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Old 7 February 2020, 15:13
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Chubs Chubs is offline
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Combating Complacency

Ive found myself, as of late, having to really combat complacency and disenfranchisement with the job. After leaving the gang unit and going back to the road, the last couple of years have really been tough for me in terms of staying sharp and motivated. Being moved back into a billet thats ultimately not the style of police work I want to do, and being asked to do that with ever restrictive policies and increasing pressures from the agency has put me in a position that Ive allowed myself to wallow in this sort of wheel spinning rut. This was really brought into focus two weeks ago. I stopped a car driven by a man that two days later attempted to stab one of our troopers. Why he didnt try me, Im not reasonably sure, but Im fortunate he did not. Ive got to hold myself much more accountable with being switched on 100% while Im at work. Maybe someone else here, thats been watching the years tick by, needs that same reminder to pull their head out of their ass.

Love yall. If I can do anything for you out my way, let me knows.

Chubs
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Old 7 February 2020, 18:10
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Well put.
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Old 7 February 2020, 18:24
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You recognize your problem. Is teaching your thing? FTO to new officers? I’m no psychologist or great thinker, just a grunt. Poke around and find that something that makes you want to hop out of bed and be happy doing your job.
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Old 7 February 2020, 18:57
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I'm thinking you may not be as complacent as you think.

I remember at some officer survival training seeing a series of videos. If memory serves, the videos were from a study conducted by DOJ or FBI where they interviewed persons convicted of serious assaults (to include homicides) on officers. Many of those interviewed mentioned the officers non verbal cues and demeanor and physical conditioning in playing a role in their decision to assault. One in particular still sticks in my mind. The offender called in a false 911 report, with the intent of shooting the responding officer. He didn't shoot the officer. He did it again, and shot and killed the 2nd officer. When asked why, he said when the first officer arrived, he parked away from the scene, surveyed the scene before exiting his car, then carefully scanned the area. He said the officer looked fit, aware, and not someone he wanted to F**k with. When he made the second call, the officer pulled right up, didn't appear to be aware of his surroundings nor alert, so he shot him.

I would venture a guess that your demeanor/presence is still somewhat sharp, though at an unconscious level. That may have played into the perps decision not to try it on you. Maybe you treated him professionally, and the other officer was less so, or was demeaning or overly officious to the perp leading him to the assault? We had officers that seemed to be assaulted more than others, and it was they way they treated or spoke to people that we believed led to the assaults. There are so many variables at play who knows the real reason, but I am a big believer in maintaining a professional and aware presence.

You caught yourself thinking about it, which is a good sign. Keep mentally
aware and physically fit, yet always remember you can do everything right but still come across that one guy that is hell bent on being destructive. That's the guy you train for to increase your chances.

As for the disenfranchisement after the other position, that is pretty common. You need to find ways to utilize your prior experience and training and apply it to the new gig. Being able to catch bad guys in ways they never expect from a patrol officer is very satisfying in their own way. The use of informants, obtaining search warrants etc. really throws them off their game as they don't expect it. They know the typical patrol officer doesn't usually do those things. If you threaten a search warrant, they know you probably won't as you will try and convince a supervisor and detective to get involved, which gives bad guy time to get gone. Offer to help other officers out with it. Trust me, they will start to come around and get pumped up about it once you remove the cloak of intimidation from the process. To paraphrase an old saying, "you will lift the entire boat" and most everyone on the crew will enjoy coming to work and figuring how to put it to the bad guys.

Last edited by Tonydec; 7 February 2020 at 19:07.
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Old 7 February 2020, 19:01
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Identifying the issue before it's an issue is a big victory on this. I normally counsel folks who are fighting it to look for a change of pace or reason to shake it up a little. Different shift or assignment. FTO. Stop FTOing. Teach at the academy. Take on a specialty unit assignment that interests you. The key for a lot of my people is to stay engaged, and more and more it seems it's a challenge of finding the work that keeps you engaged.
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Old 7 February 2020, 19:39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chubs View Post
Ive found myself, as of late, having to really combat complacency and disenfranchisement with the job.
I did this twice.

The first time I noticed the complacency in my colleagues first. I tried fighting it, with some success, but the bullying and illegal acts committed by my agency to get me to "comply" drove my wife and I to leave.

Note - The same month we left, 10% of the entire agency also resigned! And that agency is still the highest paid in the nation.

I ended up spending approx 4 years creating an online monthly magazine for Australian Police, the first of its kind in the country, specifically dealing with repairing the damage caused by complacency.

Worked overseas for those years, loved it, and came home to become a Federal Agent. The outright corruption, cronyism, and crimes committed by that agency stunned me, so I left LE for good. One of the first warnings was when my new agency spent a lot of effort punishing me for the magazine I was still writing, (with their formal knowledge and approval), due to some vague "conflict of interest".

