This is the final part of a three part series on forgotten elements of the warrior community. In this post we will look at a few more groups that are often overlooked in this regard.
Parole and Probation Officers
The police lock the criminals up, the corrections officers ride herd over them during their time of incarcerations and then they get released back into society. The warriors who work in parole and probation have a very difficult job due to workloads, staffing issues and other challenges. They do however perform a vital service as part of the warrior community and often go unnoticed and unappreciated.
Customs and Border Protection / Border Patrol
With the exception of those warriors working at border crossings most of the work that is performed by these officers goes unnoticed by the general public and often by others in the warrior community. Like many others in the warrior community they are often understaffed and under resourced yet they perform a critical function. Those that do work at border crossings continuously face people who see them as an inconvenience, just one more lineup slowing them down on route to their destination. These warriors perform a vital function in the security of our nations and in the fight against those who would smuggle drugs, people and contraband.
I have had the privilege of providing training to the Victim Assistance Unit members and volunteers with the Calgary Police Service and the Victim Services Advocates in Alberta for the last number of years. The majority of these people in our province are volunteers who give selflessly of their time and themselves to help victims of crime and tragedy. They answer calls from victims and respond in person to calls in the middle of the night and perform a valuable service that most cops are uncomfortable with, and sometimes ill equipped to deal with. They provide an invaluable service for the law enforcement community as much as for the victims themselves. Yet, like so many elements of the warrior community they are often overlooked and under appreciated. The are passionate about what they do and for many they become all consumed in their quest to help others and can suffer high rates of burnout. They see the cops at the scene being stoic and never cry so they think they cannot cry. They think they need to hold it all inside and that to do otherwise is to show signs of weakness. They do not attend the defusing and debriefings with the cops so they do not see their outlet and release. If you have some form of Victim Assistance Unit with your agency teach your officers to thank them once in a while for the job they do. They are a valuable part of the warrior community.
Fire and EMS
Fire and EMS play a critical role in the warrior community. We like to joke about them but we too often overlook the resources they provide and the roles they play. If you are smart you have created alliances with our fellow emergency responders in the Fire Department and EMS. They bring great skills and resources to the table that can benefit everyone. If you do not already have a EMS personnel trained and working with your tactical teams and crowd control units they takes steps to get those programs in place.
I have saved family until the end, not because they are the least important of all these groups, in fact they are likely the most important the the most overlooked and taken for granted of all the groups. Family can mean many things. It might be your parents, your siblings, your spouse or significant other, or your children. It is the love and support of family that truly gives warriors the strength to go out every day and perform a dangerous job. Many officers who have been shot or injured in violent confrontations are alive today because of their family. At the point they were about to give up and lose the fight, the image of their family gave them the strength, anger and courage they needed to allow them to prevail. Many officers make the commitment that they will do whatever it takes to go home to their family at the end of the shift. Despite all that we too often overlook family as part of the warrior culture. It truly takes the warrior spirit to be family to a warrior.
Make sure in your training programs that you acknowledge the entire warrior community. I apologize to any groups I may have missed.