29 September 2011
Teaching courage...part II
From the Cop and Solider side: Getting back on the topic of “how do you teach courage?” I looked back through some of my old US Army and civilian police training books and was unable to find any chapters on this topic. So, I guess it’s impossible to teach…..
Or, is it something picked up through good training?
You have to be a Hero to have an Army Camp named after you....
When I was in Bosnia (SFOR 14, 2003-04) I was talking to a former Serb Army commander…who was referred to as a hero. He was even in a book (damn it, I can’t recall his name to give you a link, but he impressed me---it was one of those “Sandwich” names.) When I asked him about being a hero, he just said a “hero is somebody who does something that MUST be done when nobody else is able or willing to do it.” As he explained further, a real hero doesn’t go look to be one…. It just happens.
Several years ago, in my cop job, I had my old boss have a “chat” we me about an officer the department had in the police academy. I’ll cal that officer “rookie #1”. That officer failed the first time going through the driving course. The chief put that officer through a second time (to this day I can only guess because that officer was a child of the chief’s friend.)
Because Rookie #1 failed on the driving course, Rookie #2, who was in a later class, was stressing out about the driving course. The chief told me to get Rookie #2 straightened out. So, you’d think I took rookie #2 out to drive…..nope, I just had a little talk. “Why are you afraid of a car? You drive one every day, and they are PAYING YOU TO DRIVE FAST AND HAVE FUN!”
Rookie #2 did fine…just a matter of taking the fear away. And that was easy. After Iraq, I’d look at every day in police work and say: “Hell, that was easy, nobody was shooting at us.”
I’ve seen a lot of cops and soldiers who were heroes and never got notice, and others who would do everything they could to avoid a fight. As it turned out, after rookie #1 above graduated from the academy, made it through the Field Training Program and was on their own, it was discovered that this new officer was very afraid. That department had just installed GPS real time trackers in all the patrol cars…so the dispatcher could see where the officers were…or the supervisor. It was discovered that rookie #1 was being sent to hot calls, but not going to them directly, but waiting until all the other cops showed up, then rolling in. In other words, rookie #1 was afraid. Not good for a cop (unless you want to be an administrator some office puke)
So, even though the chief did everything he could for rookie #1, it was bye bye… There’s a reason the police academy washes some people out. If you lower the standards, you get shit for cops.
Kermit did good...but had too many beers