Police work is unique since police employment at the
entry level requires no prior experience in police
work.  It's also unique in the enormous
responsibilities you'll undertake immediately after
your training.  While training like education for any
other field is essential, the amount of experience
you'll acquire during training is minuscule.  

I can't think of too many careers where I could have
had as much fun and adventure, or a career in
which my decision making ability would be tested so
many times under stressful and dangerous
circumstances.  While in the beginning I thought I
had a fair idea about what I was getting into, I soon
began shedding all the misconceptions as I looked
toward experienced police officers for guidance
through what was, for a beginner, some really
complicated situations and circumstances.  It didn't
take me long to understand that experience is
qualitative as well as quantitative.  Here's where
your judgement in choosing mentors is just as
important as it will be in responding to the life
threatening situations which you will encounter
during your career.

A police career can be rewarding in every positive
way you can imagine as long as you never... never –
not for one moment – lose sight of the serious
nature of policing.
Right from the beginning, you're going to have to
use your head. You don't have to have a ton of
experience to recognize good direction from bad
direction.  Aside from procedural nuances, police
work rests solely on reasonable responses from a
reasonable person.  You're going to make
mistakes.  Reasonable people make mistakes all the
time, but reasonable people rarely make
catastrophic mistakes.
When one spends over 32 years in a police career,
it's easy to forget many of the questions and
misconceptions about police work one had at the
very beginning.  When I go on the Internet, and I
read posts by young people asking questions about
a police career, it takes me back to a time when I
had some of the same questions and

As one becomes older and –  hopefully –  wiser, one
conveniently forgets the inexperience and stupidity
of one's youth.  That's not to say that youthful
inexperience equals stupidity.  The stupidity part
only applies to youth's natural lack of appreciation
for experience.  How many times have you said, or
heard a young person ask, "How can I get job
experience if I can't get hired for the job?"  It's a
dilemma and question everyone has faced, but it's
just an inconsequential facet of youth that always
works itself out.
"Reasonable people make mistakes all the
time, but reasonable people rarely make
catastrophic mistakes." ~ Barry M. Baker
You'll learn very quickly that your most important
asset will be the people who are working with you.  
No matter how well trained, and knowledgeable, you
think you are, those first months are going to be
very difficult.  You're going to experience situations
where you'll need guidance from others.  From the
very beginning, you should identify fellow police
officers who are competent and experienced.  
Believe me, it's not a hard thing to do; they'll be the
quiet ones.

It's just as easy to identify those police officers
whose advice you should view with skepticism.  
They'll be the ones who respond to your questions
with, "Don't worry about it."  If you consider your
question worth asking, that response should
confirm to you that it's worth your worry. Some
police officers are notorious for taking short cuts,
and the short cutter's slogan is, "
Don't Worry
About It

There was a time when your inexperience would
offer you some protection when acting on bad
advice from a senior police officer.  Senior police
officers were rightly held accountable for the actions
of junior police officers under their immediate
supervision and control.  It's not like that anymore;
you'll be held fully accountable for your actions
when you follow bad direction, and things turn out
Copyright © 2019  Barry M. Baker