- 1. Receive a broad, liberal arts education leading to a minimum of a bachelor’s degree.
- 2. Start (if you haven’t already) obeying the law and being an honest, moral, and trustworthy person.
- Work on your personal maturity. An education develops your knowledge and intelligence; now work on and develop your emotional and relational competencies and the ability to work with all kinds of people.
- Learn how to serve others. Be active in community volunteer work. Develop a curriculum of service as well as job experience.
- Be committed to lifelong personal and professional improvement. Be able to know who you are and where you are going.
- An added benefit would be to achieve competency in one of the traditional Asian martial arts – karate, taekwondo, judo, etc. so that you are familiar with physical interaction.
- Remember, police work is a calling, not just a job. It is a calling which is committed to assuring that our Constitution protects everyone and our way of life is worth preserving.
- And, lest I forget — read my BOOK about the qualities police need to hold in a free society!
From my “Arrested Development: A Veteran Police Chief Sounds Off…”:
I don’t recommend that we lower our expectations of police, but rather that we raise them. We should expect first class behavior from police officers because they ultimately represent who we are as a people and as a society. At a minimum, we should expect police to accurately identify and apprehend criminals with a minimal amount of physical force. They should be able to write full and truthful reports of their activities, and give honest testimony in court. We also should expect them to possess skills that help in the prevention of crime, to be able to aid individuals who are in danger of harm, and to assist people who cannot care for themselves. We should further expect police to know the laws they are to enforce, protect our civil rights, and also to be able to do a number of other tasks such as directing and controlling traffic, resolving inter-personal conflicts, identifying community problems, and preserving order. But overall, we should expect our police officers to be educated, honest, competent, and courteous—respectful in every way to everyone they encounter. They should do so because police are often the most visible representatives of our system of government—of America itself.
These skill sets and functions are so complex and difficult to perform in today’s society that only those who are academically prepared, intensely trained, and properly directed should be given such responsibilities.
In turn, citizens should demand that only the kind of people I outlined above are hired as police officers and are given both the necessary training and leadership to meet community expectations. We should also make sure that police officers have the kind of internal leadership that treats them with respect, listens to them, helps them grow professionally, and permits them to participate in workplace decisions. These are the qualities that will get police moving forward and out of the ruts they continue to be stuck in—subculture, corruption, and low expectations.
What advice would YOU give to an aspiring police officer?