Same feelings stand true, moving into 2023, as they did then…
Back in 2008, on the milestone of my being involved in the law enforcement training community for 20 years, I was asked to craft a retrospective for one of the leading national police publications. Interestingly, as I now stand at my 30th year of having the honor of working with and for officers like you, I just happened to stumble on that piece.
After reading it, 10 years later, it struck me that time hasn’t changed a thing as far as what I see in this profession and how I feel about being involved. Sure, some things have changed as far as the job itself, but the one thing that hasn’t changed is the fact that cops face challenges. Perhaps now more than ever. What impressed me then and continues to impress me now is your willingness to face them, no matter how difficult, and to overcome them. It’s what you do.
When the going gets tough, you don’t stand paralyzed by uncertainty and risk. You evaluate. You strategize. You come together as a team, and you act. And when you meet obstacles, you don’t give up. You improvise, you adapt, and you overcome.
I’m inspired by that. Always have been, always will be.
Back in ‘08 when I wrote the first piece, budgets were disintegrating, officers were being laid off, academy classes were being canceled, global security was being tested, officers’ lives were risked, and officers’ lives were lost. Not dramatically different from today except, perhaps, the intensity and volume of the incendiary anti-police rhetoric we hear today. It was a tough year.
But as I looked ahead, I saw good things for law enforcement. I still do.
I still see stunning advancements in technology that stand to revolutionize crime-fighting and increase officers’ levels of safety.
I see talented and experienced law enforcement writers continuing to churn out insightful articles and videos to keep officers educated, informed and effective.
I see attorneys and subject matter experts across the country continuing to tirelessly dedicate themselves to ensuring that officers’ actions in use-of-force situations are fairly evaluated.
I see organizations like ILEETA growing stronger every year and maintaining their tireless focus on keeping law enforcement educators informed, inspired and on the cutting edge of training.
I see professional law enforcement associations of all kinds continuing to work hard to bring officers together to share information, invigorate enthusiasm and provide support for each other.
I see instructors like the Calibre Press team staying focused on their mission of making sure you come home safely after every shift and ensuring that officers across the country have the opportunity to benefit from top-tier training, regardless of location.
I see groups like the National Law Enforcement Officer Hall of Fame, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund and Concerns of Police Survivors honoring and supporting the families of officers who made the ultimate sacrifice and making sure that the memories of their lost officers never fade.
And most importantly, I see police officers doing their jobs, staying the course, and holding true to their oaths to serve and protect.
Sure, there were challenges in 2008, there are challenges now and there will be challenges in the coming year. There always are. And maybe the challenges we face in 2020 will be really big ones—bigger than we’ve seen before.
But one thing remains certain: Cops face challenges. It’s what they do. They don’t shy away. They don’t fall back and wait for someone else to figure things out during a crisis. No. They confidently stand up and take control. They lead courageously so others can follow safely. They see challenge as a golden opportunity to shine, not a cause to panic.
I’ve had the rare privilege of watching scores of officers do their good work across the country…more closely than most ever will. I’ve had the chance to listen to them and share their knowledge, wisdom, and concerns. I’ve had the honor of finding out what cops are really made of, even in the worst situations imaginable, and I’m extraordinarily impressed.
I know how thick the thin blue line really is, so to the challenges coming up…I say bring them on.