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13 reasons why you love being a cop

While it is not an easy time to be a police officer in America, there are many reasons why you stay in law enforcement

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There are few jobs that provide an adrenaline rush like that of law enforcement.

Photo / Dan Marcou

It is not an easy time to be an American cop in an era of police ambushes and active shooters. It is a time when this country is occupied by many naïve bleeding hearts who seem to want to lock up cops who have done nothing wrong and set free criminals who have committed numerous heinous crimes. It is no surprise that there are those days when every cop wonders, “Why do I climb into that squad car every shift?”

If you want to know the reason why you stay in this profession you just need to admit it is because you love being a police officer! If you wonder why you love it, here are 13 reminders.

1. You love saving lives

As a police officer, you will have the opportunity to save the life of a baby, a motorist, a battered woman, a criminal or all of the above. Once you have experienced the thrill of saving a life, it is human nature to look forward to the opportunity to do it again.

2. You love a good adrenaline rush

There are few jobs that provide the adrenaline rush of hearing radio transmissions such as: “Shots fired,” “Officer needs assistance,” or “Robbery in progress.” Once you have learned how to channel that rush into effective action and become the cop that other cops depend on, you’re hooked!

3. You love facing the unknown

There is an excitement that still comes over you as you roll off the ramp because even though you may not be driving into the “Great Unknown,” you are driving into the unknown and that’s great. There is danger in facing the unknown, but you do not fear the unknown, because you are a cop who is dangerous to those who are dangerous to others in need of protection.

Feedback from officers in Police1’s State of the Industry survey reveals widespread dissatisfaction, with many planning to leave their positions and hesitating to recommend law enforcement as a career choice

4. You love a challenge

You love a challenge because your training and experience have transformed you into your department’s most valuable asset. You are a solution looking for a problem.

5. You revere and respect the uniform

Even though your “new cop smell” may have long dissipated, you still possess a deep pride as you look at yourself in the mirror while wearing your uniform bearing the badge, your patch and our flag. The honor of wearing it has been hard-earned. To you, the uniform is not just a suit. The uniform and all that it represents suits you.

6. You love the action

The filming of every police movie ever made starts with the director shouting, “Lights, camera, action!” In the real world, the lights are the colorful tool you skillfully use to warn, protect and distract. The cameras are in your squad and sometimes on your chest to preserve the truth that lying suspects attempt to distort. The action is as real as the blood and tears, not contrived like in the movies.

You have not pursued opportunities within law enforcement that remove you from the action. In fact, you not only stay where the action is, but you also seek it out because you are a cop who, when things are at their worst, you are at your best.


Come rain or shine, cops love working outdoors.

Photo/Dan Marcou

7. The tools appeal to you

Very few professions require that those engaged in that profession become a master of such a variety of tools. The list of tools available to the modern American police officer boggles the mind. You have become a master of your tools and technology and not only know how but also when to use each of your tools legally for the greatest effect. In fact, our tools are cool.

8. You love being in the know

You appreciate being able to be at the scenes of the most important events in your community while knowing exactly what is going on. Others are relegated to rubbernecking as they drive by while wondering, “Wow! What’s going on there?”

9. You love working outside

Whether you work in an unmarked or a marked squad, on foot or on a bike, in a boat or on a Harley, you love working outside. Whether the sun’s shining, it’s snowing, or the rain is falling sideways, you are in your element when you are in the elements.

10. You love the camaraderie

You recognize there is a camaraderie that can be developed on a healthy shift or team that once achieved will never be forgotten. There are fellow officers with whom you can perform, adjust, adapt and overcome magnificently without a word being exchanged.


The relationships with your fellow officers become unbreakable bonds for life.

Photo/Dan Marcou

11. You love catching “bad guys”

There is a thrill and triumph that you always feel after a successful arrest of a dangerous criminal.

12. You feel special that you get to witness the unbelievable

There are so many things that happen in a police career that if you told people outside the profession about, they would think you are making it up. Every cop has those experiences, but you are one who realizes how privileged you are to have witnessed these events and lived to tell what seems to be a tall tale, but which is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

13. You appreciate life more

You appreciate your home and family even more than most. This is because you have met the homeless and been in the homes of the tormented and unfortunate. You have fought in and survived the “mudroom” between life and death and, as a result, have learned to appreciate life even more because of these experiences.

Final thoughts

There is power in admitting to yourself that you love the life you have chosen and always will. Like the honorable sheepdog, it is in your DNA to pursue threats, protect the defenseless and sense how important your job is. As a sheepdog, you will never abandon your calling to protect and serve because one thing every faithful sheepdog knows how to do is….STAY!

Police1 readers respond

  • Your article is well written and covers all the reasons why I have been and still am in law enforcement. I know times are tough but when has this job ever been easy? When I first got into law enforcement, I was lucky enough to know several cops from the 60s. Life wasn’t easy for them either. There was that element then who hated and attacked police. As we all know, this job is not for everyone. It is a tough job. However, I see more support for us (despite the media coverage of police hatred) than I saw in the 70s when I got into law enforcement then. I’ve had people thank me for my service (still not used to that) and buy my lunch for me. That always chokes me up. It’s tough but the job is worth it. The negatives and stressors may change but they will always be there. The ultimate reward is that you are doing the right thing and standing up for good people. You are not fighting for what is ahead of you but fighting for what you love that is behind you.
  • You love to be called upon to solve problems.
  • The article touches on all the high points of why I have always loved being a cop. It is also why after 50 years doing the job it will be hard to give it up even if my body tells me it is time to go.
  • My greatest satisfaction in being a police officer was the opportunity to serve and to help the community in which I lived. I entered with that in mind and that reason never left or failed me. Some of the things Lt. Marcou mentioned were icing on the cake, but the cake was the service and helping. I continue that now that I’m retired by serving as a chaplain for the sheriff’s office, police and fire department in the community to which I moved after retirement.
  • 41 years and still at it...because every so often, maybe every other year, something significant happens and you are there for it when no one else would have been. It might be a 15-year-old who dies in your arms, might be saving a toddler whose face was mostly ripped off in a car wreck, might be getting that long-time DV victim out of harm, but you will know that because you were there, you and you alone made a difference for someone else. These are the moments why you are there, these moments are why you put up with all the admin nonsense and public vilifying, and why despite it all, you stay.

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This article, originally published on January 09, 2020, has been updated.

Lt. Dan Marcou is an internationally-recognized police trainer who was a highly-decorated police officer with 33 years of full-time law enforcement experience. Marcou’s awards include Police Officer of the Year, SWAT Officer of the Year, Humanitarian of the Year and Domestic Violence Officer of the Year. Additional awards Lt. Marcou received were 15 departmental citations (his department’s highest award), two Chief’s Superior Achievement Awards and the Distinguished Service Medal for his response to an active shooter.

Upon retiring, Lt. Marcou began writing. He is the co-author of “Street Survival II, Tactics for Deadly Encounters.” His novels, “The Calling, the Making of a Veteran Cop,” “SWAT, Blue Knights in Black Armor,” “Nobody’s Heroes” and “Destiny of Heroes,” as well as two non-fiction books, “Law Dogs, Great Cops in American History” and “If I Knew Then: Life Lessons From Cops on the Street.” All of Lt. Marcou’s books are all available at Amazon. Dan is a member of the Police1 Editorial Advisory Board.