Dear newly-graduated police officer
God bless you. God bless you and keep you and give you the patience, skill, and eventually the wisdom to always do your job in a professional manner.
God give you the ability to hold your tongue when someone insults you curses at you.
God give you the ability to maintain your composure when someone gets in your face, yelling, striking you with spittle.
God give you the ability to defuse and de-escalate a situation with your body posture, words, and even your silence.
God give you strong, wise, compassionate partners and supervisors to keep you from screwing up too badly in the early days of your job. Partners who will leave a bag of poop in your locker but who will have your back in a tough situation.
God give you a strong family that will support you and understand the stresses you are under.
God give you a hobby. A hobby that will occupy your mind and allow you to decompress and leave the job behind.
God give you what you need to be one who truly lives the motto “To Serve and Protect”.
I pray to God for these things for your sake, and for the sake of those you serve. I don’t want to see you harmed. I also don’t want to see my fellow citizens harmed by you. I don’t want the college kid from the bad neighborhood to be treated like a hood just because he’s from the ‘hood. I don’t want the guy selling pot on the street corner to end up with a broken nose because you thought he needed a tuneup on the way to jail. I don’t want the prostitute you arrested to have to perform a sex act on you because otherwise she’s going to go to jail and her kid will go to social services. I don’t want the mentally ill homeless guy to get kicked in the stomach because he pissed you off by barfing on your shoes. And no, I don’t even want the child-abusing drunk boyfriend to “walk into a door” on the way to the precinct, because it’s not his lack of humanity I care about, but yours.
I want you to be professional even with the scumbags, because it’s not about them, it’s about you. Your humanity, your professionalism, your soul. You have to stay above the fray, lest you become what you see on the streets every day. You need to be able to do your job with pride and go home to your family without blood on your hands. You need to be able to keep your soul intact in a job that will wear it away, bit by bit, sometimes whole junks of it breaking off in the cascade of filth that you have to wade in.
I pray for you. I will support you to the ends of the earth if you are doing your job in a humane manner, and I will stand against the cop-haters even though they’ll call me a sellout and accuse me of hating civilians. I will share every good story I find about cops with my friends. I will attend your nights out against crime. I will shake your hand and tell you thank you for your service.
But if you disregard all the above advice, I will be your worst enemy. I will pray against you, write against you, march against you, lobby against you, capture you on video and make you YouTube famous in a way you do not want to be. So don’t go that way. Keep your humanity.
And if you are working with bad cops, do NOT support them. There is no Blue Wall of Silence in the face of oppression. If you fail to speak out against them, you are one of them.
That’s it. Good luck and God bless.