As I sat down to work on this month's editor's note, it occurred to me that we published our first issue three years ago, and it got me thinking about hitting the three-year point as a street cop. There's something about the three-year period in law enforcement that seems to mean you're hitting full stride. Most agencies won't let you apply for a special assignment until you have at least three years on the street, and that's for a very good reason: It takes that long to figure out what you're doing.
In my personal experience, three years is also a bit of a danger zone because many officers feel they're locked on or dialed in after three years of police work. Some start feeling like they've handled just about every kind of call imaginable. Obviously, this is a mindset that can get you in trouble, and the best way to prevent it is to candidly assess performance and look for ways to improve.
Given that our magazine is at the three-year mark, I wanted to make sure we didn't fall into the "been there, done that" mentality, so I spent several hours looking over our past issues, reviewing correspondence from readers and taking a look at what we've accomplished. Looking retrospectively can prove pretty educational. I was sobered by the journey this publication has taken and the experiences we've had as a result of our relationship with America's finest.
I was pleased to see we've stayed true to our primary mission: providing you with information you can use on the job. And I was challenged to do more of what has set us apart from other publications; specifically, to stay in touch with officers around the country, recognize the outstanding, honor the fallen and support those who need help whenever possible.
Here are some of our extracurricular accomplishments of which I'm most proud:
The Project Inspire effort that supported hundreds of officers after Hurricane Katrina whacked the Gulf Coast.
The Trainer of the Year Award that recognizes outstanding police trainers. It's now known as the Nowicki because the first recipient was Ed Nowicki, the founder of the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association.
The Gold Badge of Service Award that recognizes vendors who go the extra mile and give back to law enforcement.
The Project Inspire II effort that aided Macon County, Tenn., after a deadly tornado.
Our ongoing work with manufacturers to provide real-world feedback on their products.
Our support of Concerns of Police Survivors (COPS) with thousands of dollars for educational scholarships.
The launch of LawOfficer.com.
I know Law Officer is significantly different from other public safety publications because of the way we connect with and serve our readers. From New York to California to Washington to Florida, even all the way out to the islands of Hawaii and up to Alaska, we've listened to the needs and input of veteran officers, trainers and supervisors, often by talking with them in person or meeting with them in their work environment.
We won't lose sight of our primary mission. Everyone on our staff works with the knowledge that our efforts may make the difference in getting officers safely through their shift. We target trainers and supervisors because they have the greatest influence on our profession.
We take this responsibility very seriously and strive to deliver the very best content in every issue, operating from a basic premise of read it/use it. Here's a great example: Jeff Chudwin, our Tactical Ops columnist, wrote a column in our February issue describing how to zero your carbine and explained why in practical, street-sense terms. The piece generated numerous reprint requests from many of our readers, and numerous requests for Chudwin's sight-in target (you can find the article at www.lawofficer.com/chudwin).
Rest assured as we start forward towards our fourth year, we intend to do more, not less, and to bring you even better content and more read it/use it articles that will help you help others. Every article is evaluated with this in mind, and you won't find a more qualified group of columnists in any publication. All of us are honored to support those who serve. Dale Stockton, Editor