Q: Thank you for making yourself available to the public. I have just one question. Why do policeman look mad all the time?
A: Aloha Ogden, thank you for your question. You made a very interesting observation that is often misinterpreted.
Officers are sometimes seen in this light because they look so serious. Consider that police officers, particularly those in uniform, cannot let their guard down for one moment because their lives and the lives of their beat partners are always at risk. As such, they must remain hyper-vigilant at all times. On average about 150 police officers are killed every year in the line of duty; 58,000 are assaulted resulting in over 15,000 injuries—some very severe.
On a local level, a week doesn’t go by where our officers are not involved in some kind of conflict. That is why if you were to observe an officer at the scene of a volatile situation, notice how he or she is standing—creating a smaller target by turning sideways (bladed), gun side away from the person; notice the eyes—always scanning; notice the position of the arms and hands—always ready to react. This officer is extremely focused and ready to respond to any perceived threats.
As such, from the outside it may appear that the officer is detached or “mad.” But, nothing could be farther from the truth. Our officers are trained to provide the best possible service at all times while maintaining an invisible protective bubble by utilizing their senses and acquired skills.
I would like to share with you my observations from my 37 years of experience. The odds are almost one-hundred percent that every officer, during their career, will be punched, slapped, assaulted with an instrument, threatened, spate on, called a liar, and be verbally abused by the same persons they swore an oath of office to protect. That is why they’re special people; and that is one of the reasons filling our positions is so difficult. Your everyday person would not be able to cope with this kind of abuse.
This is not a job for everyone, although is can be very rewarding, especially when you’re able to help someone who was victimized—especially defenseless children and the elderly.
Q: I’m in high school and someday would like to become a police officer. What should I do? Is it hard?
A: Aloha James,
It’s refreshing to talk to a young person who is thinking and planning ahead. It is very important for people your age to start preparing for their futures. An important part of that preparation is finding a career that will not only help supply the basic needs of daily living, but will also provide opportunities for future career development and eventually a comfortable retirement.
In considering law enforcement as a career, the most important thing you can do is to stay out of trouble. Abide by the law, avoid illegal drugs, and drive carefully. Not only will it make you a stronger candidate for selection as a police officer, it will keep you (and the people around you) safer and healthier. The selection process for becoming a police officer, and the job itself, is not easy. It will require commitment on your part. Always remember that some of the best things in life do not come easy.