There are only a few careers where your presence at a scene or event can literally have a life-changing impact on the people involved. A doctor is an obvious one, with nurses, paramedics and fire fighters being a handful of others. By simply being at the scene of an emergency, they have the talent and wherewithal to stop bleeding and save lives. Whether it’s a fire crew crashing into a burning building to save some kids or a paramedic team working feverishly to save an accident victim on a rainy street, the people who do those jobs, simply by laying their hands on other people, change lives forever.
I may be wrong, but I don’t think you get that same sort of deal if you make deli sandwiches or sell used cars. Although, I confess if it’s late at night and the plumber comes and fixes your stopped-up toilet, he might at least be nudged a bit into the semi-hero category.
But don’t forget the cops. And if you’re reading this, you likely are one — or at least used to be. I recall many times, by my simple arrival at a scene, the collective anxious tone ratcheted down a few notches. Whether it was the scene of a fender-bender or a criminal assault leaving a victim bloody and disoriented on a curb, the mere presence of a “good guy” meant things would be better soon. That’s a powerful thing to have at your fingertips. And just as importantly, it’s something you can never abuse, take advantage of, or fail to use wisely. As cops we have the ability to immediately start to put things to right simply by arriving on a scene. We’re relied upon to handle whatever’s going on, to be professional about it, to know what we’re doing, communicate clearly — and wisely — and arrest the bad guys to protect the citizens.
Oh, we also need to know how to deliver babies, render all sorts of first aid, counsel kids, abused wives, runaway juveniles and whoever needs a hand, and to generally be all-things-to-all-people in situations we encounter. And you’re right … we often can’t live up to those lofty standards. But still, the fact is we are the ones at-hand, we do have the training, and we want, very much, to do the right thing. Now and again we do save lives, fix broken cars for old ladies, reunite lost kids with parents, arrest very bad people — and impact countless peoples lives forever.
Not a bad job if you ask me. You just need to not lose sight of that little fact. It’s even better than being a plumber — usually.
By Roy Huntington