Absolute silence leads to sadness. It is the image of death~Jean Jacques Rousseau
It’s a Job, Not a Lifestyle
Leadership is the most human imperative. Without leaders how would our society exist? Leaders bring purpose, motivation, inspiration and direction to society and organizations across the globe. In this reading, I am referring to Police Officers.
I was a Police Officer from 1993-2006. During my tenure, I experienced more in my 13 years than the average person, let alone the average Police Officer would experience in a 30 year career. What do I mean by this? I was involved in more and have seen more tragedy, serious crimes/offenses than your average Police Officer. Please keep in mind, I am not referring to our Heros/Heroines that have fought for our country. I am talking about the Police Officer that patrols your streets and handles the day in, day out work that keeps your society safe. By no means am I minimizing this profession.
Whether you like and/or respect Police Officers, you have to admit that it’s a thankless job. Very seldom will you make someone’s day for the better. Very often you make someone’s day for the worse. Police Officers deal with everything from pulling a dead animal off to the side of the road to potentially having to take someone’s life. The span of responsibility is overwhelming and yes, very stressful.
Police Officers, as I would explain them are a different breed. This profession usually attracts the confident, egotistical, arrogant, cocky, macho, controlling type personality. We have all dealt with one at one point or another in our lives.
What makes someone attracted to this profession? What attracted me was being passionate about making a difference in the everyday lives of people. Serving my community to the best of my ability and making a difference. I once heard this saying, this job is like having a front row seat to the most exciting show on earth. Boy was I right and wrong at the same time.
Breaking The Silence Code
Let us be silent that we may hear the whispers of the gods~Ralph Waldo Emerson
The ultimate responsibility of a Police Officer is using deadly force against another human being. If you know a Police Officer ask them what question they have been ask the most. They will tell you, “Have you ever had to use your gun”. Hearing this makes me cringe. When I was ask that question, I cringed. No Officer ever wants to be in that position.
On January 10th, 2000, I was forced into that position. I had to use deadly force on another human being to prevent my life from being taken. I know, I had to do what I had to do to save my life. I agree 100%. However, being in that position is life altering. A position that no one every wants to be in.
The aftermath, the investigations, being Monday morning quarterbacked, being judged about your charcter, integrity, honesty, your personal life stemming all the way back to your childhood days, the decisions you made in the past, the things you have said in the past. Do you get my point? This went on for more than 5 years.
For years, I have struggled with the psychological shock, the uncertainty of operating within the “culture” and the usual burdens of struggle and conflict. I worked extremely hard to maintain my effectiveness as a compassionate and charasmatic leader but at a high personal cost. I was struggling with PTSD or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
In the early 2000′s very few knew what PTSD was. Most studies on PTSD rarely dealt with the condition among Officers due in part to a bias that do not admit its existence.
The psychological aspect of a traumatic event, the emotional devastation it leaves among anyone especially our returning troops has been slowly recognized and formalized as PTSD. However, there is little mention among Officers because of how we are trained. We are trained to never flinch or to show weaknesses. The Officer who shows a weakness will be deemed a coward or unworthy or unfit for duty. Therefore, Officers remain silent.
I spoke out! I shared how I was feeling! I shared what I was experiencing! I shared what I was going through! I could no longer hold the silence! It was like a cancer eating me from the inside out! I lived through tortune for years! I knew I was a plane spiraling out of control nose diving to earth! I had to do what was good for me!
Do what is best for you and your family. No one cares about you like you and your family. The organizations look out for their best interest. What’s good for them. Not you! Their thinking is that you can and will be replaced. They don’t care about your mental or physical well-being. You must step up and take control of your life. No one else will! Now is your time!
True Leaders do what is Right! They break the silence!
I’m John R. Salkowski, Founder of AchieveSuccessAcademy.com, Retired Police Officer, Survivor of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), Entrepreneur, Author, Speaker, Leading Authority on Leadership, Overcoming Adversity & Fear.
Copyright 2012 Achieve Success Academy All Rights Reserved
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