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Complacency v. Confidence

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  • Complacency v. Confidence

    A friend and co-worker of mine and I are both preparing for a law enforcement career. We were discussing something police related today when he said, “Cops in (insert city) don’t get shot at.”

    My immediate response was, “Never let anyone hear that come out of your mouth again.” I’ve always believed that anytime you strap on body armor and a gun, your attitude should be, today may be the day someone tries to keep me from going home.

    His argument was that 1. Although that’s a good mentality, the daily grind of the job wears you down over time and 2. At some point you become confident enough in your ability that you become less “paranoid.” I believe he said some something like, “Do you think cops in (insert city) get up and are thinking well today I might get shot?” My simple answer was,”Uggghhhhh, yes.”

    I think he’s a great guy, and a great applicant, but I also believe he’s wrong here. Is there a sweet spot between complacency and preparedness for police officers that we’re both missing?

  • #2
    I just noticed I posted this in the wrong place. I would delete it and repost but I'm unsure how to do that.


    • #3
      This is close enough to the forum you were aiming for.

      There isn't a sweet spot between complacency and preparedness any more than there is a sweet spot between integrity and dishonesty. One is unacceptable, one is both the minimum and greatest you can strive for.

      I sum it up for trainees like this: there is no routine call. Ever. Every call you ever go to is one of two things: the real thing or dress rehearsal for the real thing. Nothing else. Once you've told your 200th person to pull his hands out of his pockets only to find he wasn't holding anything more dangerous than the mandatory bag of pot, you're going to feel safe forever and stop bothering. This is unacceptable. Even when you know he probably doesn't have a gun in that pocket, treat the situation like he does and just call it the practice run. One day you'll be glad you did.

      It only takes being wrong once to be dead.

      Every department gets "shot at". Most of my hairiest situations were at the 'slow places' where nothing is supposed to happen.


      • #4
        Most officers live by this............................

        I have been in the profession for over 35 yrs...............and still know it is possible


        • #5
          Tell your friend to browse the ODMP page and he will be humbled.

          Today.....any cop in Anytown, USA can be shot at. nuff said
          This profession is not for people looking for positive reinforcement from the public. Very often it can be a thankless job and you can't desire accolades, because those are not usually forthcoming. Just do your job to the best of your ability and live with the decisions you've made.


          • #6
            I couldn't agree more with your responses.

            When I was a dispatcher one of our deputies responded to an alarm call, which we all know 99.9% of them are false. As he checked the perimter of the building a guy leaned out of a 2nd floor window with a shotgun and let loose on him.

            It can happen anyone.

            I think it's very hard for people who have never been exposed to police work to understand the police mindset....


            • #7
              Read and re-read the replies of my colleagues. Better yet, have your buddy read them. You (he) won't get any better answers.


              • #8
                We were "that" county. It doesnt happen here, we are close to dallas and ft worth, that is where it happens. All that changed April 23rd, 2011, when one of our own was shot and killed. Your friend needs to open his eyes and ears.
                And I dont think its "paranoid", its being aware. ALL officers, rather they admit it daily or not, KNOW they could get shot every time they put on that uniform, otherwise they wouldnt care to put that vest on underneath their badges.
                Althought I havenot been an officer for very long, Ive been in LE long enough to say this: I dont wake up everyday and *think* about getting shot, or my husband getting shot, or my friends getting shot, but I DO know that its a possibility everyday. I DO know that it can happen here, because it did! And because it did, my husband and I BOTH have EOW folders filled out, why? its the harsh truth, that lately its been a complete open season on LEO, and it COULD happen!


                • #9
                  The minute you become complacent enough to think it won't happen to you is the minute you're primed to be added to the ODMP files.
                  Today's Quote:

                  "The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits."
                  Albert Einstein


                  • #10
                    Reading these post reminds me of the chief in New Hampshire that was killed last week... A very small town, a tiny dept of only seven officers. A town that probably rarely sees violent crime, but in one moment hell came to that small town and a police officer lost his life..
                    Retired LASD


                    • #11
                      Generalization: Survival mindset is something many don't have until they have experienced the world and/or been exposed to a dose of reality through experiences in training.

                      Let's hope your friend "gets it" before they get themselves or someone else hurt because of their "rose colored glasses" view of the world.

                      In my experience: The cops that have been around a while and know better don't have a lot of tolerance for these types, and tend to steer clear of them for obvious reasons. Your backup officers need to be an asset, not a liability. The non officer survival types who don't achieve enlightenment generally gravitate toward an assignment that is kindler and gentler eventually anyways.

                      Just what the profession doesn't need: more "social worker with a gun" types, who just want to give the world a hug. Sometimes it takes more than that.


                      • #12
                        I stood at attention last week while a brother was buried. He went to a call that nearly every cop in the country has been to many times over their careers, however short they may be. A drunk man in a Walmart did not want to go to jail that day and pulled a gun and shot the officer. I never personally knew the officer but heard more about him in the last few weeks that I felt I knew him better than I know half of the department. This officer was as squared away as they get. He had nearly 20 years on the job, as physically fit as possible, had worked gangs and narcotics. His call placed him between a man and his freedom. That man did not value anyone's life over his own freedom on that day and he took a man's life.

                        That is the mindset you have to go to work with every day. People out there want to kill you for no other reason than you are wearing that badge.

                        Some people have no business being cops. If your mindset is to go to work and not be in danger all day, you should probably be in a different career. Being "paranoid" keeps you alive. Most people live in the white zone, cops live in the yellow zone, and we work in the orange zone.


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