Stop your whining and get to work! E-mail
Written by James Lewis   
I've been "on the job" now for around 17 years or so, give or take, in various locations and positions. I've worked with good cops and some not so good. However when I started in law enforcement, there was never any question about what we were doing. It was "the" job. We all had a part in it and we knew the consequences of a bad day. What never seemed to falter was the mentality required to do it. We were always there for each other. No fight, or call, or situation stopped us from backing each other up. On or off duty. It's a mentality I still enjoy and promote to my officers to this day.
Here of late I am hearing the disgruntled utterings of officers, usually the more-mature veteran ones. They are seeing younger officers distancing themselves from each other and the "brotherhood". A lot of complaints are that newer officers are putting on the uniform for a steady job, power trips and an unhealthy dose of "look at what I did", instead of the proud time-honored tradition of what law enforcement is about. If you are a younger officer who does not fit into this category, then this article is not for you and of that I am glad. If you are an older officer who fits into that category, then shame on you. You know better.

Officers with the aforementioned attitudes, listen up. You know who you are. Law enforcement is not a ladder. You do not climb it. Nor is it a mirror for primping. Law enforcement is a lifestyle. You live it. A mirror is something you look into to make sure your uniform is pressed and clean. Not so you can say "look at me," but so that when others do look they see a professional.

Speaking of professional, act like one. Not only to the public but to your fellow officers. Stop whining about being overlooked for Sergeant after 2 years on the job or having to ride in an older unit with peeling paint. Stop just rolling by on someone's traffic stop or call, if you even go at all. Get out for a minute and ask if they need anything or if there is anything you can do to help. Law enforcement is about looking out for someone else before yourself. Sustain that attitude by example.

If you don't see your job in that light then you are, without a doubt, in the wrong profession. Go find another job for the benefits. To protect and serve is our motto. That doesn't mean when it suits us. It means all the time and to each other. Close your laptop, stop playing your Call of Duty and go roll with your brothers and sisters. They need you and you need them, even if you think you don't. If we don't look out for each other, who do you think will? The badge you wear on your chest was given to you, but the honor to wear it is earned.

Sergeant James Lewis is a 17-year law enforcement veteran working for the Iberville Parish Sheriff’s Office in Plaquemine, Louisiana. This op-ed was submitted online at the forums at OfficerResource.com. You can contact Sgt. Lewis there through his username, “lewisipso.”

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