sit down. Talk things over Buy her a gift
    http://www.amazon.com/Love-Cop-What-.../dp/1572301937
    The link takes you to Amazon ------and the book I Love A Cop by Ellen Kirschman

    After she reads it (and you do also) have another sit down and discuss the book and her reaction to it.
    ^^^^This.

    I bought this book for my wife many years ago and now recommend it to just about everyone. I've even given it at as a gift when young cops get married.

    Leave a comment:


  • mikeymedic
    replied
    Tell her to go on the "Cop Wives" forum and compare stories with other LE spouses and girl/boyfriends of police officers. I have a supportive wife as well but she does at times feel that the "City" is more important to me than she is. The fact that your personality changed is not your fault and the personal habit that you have developed should make her feel better knowing that you are just as aware off-duty as you are when you're on-duty.

    Leave a comment:

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