I think what makes me appreciate your friendship (besides the good cigars, whiskey and wit) is that you are the only friend I have that embodies liberalism, anarchy and conservatism, tempered and channeled by the thought process of a staff-wielding Buddhist philosopher.
An old friend once wrote me a note with that quote. Really he's much more than a friend; I worked for him and with him. He's been a mentor, sponsor, teacher and friend. He left our noble profession, and his leaving led me to reflect on change.
My friend was around before vests were invented and only advanced officers got to carry double-action revolvers. They used torches for night shooting, and the patrol rifles had to be cocked with a lever. His first communication system required hiking up a hill and yelling really loud.
Nowadays, vests are standard issue, and those of us with enough guile carry a few extras. We carry plastic, single-and-a-half-action automatics with gun-mounted lights, and our patrol rifles are right out of a military special operations unit. At some departments, the cops have Blackberries rigged with fingerprint readers and, in about 10 minutes, you can get a picture of the guy who s lying to you about his name that s right out of Buck Rogers! The change during my friend s time has been as far-reaching and profound as the way he described ol Bullethead.
Listen up meatheads, the changes are coming regardless of what any of us think, do or say. Our mission is to expect and accept the change as it comes and continue to find new and better ways to stick bad guys into a pit and keep em there. I can already hear you saying, Bullethead, we keep on sticking the scum suckers in jail, but between lousy district attorneys and shrinking state budgets, they keep letting em out. That s the kind of whining that would have gotten you a swift kick in the hindquarters back in my friend s day. Not being able to deliver an old fashioned ass-kicking to a loser employee is one of the changes I m not too excited about, but I ll have to deal with it right along with the good changes.
So you can either cry about it or do a better job. If you re the type who cries about it, put this magazine down and start looking for work because we don t need or want you. If you re the type who steps up to the line and calls out a bet on who will shoot better and faster every time even when you know the guy next to you is a better shooter because you like the pressure then mount up cause we still have important work to do.
Ol Bullethead has never had a problem with motivation or competition, and I know most of you are cut from the same cloth. One of the things my departing friend helped me with was pointing those things in the right direction. Now is the time for direction. Now is the time to perfect our craft. As a profession, we must go out and learn as much as possible about our every aspect of law enforcement.
Due to technological and societal changes this means far more than it used to. These days, a great cop is an expert in everything from laws of arrest to tactics to crime prevention to family counseling. As we move forward, we must expand and become computer and technology savvy, and we must be better able to communicate with everyone from an autistic five-year-old to an enraged parolee at large.
For nearly 30 years, my friend left it all on the battlefield. He s tired from shift work and call outs for everything from SWAT missions to homicide investigations. He s broken from crawling through bushes and on top of roofs, from kicking down doors and from brawling with the Boogieman and that SOB s whole extended family. My friend is not alone; there are many like him. By embracing change and keeping our profession great, we honor these great men and women who came before us. When my friend looks at today s cops against the backdrop of his service, he may be confused by the changes he sees. If he moves into his twilight still able to see good cops doing a great job, knowing he helped to lay the bricks, then our mission has been accomplished.
Got a question or complaint? Let Bullethead hear about it. He'll give you his opinion WITH BOTH BARRELS. Contact him via e-mail at email@example.com or fax him at 619/699-6246.