As a profession we study and talk a lot about the physical altercations and deadly force encounters we lose. It is important that we learn the lessons from those events to honour the officers who lost their lives. The reality however, is that we win more than we lose. Do we study the fights we win to gain a better understanding of the skills, tactics, mindset and preparation that helped those officers prevail? Do we seek to understand and share the lessons from our successes?
We talk a lot about the prevalence of PTSD, depression and other mental health issues in our profession. These are critical issues and we need to talk about them and ensure we provide the support and resources needed to help the men and women dealing with those challenges. We owe it to those men and women who are dealing with these challenges to eliminate the stigma, get them the help and resources they need and deserve so they can continue to thrive in their lives, their relationships and this profession. What are we doing to study the men and women in the profession who are thriving? Do we identify those who have developed and continue to hone their resilience so we can learn from them? Do we study those who have experienced growth as a result of the challenges they have faced in their careers and share those lessons proactively with others in the profession?
We talk a lot about the divorce rate in law enforcement. How often do we talk about all the men and women in the profession who have long successful marriages? Do we learn from them about the strategies they used as a couple and as families to be able to thrive with one or both people in the relationship being law enforcement professionals?
The same is true for fitness, financial freedom, sleep management and a host of other areas. Is the fact that we tend to study and talk about the negative, the mistakes and the failures a contributing factor to the reality that we continue to repeat many of those mistakes?
It is easy to be drawn to the negative, especially in law enforcement where your job is to go out and look for people doing something wrong. There are certainly valuable lessons to be learned from loss and failure.
The question however, is are we missing the lessons to be learned from our successes? If we study our successes we can provide the men and women coming in to the profession, as well as those already in the profession, with strategies to prevent some of the potential negative consequences of a career in law enforcement.
It is time to expand our field of study to best serve the men and women we have the privilege to train, coach, mentor and lead.
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