Sunday, November 17, 2019


At a normal 9am to 5pm type of job at the end of the work day the employees turn off their computers, kill the lights on the way out, and meet up at happy hour afterwards to celebrate it being Wednesday. 

Normal people shut off work once they leave work, they are able to be social, and make decisions based off their own desires with little regard to what others think. It is sort of like having two personas, one for work and one for outside of work. I know plenty of perfectly normal people that are professionals during the week, but as soon as 5pm come on Friday they become totally different people.

These people enjoy the holidays, get snow days, and can telework if needed. I say all of this because it represents the ideal balance between work and personal time away from work that is clearly lacking in Law enforcement. 

Law enforcement is a 24hr/7 day a week operation, no matter what happens if someone calls 911 someone will answer the phone and help will respond to render assistance. It can be a blizzard outside, Christmas, New Years, Valentine’s Day, etc. an Officer will respond to render assistance. Response time may vary, but we will get there! 

I have worked every holiday, sacrificed time away from friends and family, and have weathered the storm all because someone has to looking out for danger, for crime, for the people, etc. Most agencies don’t work traditional hours either, there is usually at least two shift rotations in effect over several squads to make sure that Officers are always on duty. Some agencies run 12hr/shifts, some 10hr/shifts, and some 8hr/shifts. We are considered “Essential Personnel” and are required to come to work even if the there is no way to get to work, still required to be present and on time. 

There is one good thing though, we are paid very well to weather the storms and work on the holidays so most Officers (Myself included) do not mind at all. Plus, once you get use to the work schedule it becomes routine to get into uniform and out the door to make rollcall on time. Family understand, and friends will be present when time allows. 

Most people get to turn off work, not LEOs…even when you are off-duty you have to be vigilant because if a situation arises where life is in danger that Officer has to respond on or off duty it doesn’t matter. As long as an Officer is carrying his/her badge and gun they are required to step in to address the incident or render assistance if needed. To compound that some agencies require Officers to carry there badge and gun at all times, thus they never are truly off duty. 

LEOs deal with people at their worst, some of which are placed in jail and will be released at a later time. I say that because I have ran into so many people that I put away while I was off duty, at the mall, restaurants, out with friends, etc. I have never had an issue with them, however I could not eat at that restaurant if they worked there…I had to be on guard while shopping at the mall…I had be mindful of where that subject is while out with friends.

Law enforcement doesn’t just stop at the end of the shift, your never truly off duty. Thus, there can’t be two personas with LEOs just one that contains work and personal time with a bridge between them so that the switch can happen when needed. It is hard on some, and impossible for others. 

I have seen so many Officers get arrested for crimes committed while off duty, some alcohol related, some domestic related, etc. all because they couldn’t build that bridge between the work persona and personal persona. It is sad honestly, but it is something that all LEOs have to learn to live with in order to make it. 

When you agree to put on a uniform, it isn’t just for the shift…it’s for life! Off duty actions can hurt you just as much as on duty actions can because you signed up to represent a Law Enforcement Agency as an Officer. So when something bad happens it’s not just Subject A did something bad…it’s Subject A of the Area B Law Enforcement Agency did something bad. Some say that this is the hardest part of being a LEO, other have no problem balancing the two personas, the point is that Law enforcement differs from other career paths in that it’s a lifestyle not just a job. 

Off Duty...or Slow Duty?!