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“If Not Us, Who?”

“If Not Us, Who?”

My heart weighs heavy in this week before the important decisions contemplated by a civilian grand jury in another state. After nearly 25 years of serving my community and country, I see the potential for an occupationalrevolution. The potential for substantially significant cultural change. While most revolutions are spurned through violence, this cannot be one of them.

Soon, events born in violence will again effect this country. Not just for today, but years to come. Regardless what you think of the decisions made by a civilian body, it’s critical to understand we are a nation of laws. You have the privilege (thank you military) to disagree with them, but not the right to break them.

The cultural evolution of expectations leading us away from the tenets of our founding fathers and the Constitution has left America in a state of moral and ethical conflict between knowing the laws, versus respecting the application of those laws.

Trapped in that conflict is the individual police officer. Empowered by the State to serve and protect, they’re also emasculated by that same State. Policies, regulations and public expectations factor heavily into each individual decision that police officer must make. Whether its writing a parking ticket or taking someone’s life.

The only constant in this equation is that not reacting is not an option for the police officer. An oath was sworn to with right hands raised. While truth, honor and sacrifice may have lost its significance to some, it’s still the reason that police officer leaves his family for duty.

They report for duty knowing that at any moment conflict may arise. It matters not if that conflict involves the braggart who claims to pay their salary, or the kid who marvels at the sun beaming off the rookies badge. The police officer swore to an oath, and no matter how human frailty may creep into that police officer’s singular decision at that one moment in their life, they and every police officer will be judged by that one moment.

When the decision is made to react to that conflict, despite the universal burden of knowing every eye is and will be upon you, a decision is made. It’s an unbelievable responsibility to take another person’s property, their freedom or their life. It’s one the police officer doesn’t take lightly. Most suffer lifetimes over a single or collection of decisions made at that point of conflict.

Yes, my heart is heavy on this eve before these decisions will be rendered. So many innocent people will be cast into a situation originally acted out on a single street in an unfamiliar town in an unknown part of the country.

It’s easy to sit back and criticize those who’ve sworn to protect others. Those officers who wear more scars on the inside than the critics have curses for their efforts, will thanklessly continue to report for their honored duty.

It’s easy to roar like a lion behind the keyboard. But when the time comes to be a lion; honestly, honorably and selflessly be that lion – to quiet accusing words without action or justification and do something for someone unknown for the greater good – will you?

There’s a reason a unified team of lions is called a PRIDE. Stay proud of your service BLUE – If Not Us, Who?

Us versus Them | A Ferguson Outcome

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Us versus Them | A Ferguson Outcome

Chief in Prayer

Us versus Them:

Sunday I shared the burden on my spirit in anticipation of the grand jury decision, “If Not Us, Who?” (https://www.facebook.com/CopsWritingCrime) It wasn’t about an outcome. It was that our nation rallied on either side of the issue based not on facts and evidence, but on historical perspective. Truth is, there’s more than one narrative to American history.

Just before turning off the news, I received a private message. Simply, it read – We Won! In clarity, I saw this wasn’t about black versus white as much as it was us versus them.

Let me be very clear – the “THEM” I refer to are the law enforcement officers believing it was a victory for the policing fraternity. A victory, such as a sporting event, would infer that policing was affirmed as being the better of the two.

Our occupational isolationism manifests itself against the communities we swore to serve. If we can’t share our feelings with the ones we love, then how do we sincerely show empathy to a community? Doubt it? We’re killing ourselves with alcoholism, divorce, domestic violence, PTSD and suicide.

As a Fraternity, we should engage in honest dialogue. Thousands of cops have shared feeling the same way, but are fearful to speak up because of reprisal from the Brotherhood. What type of brother’s keeper allows their peer to suffer in such silence over the cause of public service?

Let’s take this opportunity to examine why we’re fundamentally disconnected from the people we serve. Is it because we’re rooted in the old-school traditions of secrecy? Do we lean on the myth of being special and protected by the sacred canopy of public safety? Lets fix us, so we can competently serve those who most need our help.

In closing, I believe that the “us versus them” paradigm is dangerous for policing a populace. I don’t believe however, that the “us versus them” in policing is negative. The US who seeks a better, more society-linked policing model must no longer tolerate the THEM who still believe the Thin Blue Line is used to separate cops from community.

We do good work, now lets work to do good,
Scott

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FITx50 / week 17

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FITx50 / week 17 and this has been my approach of late.

After last week’s post-travel and fancy food eating festival I returned to the crossfit gym. I was greeted by the realization that at closer to 50 than I was weeks ago, shape, like the space station, is something just waiting to drop.

Some crazy workout call Down Sally Up – yeah, that’s what I said – I got the down part pretty good.

Okay, mostly I’m kidding but this little kitten was so darn cute, i had to include him somewhere. I’m back to cutting portions in half and exercise. I’ve also gotten pretty decent at headstands, which as I understand isn’t good after having a March spinal surgery. But it’s titanium right??

This week was a good transition from sloth to beast. Look out next week – I’m back on track.

Happy health to you,

 

Scott

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FITx50 \ week 16

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Week 16?

What happened to weeks 14 & 15? Well, that’s what I want to know. It’s crazy how trips to south Florida and the Carolinas can easily take you off your game plan.

Seriously, I’m like a bald tire spinning in marsh grass. I had to reintroduce myself to my friends at Momentum Crossfit, my Trek Madone 6.9 won’t even look at me and ice cream and I have been joyously reunited. How?