You have two main choices. Stay or leave. Whichever choice you make, you need to find a purpose that will help you stay focused and happy. I absolutely loved being a Shift Sgt, and it was what got me happily out of bed. The 2nd time they took that away from me without explaining why, was when I told them to shove their job. The purpose doesn't need to be job-related, but it needs to be enough to give you energy and drive.

Those former colleagues of mine, who have not found purpose, in or out of the job, are living miserable lives.

Find your purpose. Good luck.
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Old 7 February 2020, 21:34
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I appreciate the input guys. I suppose part of it is maybe the scheduling is finally taking a tangible toll. Absent my couple of years working gangs, I’ve been rotating back and forth between days and nights for a decade. In an effort to force guys into being more productive, our captain has instituted change within the districts that fall under his command. He’s mandated 8hrs shifts, so for the last few months I’ve been getting one weekend off and working 14 of 16 days in a stretch, while still maintaining that rotation up and down to third shift. Part of the issues I have may be compounded by lack of sleep/regulation.

Like several of you had suggested, I’ve been working my way into some different opportunities as best I can. I’m currently working in the Firearms Program and although it’s not a full time gig, at least it provides a change of pace and is something I love to do and teach.

With all that said, I’ve finally been given the opportunity to finally make the move to the fed side and do some work I love to do, with an agency I’ve always wanted to work with. I’m hoping that gets finalized soon and I’m able to do it.
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Old 7 February 2020, 21:51
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Forgot to add one point that it took me a long time to learn.....focus on quality of life, not quality of job, especially if you have a family.
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Old 7 February 2020, 22:21
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Originally Posted by nofear View Post
Forgot to add one point that it took me a long time to learn.....focus on quality of life, not quality of job, especially if you have a family.
Thats definitely the biggest one Ive changed the last several years. I allowed myself to become another statistic and ended one marriage. Since then, especially after meeting my current gf, Ive done a much better job of focusing on enjoying new experiences and challenges. Ive actually utilized my vacation time to go and enjoy life.
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Old 8 February 2020, 01:01
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At 26 years in, I hit the same wall. Could not stand getting out of bed in the morning to go to work in my new assignment as the admin Sgt.
I began hating the job I loved and have done since 18 yrs old.
With my retirement already secure, I left and went overseas contracting.

Stayed out quite awhile, but kept a foot in the door back home. After many years wandering the world, I came home.
I then did a few final years as an investigator, working things I wanted to, things I enjoyed. I also got back into teaching at the academy, again teaching what I enjoyed.
I know it’s a cliche, but when you can do what you like, have a passion about, life is much easier and enjoyable.
I was lucky how things rolled for me.....
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Old 8 February 2020, 14:30
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How about transferring to an assignment with a fixed schedule? Obviously you may not like the work, but the steady schedule can improve the quality of life at home.

Or if can't beat them, join them....promote , promote, promote and be the Watch Commander, Platoon Commander, etc.... That worked for me
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Old 8 February 2020, 16:12
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My fed agency? If so you are going to face the same issues most likely early in your career until you get established and a few years under your belt no matter where you worked and what you accomplished where you came from. I think for me it's about finding something in the suck that just doesn't suck as bad and focusing on that and just bide your time until you can check that box. I also think that once you stop doing whatever it is and look back a lot of times you realize it wasn't really that bad especially when compared to how bad others you know have it. No career field is perfect. Just don't let yourself turn sour. Everyone hates that guy!
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Old 9 February 2020, 00:12
Jim1348 Jim1348 is offline
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Combating Complacency

For me, the best thing was a bit of variety. I was on patrol for over 10 years at the police department I worked at. I went to a county and worked another 17 years, until I retired. The good thing was that there was a greater variety of assignments.

Chubs, you situation is a fairly common one in my part of the world. The difference is peeps here get on a Drug Task Force. They, usually, enjoy the sh!t out of it, but as the old saying goes, all good things must come to an end. The guys/gals do their stint and are back to being "road hogs" (sorry, Patrol). It is hard to be motivated responding to a lot of patrol stuff when you did the other stuff. I don't have a "magic bullet" answer, either.

I think the best you can do is figure out what other paths you want to pursue, either work-wise or hobby-wise. Brainstorm a bit with family, friends and coworkers. Do you want to get a pilot's license, go back to school and get an advanced degree, whatever it is, find out enough about it that you either do it or know that it isn't for you.

Fugitives were my thing. I loved finding the bad guy and bringing him to jail. It sounds so simple, but it can be a real challenge to find someone that doesn't want to be found. After doing that, most other police work bored the shit out of me.

