Driving back from vacation with my family last summer I had a strange conversation with my wife. For the first time in my 28-year law enforcement career I wasn’t sure if I still liked being a cop. Let me give you a little context to help you understand exactly what was going through my mind when the uncertainty struck me.
In reflecting on my 28 years as a law enforcement officer it’s easy to focus on the ugly, messy, dangerous things that happened during my career—especially when so much is being debated about our profession on social media and in the main stream media. But for me and the legacy I want to leave behind, I need to focus on the positives and so do you.
Legacy is often thought of as what you leave behind when you die. But legacy is something you build every day of your career and your life.
Hanging on the wall in my office is a large print with a portion of President Theodore Roosevelt’s Citizenship in a Republic speech delivered at the Sorbonne in Paris France in 1910. Most people recognize the speech by a section commonly known as The Man In The Arena.
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.
I do, that’s who. And so do you. I spent a great deal of my life waking up each day and going through the motions. No real direction—just jumped on the hamster wheel and was happy when it stopped spinning at the end of each day.
Leadership is an interesting topic. One that I’ve been studying for the better part of eight years. I’ve read dozens of books, lots of research articles, hundreds of blog posts and watched hundreds of videos related to it. The sheer volume of theories and ideas around this topic is numbing.
During that same time frame, I’ve also been on an interesting personal journey. One filled with failure and success, disappointment and joy, sadness and happiness. While some parts of the journey were very personal and private, others were very public. My beliefs and views on many topics have been challenged and things that I once thought certain became obviously wrong.
The attacks in Paris have once again reminded us of the pure evil that exists in this world. As American law enforcement agencies continue to struggle with a false narrative that permeates social media, law enforcement leaders need to step up and prepare for what might be. After September 11, 2001 law enforcement officers were at the center of an outpouring of support around the country. I’ll never forget how proud I felt to be part of this profession in the aftermath of those horrific attacks. I stood ready to defend my fellow officers, our communities and our country from the radical misguided beliefs that had attacked the very core of the belief system that made America great.