That’s my struggle. Weeks to months of sustained discipline followed by weeks to months (oh no, please no) of excuses, alibis and hushed alarm buzzers. My long-term goal of being FITx50 is still in sight with a March 2015 birthday, but I’d hoped for a sustained approach instead of a mad dash.

There, I said it – HOPED. That’s the issue. The term should be PLANNED for a sustained approach. As a long-time SWAT commander I understood the value of “Fail to plan / Plan to fail.” I’ve broken my own rule for survival / success. Now, I need to practice the first rule of digging holes.

When you find yourself in one, stop digging.

See you next week with a plan instead of a shovel in hand.

FITx50 \ week 16

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FITx50 \ week 13

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Did I Do That?

The Warrior Dash is in the books, and I’m super energized with motivation and memories. While it wasn’t the most physically challenging thing I’ve accomplished, it was one of the most enjoyable. Why?

It was a short-term health / fitness goal associated with a cause greater than losing a pound or two and flexing some rusted muscle. I’ve already set another goal to get me through the holiday season. So I encourage you to do the same.

Don’t be that New Year baby every year – I’ll start on January 1, or after Mardi Gras, or Easter, or by the end of next summer. Do it now.

In addition to setting various ranging goals is surrounding yourself with like-minded people. They say misery loves company? Well, so do healthy, positive people. A main reason why this Warrior Dash was so memorable was the people – especially my family. Besides my sisters who came to supper, cheer and photograph, two of my nieces and a nephew joined our fund / fun raising team.

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That’s a wrap from this warrior who’s another benchmark crossed and another week closer to rocking the half-century mark in a sensibly healthy lifestyle.

Find something fun and fitness centered and Do It.

FITx50 \ week 13

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Leading or leaning?

Think of those immediately surrounding you in supervisory positions.

Now filter out your natural biases, jealousies or negative comments. Just look around. How did they get to where they are? Okay, now you’re free to flood the responses with whatever your perception is of how they arrived at that level. Some of your suspicions are probably true.

This article isn’t as much for those being led, as those doing the leading.

Ask yourselves how’d you get where you are? Was it because you exhibited leadership ability along the path of your career? Was it because you leaned against the wall longer than the next person?

Ever heard these pearls of wisdom from your superiors? Don’t rock the boat. Being first around here don’t mean squat. Slow down, you’ll make us look bad. If you screw up, I gotta take the heat. If you wanna fit in, you’ll do as i say.

Supervisors, ever mutter those words to an eager, idealistic employee? Most have. Why? Because it threatens their accumulation of time.

From our earliest days, we’ve endured years of hearing the “Seniority” alibi. Time – I got time – He got time – They got time. Ask yourselves just what did you do with that “time” you so proudly rest your laurels upon? Have you been a progressive leader of others, or have you learned to milk the system and the clock?

I’m months away from my 25 years in law enforcement. In no way am I against experiences and seasoning gained over years on the job. Although, to gain experience requires making an effort. To gain time just requires showing up without too much screwing up.

I cringe when I hear officers battling over promotions, assignments, vehicles or the last scoop of alligator sauce piquante and default to TIME.

As a supervisor, that’s usually the factor weighing most heavily against that employee gaining benefits where my discretion is involved. Tell me what you’ve accomplished in that time. We all can accumulate time – just sit there.

Don’t be that guy – you know the one who’s afraid to chance becoming amazing. The one who’d rather wait in the shadows because of fear of making an honest mistake. The one who will never accomplish anything significant, other than meaningless seniority promotions.

Take that chance, ignite a revolution. Be the one to earn benefits based on merit, no matter how many or few years you’ve accumulated. You’re going to spend years there anyway, you might as well make the most of it. Please, don’t be that guy.

 

Leading or leaning

 

 

 

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FITx50 \ week 12 – SPECIAL EDITION

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Warrior Dash DASHED

Fitness Benchmark #1 has been met.

This weekend was the Warrior Dash in St. Francisville, La. Our team of Cops-n-Kilts sponsored by Liliana Hart’s Warriors started strong and finished even gutsier. There was unexpected difficult terrain, injuries and dehydration within the unit, but no one left the others. I’m still in awe of the effort of each.

No matter how tough, everyone knew we were doing this for the true Warriors committed to kicking the crap out of cancer. No one ever considered letting them down.

I trained for this event by relying heavily on Momentum Crossfit and cycling / running. Though I’ve never gone into any competitive event completely confident, I was surprised at my level of fitness during the grueling runs and strength obstacles. Often coming back or helping team mates through the swimming and mud pits, I knew the hours of training were paying dividends.

Let me encourage you to pick an event before the winter arrives. Find a 5k, Bike ride or friendly game of catch – just make a mark on the calendar and progress towards making it happen. I usually tell people when they ask if they are in shape for a particular activity – you can do it, it’s just how comfortable you want to be while doing it.

Again, let me thank Liliana Hart for organizing the fund-raising activity. We raised money and awareness – but it’s no time to stop. Find your cause and your passion. Do something bigger than yourself for someone else. See you next Friday – once these old bones recoup from the DASH.

I like to grab folks I know and surprise them with the classic “PROM PIC POSE.” Looks like Liliana Hart was ready for it. Great time and looking forward to next year’s Warrior Dash as I expect to rock it at 50.

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