Far from the Lights
One of the best, if not the best, boxers of all time was Muhammad Ali. He is credited with saying, “The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses – behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights.”
I was reflecting on those words as I traveled today in preparation for a couple of days of training. Officer safety is a passion for those who teach for Command Presence. We are committed – whole-heartedly and passionately – on doing what we can to enhance officer safety.
Many people in law enforcement believe that officer safety begins when their shift starts. They put on their vest, make sure their equipment is where it should be, and then prep their patrol car. Or perhaps they put on their vest, check their equipment, and then get a sitrep from the correctional officers they are relieving. And all of these things are important, necessary, and should be done every single day of work.
But true officer safety begins long before this. It begins on the range when officers practice and perfect their firearms skills. Or it begins in the mat room where hands on skills are honed. It even begins during first aid training when potentially lifesaving skills are repeated and rehearsed.
Muhammad Ali got it – but many of my brothers and sisters do not. Officer safety doesn’t magically appear when things are going sideways. Or at the beginning of your shift. It is established and built well before you get there. Make sure you build it properly.