For many years now myself and many others have been talking about the importance of the Warrior Spirit for law enforcement professionals. I believe that helping officers to understand that they are part of the warrior culture and the warrior community is critical for the mental preparation aspect for law enforcement professionals. Unfortunately the part that is often missed in our discussions on warriors and the warrior spirit is the breadth of the warrior community. For many in the law enforcement community the discussion of the warrior spirit only addresses law enforcement officers and the military. If we keep our discussions that narrow we are forgetting a number of critical elements in the warrior community.
One of the often overlooked groups is corrections officers. As police officers we encounter criminals on a regular basis but the majority of the people we interact with on a day to day basis are decent law abiding citizens. When we have to go into areas where we know there are large numbers of gang members or other concentrations of criminals we like to make sure we have lots of resources and lots of weapons. If we are going to do an entry on a location where we know, or suspect there are multiple subjects and multiple weapons we like to go in with large numbers of officers and often use a tactical team to conduct the entry. Once we arrest and process the subject(s) we go back out to the street (after the paperwork is done of course) and back to our patrol or investigative activities.
Corrections officers however, spend every hour of every working day surrounded by a population that consists entirely of criminals and in many facilities huge numbers of gang members. They work in an environment where they are almost always outnumber (usually by huge numbers). They work in an environment that has a culture of violence and retribution amongst the inmate population. They are surrounded by inmates who are masters at making weapons from every day items in the environment. Corrections officers work in an environment that most cops would say they would never work in. Corrections officers perform a vital role in our society and are an important part of the warrior community. They perform this service often with limited resources, outdates technology and limited weapons. This includes those officers that work in courthouses, and facilities from local lockups to federal prisons. For this we must both honor and acknowledge their service.
For those of you that train law enforcement officers make sure they understand the vital role that corrections officers play in the warrior community and make sure they take the opportunity to thank our brother and sister warriors who serve in corrections for the job they do.
On Tuesday we will examine other forgotten elements of the warrior community.