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  • Family's reaction to wanting to be an officer

    Hello, I have always wanted to be a police officer, the only thing stopping me is that my family does not want this happening. I know someone will say something like, "it's your life not theirs." But I really value their opinion. What is your expiriences is this situation?
    Last edited by ESDavis; 07-07-2008, 06:05 PM.
    "It is well that war is so terrible, else we would grow fond of it."

    - Robert E. Lee

  • #2
    If you want to go through life resenting your family, listen to them. The only person you really need to justify yourself to is you. I would like to add that your lucky that your family has expectations of you. Mine didn't, so I felt it didn't matter what I did. I guess that's why I promoted to shift commander and after I left that, I became a Lt. for the Sheriff's department. I did it for me. I know it sounds hokey, but do what you gotta do, but do it for the right reasons.
    Extremism in the pursuit of liberty is no vice. Barry Goldwater

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    • #3
      Its always good to get input from others whose opinions you value. Often they see things from a different angle and may provide good insight that will give you many different possibilities to consider.

      However, valuing their opinion does not mean you have placed them in charge of your life. If I had done everything all the members of my family wanted, I would have had to split my week between being an attorney, scientist, computer technician, photographer and writer. Doing those things would have made my family happy but made me miserable. In the end, IT IS your life and not theirs. After getting everyone's input, you still need to do what makes you happy.

      FWIW, when I first started in law enforcement 35 years ago, a close relative was strongly against my becoming a cop. However, for ther past 19 years, I have had to provide that same relative with the majority of their financial support and will continue to do so for the rest of their life. I couldn't have done this if I'd gone into the profession they wanted me to choose. It is only because I elected to be a cop that I've had anough money to support them, and will continue to have, even after I've retired.

      You've got to do what's right for you on this one.
      Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

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      • #4
        Let me offer you some valuable advice. I am 31 yrs old. I have wanted to be in law enforcement since I was a teenager. When I applied at 21 and told my parents I have decided what I want to do in life, they did everything possible to sabotage my dreams from taking place. Threatened to kick me out of the house, lied to the BI about my character and told all my references not to reply. Well for obvious reasons I never got past backgrounds, I wasn't Dq'd, but that's another story. I moved out of state and went to grad school in two different southern states to get away. Now I am back home and I have a Ph.D. at 31 years old, and guess what? I still have the same passion for law enforcement I did when I was 21 and really dislike the field I am in, but hey, thats what my parents wanted. Maybe my example is a little extreme, but I come from a middle eastern family and in our culture when your a kid they don't ask you what you want to be when you grow up, its more like what do your parents want you to be when you grow up? I have close friends who are local and federal and admire them for following thier desires for a career in LE. I wish I could say I did the same, but not so. Bottom line, in the end you have to be happy with yourself at the end of the day. I now go to work everyday (federal agency) and get in the elevators with federal agents who work in the same building and think to myself only if. It really sucks, but I have not given up though.

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        • #5
          If you have the desire and you truely believe law enforcement is for you, then you won't be happy doing something else. My mother in particular wasn't thrilled about my career choice, but after a while she warmed up to it. So did the rest of the family. Stick with it....you will be much happier for it.
          "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing." - Edward Burke

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          • #6
            When I first mentioned to my parents that I was going to attend the police academy, the first thing they said to me was that I just wanted to be on COPS. Thinking about it now, they were just concerned for my safety.

            I attended the academy for myself and I did really well in it. My parents attended the graduation and were proud of me for doing what I wanted to accomplish. I will never forget the proud look on their faces the first time they saw me in uniform with the patrol car. While on a trip to New Mexico, my parents met with me on my lunch break, while passing through town.

            I mentioned to him that I had now been a cop for 6 years and still haven't been on COPS. My dad laughed and said that when they said that, they were worried about me and have since discovered that I am really good at what I do and know that I love what I do and that makes them proud of me.

            Remember that your family loves you and is trying to protect you. If they didn't have some reservations about you becoming a cop, or some worries then they wouldn't care. Ultimately, you have to make the deceision on whether to follow your dreams. Your family will get over it and they will still love you. Be certain of that. You need to make the decision that you feel is the right one for you.

            Do you feel that your family is such that if you go against their wants and wishes, they will disown you. I think your family will appreciate that you listened to their advice, but made your own deceision.

