Was I a good Cop?
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  1. #1
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    Jackel1's Avatar
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    Was I a good Cop?

    To those not retired, you will get there someday. To the others, I just had to pass this on. Pass this on to any other retiree you know that I may have skipped over. I think we can all relate in one way or another to this.

    Thoughts from a cop who retired in '97. Just before retiring, some young puppy was busting my chops about how law enforcement has changed, and the system is improving for the best. I just smiled and gave him a little laugh.

    He asked what was so funny. I told him that I felt sorry for him. When asked why, I told him, "Because in about 15 years, THIS is going to be your good old days."

    We all saw the change in our jobs. I came on in 1974. I used to tell the rookies that our academy lasted 3 months. They gave us a stick, a gun, a dime, and kicked us out into the street. They told us: If you need help, use the dime. If you can't get to a phone, use the stick. If using the stick pisses him off, use the gun. And the first order we received when we were assigned to a district was from our sergeant. His order was "Don't you EVER bother me, kid."

    Law enforcement then, was much different than the current mission. We delivered babies, got rough in the alley when we needed to, made "Solomon-like" decisions at least once a tour, and often wound up being big brother to the kid we roughed up in that alley a year or so ago. And, for some reason, none of that managed to get on a report. And the department didn't really want to know. All they wanted was numbers, and no ripples in the pond.

    Because of the changing times, and the evolution of law enforcement, the modern young officers will never see that form of policing, and of course this is best. The current way is the right way... Now. But it was different then (ergo, the Dinosaur Syndrome).

    When it's time to go, we wonder if we're going to miss the job. After all, other than our kids and a few marriages, it was the most important thing in our lives. Actually, it was the other way around. The job was first, but only another cop could understand how I mean that.

    But have faith, brother! After a short time of feeling completely impotent (after all, you're just John Q. Now), reality hits like a lead weight.

    It's not the job we miss after all. It's what we, as individuals, had accomplished while in this profession that we miss. The challenge of life and death, good and bad, right and wrong, or even simply easing the pain of some poor bastard for a while, someone we will never see again.

    We know the reality of what's happening out there. We are the ones who have spent our entire adult life picking up the pieces of people's broken lives. And the bitch of it all is that no one except us knows what we did out there.

    I was once told that being a good street cop is like coming to work in a wet suit and peeing in your pants. It's a nice warm feeling, but you're the only one who knows anything has happened.

    What I missed mostly, though, were the people I worked with. Most of us came on the job together at the age of 21 or 22, as I did. We grew up together. We were family. We went to each other’s weddings, shared the joy of our children's births, and we mourned the deaths of family members and marriages. We celebrated the good times, and huddled close in the bad.

    We went from rookies who couldn't take our eyes off of the tin number of the old timer we worked with, to dinosaurs.

    After all, what they gave us was just a job. What we made of it was a profession. We fulfilled our mission, and did the impossible each and every day, despite the department and its regulations.

    I think the thing that nags you the most when you first retire is: After you leave the job and remove your armor, the part of you that you tucked away on that shelf for all those years, comes out. It looks at all the things you've hidden away. All the terrible and all the wonderful things that happened out there. And it asks you the questions that no one will ever answer. "Do you think I did OK? Did I make a difference? Was I a good cop?"

    You know what? Yeah, you were a good cop! And you know it!

    That’s all I wanted to hear from those who know, my brothers & sisters.

    USMC & LEO - Retired

    "It is better to live one day as a Lion then 100 years as a sheep!"

  2. #2
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    __jb's Avatar
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    Good story... Thanks for sharing it...
    "While the anti-gunners seem very concerned about the "one life" that your firearm might take -- they are not very concerned about the lives it will save." Jon H. Gutmacher, Florida Firearms - Law, Use & Ownership

  3. #3
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    I retired two years ago after twenty eight years. What a ride. Thank you for writing this. I couldn't agree more.

    Be safe and enjoy the second half.

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    "Was I a good Cop? "
    I think that anyone doing this job or did it, always will make this question.

    And, if you're an honest person, the answer will always be this!
    "Yeah, you are/were a good cop! And you know it!"

  6. #5
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    I think 99 percent of LEOs are "good cops" in my experience. Some might be quicker with the ticket book on the freeways and some might not smile as much as others but they still do an honest day's work. There was a neighbor in Sacramento who always complained about "police brutality." He took a night ride-a-long in 2014 and his views went 180 degrees the other way to an extreme. After all but wetting his pants witnessing one incident after another that night, he now thinks the old days were much better. And I agree. Sometimes it's better to administer a little justice on the side when it comes to wife beaters,pimps, heroin dealers and etc...

  7. #6
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    Amen brother--retired after 30--

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