The flip side is, most other "normal" civilian jobs would bore the shit out of me, too.

The real important message is to find something that you like OUTSIDE OF COP WORK. For me it is ATVs, horses and amateur radio. For you, it will probably be something else. Find out what it is and give it all you have.
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Old 9 February 2020, 08:06
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Chubs Chubs is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 18C4V View Post
How about transferring to an assignment with a fixed schedule? Obviously you may not like the work, but the steady schedule can improve the quality of life at home.

Or if can't beat them, join them....promote , promote, promote and be the Watch Commander, Platoon Commander, etc.... That worked for me
Unfortunately with the way my agency is structured, there arent any full time assignments that I can lateral into that would adjust the schedule. I could potentially transfer to another part of the state, doing the same thing, that may offer a slightly better schedule. That ultimately may be something I look at too. Like you alluded to in your second comment, the only way out in a lot of ways is up haha. Ive tossed around the idea of getting in the promotional process but honestly that puts me on a desk the majority of the time and despite my bitching I think Id miss being actively out and about. Biggest thing I miss about the gang unit is having a tight knit group of guys out working together towards a very tangible outcome.
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Old 9 February 2020, 08:08
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Originally Posted by Jim1348 View Post
The real important message is to find something that you like OUTSIDE OF COP WORK. For me it is ATVs, horses and amateur radio. For you, it will probably be something else. Find out what it is and give it all you have.
Thats definitely been the biggest change Ive made over the last several years. I got into ultramarathons and mountain races and have spent much more time climbing and hiking and seeing as much of the US as I could. Does wonders for the mind haha.
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Old 9 February 2020, 08:19
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Eventually you have to learn to live with yourself. Then you find out who has was to blame all along.
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Old 9 February 2020, 09:32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chubs View Post
Like you alluded to in your second comment, the only way out in a lot of ways is up haha. Ive tossed around the idea of getting in the promotional process but honestly that puts me on a desk the majority of the time and despite my bitching I think Id miss being actively out and about. Biggest thing I miss about the gang unit is having a tight knit group of guys out working together towards a very tangible outcome.
I hate to say it then, but you need to promote up. You can make a difference as a Patrol Sergeant, sure you'll have to spend time on a desk as the junior Sgt or perform the many duties of a junior Sgt, but that happens in every organization. Eventually you could be a or The Senior Sgt calling the shots at your station/assignment and still get out behind the desk to do police work.

I personally think the best rank is the Sergeant (more stability, continuity, etc)...buffer between the Officers and Management.
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Old 9 February 2020, 15:28
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I wish moving to different sections was as easy as some of y’alls agencies. It took me 2.5 years to get out of patrol only to be detailed back to patrol after two weeks.
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Last edited by Whitebean54; 9 February 2020 at 15:28. Reason: Grammar
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Old 9 February 2020, 17:52
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I'm retired now but several years ago I got bounced back to patrol for a few months as the result of a personality conflict with a boss (outside of my unit but high rank than my boss).

I went back to the 4-12 shift. I was still a cop so I went out every day, got all of the expected activities out of the way early in my shift and then did my own thing.

My first two weeks back in uniform I made two seizures, handled a bunch of other crap and taught some bosses how to do police work.

A few months later I was back in the unit with non apology apology from the Chief for pulling me in the first place. His comment to my the unit CO was he appreciated the way I handled it instead of shutting down like others had in the past. I'm not saying you're doing that but if you're thinking a lot about the job it can impact your performance.

My personal opinion as a retiree? Don't be afraid to seek out a friendly ear with your stress unit, if you have one that is independent. Doesn't mean you're suicidal or anything but if things are bugging you it might be time to get a friendly independent ear to bounce things off.
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Old 9 February 2020, 18:39
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I am feeling exactly what you posted. I spent ten years in our bike unit. We were a proactive unit not tied to the radio. We got to chase badguys, get dope, search for fugitives, assist narcs and other units. Then our new chief came in a disbanded every proactive unit we had. Too much of a liability. I went to the SRO unit in an innercity middle school. The good thing is I already knew a lot of the family names and love the hours of 730-1530 M-F. The crappy part is that the administration of the school is fucking retarded and cares more about feelings and their reviews than discipline and education. Many a morning I sit in my car having to motivate myself to go inside. The kids are what keep me there.
But I am burnt out. I poured myself into those kids and that school. I have been shit on and lied about by the administration. The dude that was there before me, was more of a member of the admin team than a cop in the building. I think of my job as a mentor, counselor then cop. He wanted to be buddies and friends with everyone.
Tomorrow I submit my memo and resume for the motorcycle unit. I need a change. I am also taking the test for SGT this year. It is part of my plan to leave there in about two years no more than five.
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