            Best of luck

            SD-7

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            • #7
              My family thought I was nuts. But you have to understand that I've had three cousins do hard time! Several others just never got caught.

              I've often thought that there was a fine line...... But growing up, I learned to fight and stand up for myself plus I learned to think like a crook. Served me well on many occasions!

              It did put a damper on Thanksgiving a couple of times... But they all live in Texas and I fled and became a cop in Oregon.
              "Life's tough, it's tougher if you're stupid." John Wayne

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              • #8
                My parents worry about me, but they know this is what I want to do and they respect that. You can't let other people lay out your life for you.

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                • #9
                  Some people who have no background in leo do not want family members signing on and Some people with extensive leo backgrounds don't want a family member signing on.
                  It is a life changing career or life ending one so you must undersatnd their concerns and make sure you have studied the career and know it is really what you want.
                  It changed me and it's taken years to revert back to near normal.

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                  • #10
                    It changed me and it's taken years to revert back to near normal.

                    If you don't mind could you please elaborate. I believe I will be heading towards the same situation as the person who started this thread.

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                    • #11
                      OKAY HERE GOES

                      Okay you will see things most people will never see and will have to deal with people that you would never have to deal with in a normal career.

                      You will always be seeing people at their worst at the lowest low point a human can reach. You will deal with death face to face having to view fatal accidents up close and victims of other crimes etc.
                      You will be put into the position of having to deal with families that are upset and confused and at times totally out of control.

                      No day will be routine. Some will be boring to you after a few years on the job. You will become hard to other peoples feelings and you will view others with no trust whatsoever.

                      It's nothing at all like any TV show you have ever seen Not like any movie. The people you meet are heartless cruel and very dangerous and they will take you life or severely injure you and not ever show any remorse or give it any further thought.

                      Your family will not know from shift to shift that when you walk out that door will you walk back in or will they get a call or see some other uniforms at the door. Will your family see a news bulletin that an officer has been hurt or even killed before you can get to a phone to tell them you are okay ??

                      I could go on but I am sure others can add to this.

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                      • #12
                        When i was in high school i got approved to do an exchange student program for four months in Switzerland. My mom thought it would be a great experience, until i sent her pictures of me hanging from the sides of very tall mountains with little to no safety equipment.

                        When i graduated high school i had several scholarships to different colleges, i declined them and enlisted in the Marines. I called my mom from the processing station in Richmond and said, "hey guess what?" She thought that i had lost my mind, as did most people i knew. Not too long after that, everyone who had doubts couldn't speak highly enough of me, but my mom still didn't want any pictures from jumping out of planes or in Panama, or Somalia, or hanging off mountains. I still think the day she sat on that parade deck at Parris Island was one of the proudest of her life.

                        A little before i got out of the corps I called mom and said, "hey guess what? i just volunteered to be a firefighter." Again, she thought I had lost my mind. SHe was very proud especially when i sent her news clippings of me pulling a couple of guys out of a burning house, but she still didn't want too many pictures or to hear too many stories.

                        After I got out of the corps she got the call again, "mom, I just got hired as a cop!" Now she thought i had truly gone over the edge, i don't think i was ever on the good side of that edge to begin with. Again, she couldn't be prouder of me. DOesn't want to hear stories, but supports me completely.

                        If your family bonds are that strong, then they will understand that it is something that you truly want to do. They may think you are crazy as he!!, but they will support you and be proud of you.

                        Yes there are things that you will see and experience that no person should have to. Yes you will see some terrible things so many times that you may find yourself becoming numb (time for a vacation or a cold beer with a good friend). You will sometimes feel yourself losing all faith in humanity, you will develop a suspicion of every person you meet, you will begin to judge people quickly. All of these things will happen at one point or another, but you just have to remember, its a job, you are as human as the people you arrest, you can't stop caring about the people you serve or you will change for the worse.

                        I work a high crime/drug/gun area and love it. Lots of guys wont even come into my neighborhood for a call without backup. It is my neighborhood though, everyone there knows me, when i'm not at work they ask for me, i am a part of many of their families. The kids ask me to help fix their bikes. I spend about eight hours a day five days a week with these people and they know that i care. I see all kinds of bad stuff, but if i can help one of those kids grow up to be a good, productive member of society and do something positive for his community in return after i am gone, then i have done something.

