Helping Make Sense of How Some Cops Respond to a Day Set Aside to Honor Their Role as Dad
Dr. Ross L. Riggs, DMin Director Security Consulting Investigations, LLC www.security-consulting.us
It’s a regular shift only its scheduled for Father’s Day; a Sunday shift is bad enough to draw but on Father’s Day too, incredible! That is what went through my mind at least a dozen times during my watch. I was always anxious for Father’s Day; not only was it a time of relaxation; it was a time to be surrounded by my family. That was the most important part for me and it has only become more so now that my family is spread out with their families or careers that keep them away.
Father’s Day becomes sweeter still with grandchildren. But for some officers, Father’s Day brings only painful reminders of the road not taken or mistakes from the past that cost them dearly. Couple that with some of the tough calls that Father’s Day brings!
Is there any call worse (child death calls excluded) to get than a domestic fight? Now, respond to a domestic fight and there are children at the scene watching mom and dad battle it out like two WWF loud-mouths, and it is Father’s Day. Not the most pleasant way to spend the day, especially if you have to take dad away in handcuffs in front of the kids.
‘OK, we all understand this so why bring it up here?’ ‘Doc, are you trying to discourage us?’ ‘What does this have to do with Counter Terrorism anyway?’ I can hear your questions because I posed them to myself before I wrote this and here are the answers.
First, this is a reality and you have to deal with it. You need to understand that you and your partner or your back-up officer may be dealing with this day differently. If you are a female officer, the same is true for Mothers’ Day or for any officer who is dealing with issues and memories about their own father this day is an issue. The point is that any shift can have enough stress of its own but when a shift automatically brings with it additional stressors, you have to be even sharper than normal; this includes Christmas or birthdays, or it could be special anniversary of the baby lost a long time ago. Be aware of days in your life or the lives of your partner that could be a distraction from the job.
No, I do not want to discourage you. I want to help you stay alive. From where I am, I cannot physically help you. But maybe, just maybe, through the words in this blog I can stir you to think so that you can be sharper mentally when you go out on that next shift and that split second sharpness may be what keeps you alive to go home at EOS.
What does this have to do with Counter Terrorism? I point to a sign in the main lobby of the National Fusion Center that reads: “Today is September 12, 2001” We are at war, ladies and gentlemen; and you are on the front lines. Your head must be in battle mode when you go on shift. Nothing can distract you; not even a holiday. Please, be careful out there!