I regularly receive two kinds of calls for information. One from individuals who want to enter the ranks of Law Enforcement. The other is from those who are conducting the background investigations on potential hires. In the end Integrity is what matters the most.
While the word COP comes from the phrase “Constable On Patrol” it is much more than that. Those who take on the role of COP must be of the highest caliber in terms of being deserving of the public trust. That doesn’t imply that they can make all the people happy all of the time, but that they are the kind of person that can be relied upon to do the right thing for the right reason. Of course today we recognize the terms Law Enforcement Officer, Police Officer, Detective, LEO, Sheriff, Deputy Sheriff, Reserve Police Officer, Reserve Deputy Sheriff, Special Agent, Inspector and other terms as those who represent the Law Enforcement Community.
I have had the privilege and honor of serving the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office as a Patrol Deputy, Detective and Civil Deputy along with specialties of Defensive Tactics Instructor, Pawn Detail, Crime Prevention, Gang Intelligence,and Border Intelligence. These were great opportunities to work with the great men and women of the Sheriff’s Office. I learned a lot from those senior to me as well as my peers at all levels. Furthermore, I had the opportunity to work with many great individuals from other agencies be they Local, State or Federal. They ranged from State Fire Investigators to the top tier in Investigations from the smallest crime to multiple homicides. All of the groups express in their actions the word,s “Serve and Protect.”
As result of some of these associations, I was recruited by the United States Secret Service and that opened an entirely new chapter in my life and career. While many things associated with that time period cannot be disclosed, and I would not ever violate the Top Secret aspects of the work, I can say a little. After all, it was an experience that cannot be duplicated in any other place.
I loved the training, the various military installations, the jump team work, the protection advance, the protection details, the counter surveillance assignments, the presidential threat investigations, the financial crimes that sometimes linked to terrorists groups, the physical training at the highest level, the United Nations assignments, the constant travel never knowing where you would be going next, the working with numerous Foreign Presidents and other heads of nations as well as our own United States President, Vice President and Former Presidents of the United States. Above all I value the fine men and women I worked with whether from the Agency, Local Law Enforcement or those in our military that were on assignment with me. In fact, our local Bellingham Police Department was nice enough to provide me with a secure office when I was not on travel status. They all lived by the Secret Service motto, “Worthy of Trust and Confidence.”
I left the US Secret Service, but not the Law Enforcement Community. I have enjoyed the privilege of being counted among the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office as a Reserve Deputy. I have served as an Expert Witness for Criminal Court and conducted led in-service training for other local agencies in Executive Protection. I even had the great honor of assisting in a small way in the reelection campaign for our Sheriff as a volunteer.
Because of the diverse experience and expertise I have been afforded by the above experiences, I have been able to coach individuals who seek to become Law Enforcement. I have helped individuals get placed at agencies at every level. I help them by showing them how to help themselves prepare for a career in Law Enforcement.
I start with a brief interview and ask a series of questions. Have they volunteered with an agency be it in records or any other task? Have they been on rides with officers on shift? Have they gotten to know some officers or agents to ask questions about the career and what they like or don’t like. What is the physical fitness ability of the future applicant? Do they have any university or other advanced education? What job experiences do they have to date that could transfer as an asset in a Law Enforcement career.
Those are some of the easier questions for folks to answer. Also, these are easy areas to shore up. With some planning and dedication toward achieving a Law Enforcement career, a future applicant can methodically work toward having real Knowledge, Skills and Abilities to meet the above.
One of the best things you can do to develop Knowledge, Skills and Abilities is in part through the martial arts. Training at Karate Quest requires that somebody develop discipline together with mental and physical fitness. We drill self-defense combinations until they become natural and this competency in turn brings out greater confidence.
In Law Enforcement it is not enough to look burly and tough. Other attributes are far more valuable. You need to have the right skills, the right attitude, good verbal skills and genuine confidence that is palpable when necessary.
The questions that are the toughest for future applicants to answer are some of the following. Have you ever been arrested? Any participation in drugs? Have you ever committed crimes that you were not arrested for? Have you lied to a Police Officer or other such official? Have you cheated? Do you meet all of your financial obligations? Do you hang out with, condone or conceal the actions of those involved in criminal or other negative activity? What would your friends, family, employers and other associates say regarding your character? In general do you follow the golden rule and treat others as you would want to be treated.
The ethical questions above constitute the most important areas of questioning. You can train a person who already has integrity and the other qualities that would make a great Law Enforcement Officer. You can’t train integrity, honesty, ethics.
If you struggle with any of those areas, please do not apply for a job in the Law Enforcement community. There is no place for this kind of individual in this important work. If for some unfortunate reason you made it past the written test, physical test, oral interviews, background investigations and polygraph, aka: lie detector, it would be a disservice to accept a job that should come only with the highest level of public trust.
There is a great risk to the public to hire someone who has a propensity to violate the public trust be it as a bully with a badge, a person who would purger themselves in a written report, court testimony or lie to their superiors and fellow officers. You will save yourself and the background investigators a lot of time and avoid the potential for a career that will end badly.
It should go without saying, nobody likes a liar or a deceptive individual. You are not wanted in the Law Enforcement community. There is too much at stake to be messing with the politics and internal pollution this would cause. There can never be the candid trust that it takes to accomplish great and important things. If you think you can lie your way to a LEO career, think again.
Work on your issues and just get your life in order. Be accountable for your actions. If you think you have some information that can help Law Enforcement then contact them and let them know what you know. Do note that helping Law Enforcement does not make you Law Enforcement.
By contrast, if you are the kind of person who wants to do the right thing to the best of your ability, work hard, study hard, train hard, be honest, and really look out for those in need then please consider serving in the Law Enforcement community. We need nothing but the very best in such positions of great responsibility.
Above all treat others as you would want to be treated and live your life with Integrity: Worthy of Trust and Confidence.