                        There is one little girl who had her skull crushed by her crackhead father when she was a baby because she was crying too much. She has only recently regained partial motor control on her right side. She's about 4 or so now. A while back she came up to me and gave me a hug and said she wished i was her daddy because her daddy is bad.

                        So yeah, being a cop sucks most of the time and it's easy to lose part of your humanity, but every so often something happens that makes it all worth it.

                        If you really want to do it, then do it. If your family truly cares for you they may be a little upset, think you're crazy, whatever, but they will stand behind you.

                        -web
                        "there is no hunting like the hunting of man and those who have hunted armed men long enough and liked it, never really care for anything else thereafter." Ernest Hemingway

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                        • #13
                          Bodie Okay you will see things most people will never see and will have to deal with people that you would never have to deal with in a normal career.

                          You will always be seeing people at their worst at the lowest low point a human can reach. You will deal with death face to face having to view fatal accidents up close and victims of other crimes etc.
                          You will be put into the position of having to deal with families that are upset and confused and at times totally out of control.

                          No day will be routine. Some will be boring to you after a few years on the job. You will become hard to other peoples feelings and you will view others with no trust whatsoever.

                          It's nothing at all like any TV show you have ever seen Not like any movie. The people you meet are heartless cruel and very dangerous and they will take you life or severely injure you and not ever show any remorse or give it any further thought.

                          Your family will not know from shift to shift that when you walk out that door will you walk back in or will they get a call or see some other uniforms at the door. Will your family see a news bulletin that an officer has been hurt or even killed before you can get to a phone to tell them you are okay ??
                          __________________________________________________ ____________________

                          Bodie,

                          That was beautiful, you have the heart of a warrior poet , but seriously YukonXL everyhing Bodie has said is true. You will also become more aware of your surroundings and notice things that your family won't. Becoming a cop is not just a job it is a change in lifestyle. Once you become a cop it is real hard to turn it off.

                          You will be driving on the highway and notice every single moving violation of other vehicles. You will drive down a street and remember a pursuit, or homicide, or some other call and your wife will say something like what a beautiful house (yes dear, but) you will learn that you don't bring the job home and you don't want to tell the wife and kids all that happens, they really don't want to know the gory details of a 3 car fatal accident with burned bodies and body parts all over the place.

                          You will also come to appreciate life alot because you know how quick it can end. You will want nothing more then to hug your wife and kids at the end of your shift.

                          Don't let this stuff scare you. We are just trying to open your eye's to what a real cops life is like. The benefits of becoming a cop are

                          1) job security- crime will never stop.
                          2) good pay and benefits
                          3) no day is the same
                          4) you will never work with a better bunch of people no matter what department your on.
                          5) LE is a family. Besides firefighting and the military where else do you get that kind of comraderie.

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                          • #14
                            I was raised in a very religiously restrictive household-Jehovah's Witness. I lived my life according to the way I was told/taught/raised until I was 25 years old-then I busted out of the whole thing, that was 10 yrs ago. 10 years ago I started living my life for me, that meant my family and everyone I knew my whole life ex-communicated me, except my mom god rest her soul! Anyway long story short, I'm not sorry and I teach my daughter everyday that whatever she does in life should be what she loves, because it's her life! Now I'm 35 and I'm just now going to do what I've always wanted to do and that is be an Officer. The only thing I can't wait for is when the background investigator contacts my dad and brothers- they don't know this is what I want to do but I know they will frown upon it,in there eyes I'm a screw up at best. I graduated high school at 16 the youngest in my class but I was not allowed to go to college so I missed the boat on that one. I am trying real hard to make up for it now. Good luck and do what you want to do, you never regret that!

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                            • #15
                              My family wasn't too pleased with me either. My Dad had hopes of me following him into journalism or taking over the family business. But I've always had an independent streak and they knew it was coming. My Mom doesn't like stories. My Dad and Uncle came on ride alongs and I think I changed their opinions. One of my good friends trashed me on the BI and almost cost me the job but my investigator put in a little extra effort and vetted the claims as groundless. Other than that my friends have been supportive. My wife knew it was part of the package when we started dating so she came to terms with it early on.

                              You only have one life to live so live it the way you think you are supposed to not what others think you should.
                              I intend to go in harm's way. -John Paul Jones

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