Thursday, February 22, 2007

Not A Real Cop

People can get used to anything. What's even more amazing is that people who have acclimatized to one extreme are often amazed by other people who have acclimatized to something slightly different.

When you go into a high-risk job at first it is very complex and very dangerous. As you learn the environment, the players and the dynamics you start to understand the clues. You know what's going on and it becomes far less dangerous. You develop some skill in handling the worst cases and it becomes even less dangerous. Sooner or later, if you have the aptitude and the will and work at it and your luck holds through the rookie stage, it's just a job.

Tony U said that he didn't consider himself a real cop, not like... he said a bunch of names. They included a patrol captain and two jail guards (one of whom was me).

It knocked me back on my heels. SWAT operative, undercover officer, leading a homicide task force... how much more of a real cop can you be? But it's his day job. It's what he does. It's his baseline of experience. He called himself a 'glorified investigator'. He's too good at it (not in the sense of spectacular and flashy but in the sense of getting it done with quiet competency) to see it as special.

He thinks what the rest of us do is special, but you know what? I'm just a glorified baby sitter. Sure, some of 'em are upwards of three hundred pounds and lots of them have mental issues and they're almost all criminals but it's just babysitting. Communicate clearly, set your boundaries, use reward and punishment and be professional. It's nothing. It's what I do. It's my baseline.

Think about it- there's something that you do with quiet ease that other people hold in awe. that's pretty cool.

1 comment:

Kai Jones said...

Not just that...but that the person you hold in awe because of his mastery thinks of it as just the normal thing. He doesn't walk around feeling special because of the awe *you* feel at his mastery.