Don’t Lose Yourself: My Open Letter to Future Law Enforcement

I haven’t written a post in a while. I have been doing a lot of things and I will have some good announcements soon hopefully, such as my Youtube channel which is now currently up and running, which you can check out at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8wakMuH7dTt_0tWtCl314A

This is a post that I have been meaning to write for a while, but for whatever reason I was holding back. I was scared that maybe this would get me in trouble at work, or what other cops would think of me, or who would judge me for what I was about to say, but I owe it to myself and to you guys and the future of Law Enforcement everywhere to be as open and as honest with myself and you as I can be. I’m trying to save lives not only on the street, but trying to save lives behind an IP address. So let me start out by saying as a disclaimer, the following views are views held only by ME and not the views of the agency, city, or department that I work for.
Here It Goes:

Don’t Get Lost: My open letter to the Future of America’s Law Enforcement

Dear Future Law Enforcement of America,
Let me first start out by saying that your choice to take on this career or to consider taking on this career is a choice that I thank you for, your communities thank you for, and your Nation thanks you for.  It is one of the most noble and selfless and at this current time difficult professions that you could do. However, it is a great career and throughout my ups and downs in this career I will stand by this being one of the greatest jobs in the world.
There is no job like being a Police Officer, but with the choice to become one, you better make damned certain you know why you’re doing it, you desire a career in law enforcement, and above all else be able to carry out your duties as a not only a Police Officer, but as a human being. An old supervisor of mine once told me, “When you get on this job you better really love it, because every year you start to love it a little less, it wears on you, and if you didn’t have that great love for it at the beginning, you’ll have no love of it left by the time it’s over”. I see it every day. I was one of those people for a year or so too, so I speak from experience. They come to work and all they talk about is how much the job sucks. “Job’s Dead” they’ll say, and I’m not going to lie I have said it too when I was mad at the job, but the pattern that I have been starting to see as of late is that people with 1-2 years on carrying themselves around miserable, hating the job after barely even doing the job. They emulate these people that are miserable and unhappy because they want to fit in and the number of people who are angry at the job and unhappy for no reason multiplies like the roaches in Joe’s Apartment.
This brings me to my first point, don’t be a Bergen. For those of you who haven’t seen The Trolls Movie, The Bergens are creatures that are miserable and are convinced that the only way they’ll ever be happy is if they eat a troll. They tell their kids this so their kids believe it and so on. The job is the same way. You’re going to get to a command and there will people there with time in rank who will tell you, “hey kid, this sucks” and it’s your choice to fall in line with their attitude, or choose your own path. Choose your own path! Don’t lose yourself. If you like the job, like the job. If you want to go out there running around catching bad guys all the time, do what makes you happy on this job. Life is too short. Don’t let the fear of fitting in derail you from why you became a Police Officer in the first place. I have seen it far too often, people that choose the easy way, over the way that makes them happy. Don’t do it. Also, in the same category, make your own judgements about your peers and supervisors. Someone will pull you aside to say, “hey did you hear this about this guy” or “this guy is an asshole” because of some bad relationship or experience that THEY had or someone else had that they’re blindly following for an unknown reason. Some of the best cops and supervisors I have ever encountered on this job are the ones who people thought wrongly about but were actually just misunderstood.
My next point about losing yourself is this. When you started this job, did you wear tactical pants and oakley sunglasses everywhere? When you were in college did you talk to people like they were suspects all the time? You didn’t? Great, then don’t start doing it now. There’s this notion that we are cops and we are cops 24/7. Yes, it is true we are cops 24/7, but we don’t need to be on duty 24/7. We don’t need to be tactical pants and polo wearing, country music listening, same political believing, cardboard cutouts of each other 24/7, we don’t need to have the same interests or do the same things, or like the same foods, or wear the same clothes etc. Be who you were before you got that gun and shield. There are many stereotypes in this world, and cops become them too. The stereotypical off-duty tackleberry as I will sometimes jokingly call my friends. People in this profession will have you convinced that you need to act a certain way, be a certain way, quote police procedure 24/7, and only hang out with other people in law enforcement or feel the way you do on every topic. They’ll have you convinced that if you don’t live inside this box and give up on everything that you like, or if you seek to better yourself, or God forbid use social media that somehow, some way “the job” will come to get you, lock you up and throw away the key. Don’t lose yourself. Do the thing you want. Wear the crazy shoes, listen to your music, have your beliefs, wear the crazy outfit, take the selfie, write the blog, make the instagram page, make the youtube channel, just be smart about it. Life is too short, and i held back on a lot of opportunities and things i wanted because I wanted to be the stereotype, when all i was really doing was robbing myself of happiness.
When i joined the academy I had lost 110 pounds just to become a cop. I was on the road to great health, a better body, a life of fitness. I lost myself. This brings me to my next point, fitness. I’m not saying you have to be all Captain America, but we all have to pass a physical exam to get this job. Our spouses all married a more fit version of ourselves. What happened? How many of you will be able to pass that obstacle course or run in 5, 10, 15, 20 years? I sure as hell wouldn’t have been able to do it 5 years ago, hell even 2 years ago i wouldn’t have been able to do it. A lot of you might disagree with about what I am about to say, but we owe the public, our families, our children and the family of the cops you work with that we and they are in the same condition or better when we leave this job as when we came into it. It’s easy to let the stress get to you, to binge eat, to skip the gym. I get it, I have been there, seriously for far too long I let myself go. You’ll be exhausted some days, but just like the gun you clean after you fire it you have to keep the tools of your craft in the best possible working order that they can be, and your body (and mind), on this job, are the most important tools of your craft.
My last point of losing yourself in this career is this. Don’t be a dick. If you were a dick before you got on this job, well then it might be a little harder, but if you weren’t don’t start becoming one now. I am not saying throw your tactics out the window or don’t take police action against criminals, because I have complaints, lawsuits, and I am no slouch when it comes to doing Police work. However, we encounter millions of people every single day and they all aren’t criminals or suspects. Some of these people are our family members, friends, law abiding citizens and deserve our respect. Now, I’m not saying that “cops are dicks” because we all know that’s not true, but we’re humans and sometimes a positive attitude and a smile go a long way, especially from the police. There are entire communities out there that seriously think the police hate them, and to be truthful I can’t even be mad at them for not liking us, because it has nothing to do with us or them, unfortunately it has to do with their environment. They have been told that we hate them and they believe it and unless we show people who we really are, unless we wave, smile, talk, buy the homeless guy dinner, give someone who needs it a hug, cry with someone, talk to them and show them directly who we are and that we’re not what they were to lead to believe we were, then things are going to be the same. If they continue hating us, then so be it, at least we tried to make it better. I know some people are rolling their eyes right now and think what I just said is absolutely ridiculous, which hey, that’s fine to each their own, but me? I’ll be out there giving the hugs, shaking the hands, kissing the babies, giving the smiles because I never forget why I became a cop and that was to make the world a better place and hopefully just a few more people every day like us, a few more people run to help us when we need it and a few more people become the future cops of America.

Aaron Lohman
@Huge_Fat_Loser

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