Looking Back: Things Aren’t Getting Any Easier for Officers

Police work has changed… dramatically! Options used to be fewer, weapons were simpler and procedures less complicated. Reports did not involve orbital mechanics or complex MIT equations. You had a revolver and 18 rounds, two sets of handcuffs and a wooden baton. No computers back then, a dictionary and a #2 graphite. Common sense was the rule. Supervisors had actual field experience.

All this has changed. Today’s world of police work is vastly more complex. The demands are sometimes beyond reasonable. Our expectations of police sometimes stretch the imagination. There will always be bad guys who disregard the rule of law and who steadfastly refuse to comply with reasonable commands. Some individuals must be met with force in order to safeguard those who cannot protect themselves.

I don’t know if I would even contemplate law enforcement in this day and age. This will be a problem in the future, if not already. Why would anyone hazard themselves, their families, or their careers in an arena where politics, overnight, can radically alter the outcome of that which is reasonable in the moment?

I take my hat off to those we work with and who continue to place themselves in jeopardy day after day on our behalf. There used to be a T-shirt back in the 70’s, “Support law enforcement… hug a cop.” Perhaps we should all take note. I personally will hug all our instructors next time I see them. There are good men and women out there working on all of our behalf. Take note kind citizens, they are the thin line between order an

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4 Responses to Looking Back: Things Aren’t Getting Any Easier for Officers

  1. Scott Kitchen says:

    I couldn’t agree more. My son-in-law is a police officer and he encounters these changes on an on-going basis, with little to no respect/support. I’m very proud of him and appreciate all of those men and women out there protecting our neighborhoods each and every day.

  2. Mike Voncannon says:


    You and I both started on the mid 70s. I’m still at it (our retirement sucks and I still enjoy it) and while the tools are different, the basics of the job haven’t changed that much (at least in rural Tennessee). The general public are still very supportive of and like us. Nationally it has gotten worse and we wonder if and when it’ll hit us.

    Like you, I’m not sure I’d get in these days. It’s been a great career but the sacrifices take their toll. I’ve got a 9 year old grandson and he tells me he wants to be a “Police like his Papas,” I find myself proud but hoping he changes his mind as he gets older.

    Be safe and watch your 6

  3. M says:

    Uncle Scotty, I am nearing the end of my LE career in a northern California agency and while I don’t have as many years in as you, (I started my career late at 32, in the mid 90’s), but in my short twenty years I have seen a marked change in the attitude towards the police in our society and this has had a significant impact on the way we do business. I eco your thoughts about whether Law Enforcement is a good career choice at this time. I still believe it is a very honorable and fulfilling job, but one would have to think long and hard about their personal wellbeing in this day and age.

    When I started, I learned from some of the “the old timers” about what being a real cop was. They talked about how they took such pride in serving their community, protecting people and taking care of business in some of the worst areas of our county, often alone and always out numbered. They spoke of “curb side justice” when a local “Client” as they are called today, needed a slight “attitude adjustment” to help them mend their evil ways and set a tone in the community that the police were there to protect the public and “Keep the peace” and for the most part it seemed to work back then. I can’t say the same for today.

    Looking back, it is sad to see where we have progressed as a society, the apparent lack of valuing life has really changed things. The current attitude is we are the bad guys, the media and our elected or appointed political leaders (Police Chiefs and Sheriff’s included) appear to be giving in to the rhetoric of the emotional and misinformed members of the public lead by vocal members of our communities who have hidden agendas and use false narratives to further their goal to undermine the norm of our society. That’s not to say there aren’t issues that need to addressed, but in typical political expedient fashion, the powers to be are making to problem worse for all of us.

    I look forward to my retirement as those before me did, but I am not sure what that future will be like. I guess I can move to someplace like Idaho, Montana, Wyoming or Texas…….10-8

  4. Jeff Stephenson says:

    Scott, I had the privilege of having you as A firearm/ swat instructor at a DOE facility in 1988. IN 1991 I became a police officer and have recently retired. THe training that you , John Helms, and Larry Mudgett gave was very beneficial throughout my career. I wish many in the public could see the members LE as you and I really KNOW them to be. Best wishes, Jeff Stephenson

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