From my desk, which clearly lacks a light bar, siren, steering wheel, or other useful device, I was scanning the live calls-for-service feature on my computer this morning. I saw a couple of our rookie call signs at a residential intrusion alarm. They had asked for the radio channel and a few minutes later released it, saying they were 10-4 at the scene. When I read the incident notes, I saw that they had found an unlocked slider and entered to check the residence.
Were they developing good officer safety habits? Did they announce their presence and authority before entering, as we teach them in FTO? I hoped they maintained a solid fighting pair, moved slowly and methodically, never passed an area they had not cleared, and had not lasered each other with their handguns.
I like my job supervising detectives, but I miss the road. My wife says I am never happier than when I am in my uniform, which is currently standing in an unemployment line. Although I feel useful in managing the detectives’ caseloads, leading special operations, and grinding through the admin that keeps our division rolling, I have always known that Patrol is the foundation of a law enforcement agency. The rest of us are support personnel.
Since my departure from shift work, a few dozen new guys of both genders have come aboard. I know their names from reading the reports, but I could not pick any of them out of a photo pack. I wonder about their work habits and whether they are being mentored by senior officers and sergeants. After twenty-eight years on the job, I definitely know I am a dinosaur, but is my sworn experience still of use to this next generation?
I have lived, laughed, or languished my way through thousands of police incidents and have kept both my job and my sanity, such that it is. I would hope that when I pin my shield back on a shirt and not my belt, my contributions to officer safety and good investigations will have value.