ARTICLE WRITTEN FOR THE LOS ANGELES COUNTY SHERIFFS DEPARTMENT
After three years as a Sheriff volunteer, I have come to some conclusions. Hollywood and the general public seem to view law enforcement as some secret, clannish cult. Oh, sure, procedures and nomenclature are unfathomable to the uninitiated, but the same is true of my specialty: theology. To the contrary, I have found the LE community to be ruled by honesty and practicality. That’s why I can say, everything I need to know I learned from deputies.
Keep Your Hands in Plain Sight
Hands can be trouble, that’s why deputies always watch them. A dark vehicle and hidden hands shout possible danger. Keeping our hands in plain sight is a good metaphor for life. Life’s relationships are best founded on honesty and openness.
Show Me Some ID
We all carry identification, whether it’s a card in my wallet, or the badge on your chest. In the field, establishing identity is primary to officer safety. These days, it’s not enough to wave a card or badge, for false identity is a growing problem. In life, it’s important not just to proclaim an identity, but to be who we say we are. Navigating life’s choices gets much easier when we are true to ourselves.
Put On Your Game Face
Teachers have an aphorism: don’t smile before Thanksgiving. Like deputies, they know the importance of command presence. Without it, a classroom quickly degenerates into chaos. Inside the station, deputies can rival the highest paid comedians. Once in the field, however, deputies put on the game face. Public safety and confidence demand your command of every situation. Fun is fun and some situations call for a touch of humor to deal with the tension. Conversely, there are times where firm, no-nonsense, determination is the appropriate response to the problem.
Why Am I Here?
This is not a philosophical question with deputies; they make it a commandingly factual one. Deputies often deal with chaotic situations. I’ve heard rambling, pointless narrations with little relevance to the situation. At those times, deputies always ask something like: “Why am I here? What do you expect me to do?” I’ve picked up on this, and ask myself the same question when confronted with confusion in my own life.
Proverbs 3:21-24 says, “My son, preserve sound judgment and discernment, do not let them out of your sight; they will be life for you, an ornament to grace your neck. Then you will go on your way in safety, and your foot will not stumble; when you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.” Life can be tricky. Thankfully, there are simple, honest, guidelines out there that can help us find our way.