You are worth it
We do not risk body and limb for "this" but rather "you" – another human whose life has a high worth to us
Every day, many of you may be saying when you watch the news or you start your shift, “This is not worth it.”
With 23 years on the job with a projected retirement day of a year and some change, I find those five words running in a constant loop in my mind.
In the current climate, I look at officers being sued, fired and arrested. The “this“ has become losing my career, my freedom, my retirement, my home and the mental list of all I have worked for since the age of 14.
However, I have found my life preserver and maybe something for you to hold on to as we find ourselves in a sea of disdain and contempt: “You are worth it.”
Why you started can save you
The life preserver may be found from moving from the word “this” to “you“ and in doing so, changing your mindset and approach to why you entered the law enforcement profession in the first place.
“This“ is abstract. It does not speak to why we do what we do. We do what we do not for “this“ but for other people or the “you.“
“You“ is not abstract. It represents another human or humanity. With a focus on humanity, we inherently place value and worth on the experience and foster a shared bond with others. We do not risk body and limb for “this“ but rather “you“ – another human whose life has a high worth to us.
We would not give our very last breath of life for “this“ but would not hesitate for “you.“
Probably the most consistent answer given when asking applicants why they want to be in law enforcement is “Because I want to help others,” not ”this.”
The constitution we protect, the country we protect, the cities we protect and the people we protect are worth it.
You are worth it has meaning
I was in a briefing recently before the start of a shift where a sergeant relayed that he had heard an officer say that when someone says, "Thank you for your service," the officer replies, “You are worth it.”
This is such a powerful representation of the heart of law enforcement officers and of the value that we have for the citizens we serve. For me, after 23 years of wearing the badge it means:
- You are worth all the missed birthdays and holidays with my family.
- You are worth putting you before my family when a natural disaster or major public emergency occurs. Instead of racing to save my family, I race to save yours.
- You are worth the days and nights of hours in the rain and heat.
- You are worth all the ugliness and violence I have seen.
- You are worth the damage done through the years to my body.
- You are worth the damage to my mind from the evil I have seen.
- You are worth every tear I have shed in secret when what I have seen overwhelms me.
- You are worth all the hate and disdain some have toward me.
- You are worth the sleepless nights and days of worry my wife and children have wondering if I will come home.
- You are worth sacrificing my life to save yours.
Finding your way back
As I see the light at the end of my career, I am going to make an effort to end as I began, firmly aware of why I am suiting up each day.
Wherever you are at in your career, find your way back, suit up, put your badge on, square your shoulders back, hold your head up and go hold that line with pride and honor.