Corrections officers should never take short cuts

Here are four simple tips to work hard and never take short cuts


The other day while talking to a police officer I know, we were discussing how we have reached the last third of our careers. We talked about how looking forward to retirement we are. He mentioned how much he has changed personally over the course of his career from the days when he was a rookie. 

As we talked, I could relate completely. I realized in that moment that we change over the course of the job. I realized in that moment it has been a subconscious change for me. We reminisced about “the good ol’ days” when law enforcement was different, people were different, times were different, and world events were different. While we miss those days, today is where we are at. 

I came into this job with the mentality of wanting to help people, of course. Don’t all of us who enter law enforcement want to help people? The superhero act is gone for me. I no longer need to save the day. 

Staying Focused
Instead, I focus today on delving into the safety and security of my fellow coworkers whether it be by writing detailed reports documenting intelligence, searching cells for contraband or alleviating problems. I focus on doing the best job I can every time I come to work.

He said now his focus every day is to not get shot and remain uninjured but he continued to say that he still works as hard as he ever did. He said things are definitely different these days though. He said things roll off his back that years ago would have bothered him. 

Things like when the district attorney dismisses charges or a suspect is released from jail too soon. His words resonated with me as I also know how frustrating it is to do a lot of work, write long complicated reports and not always see results, discipline, or justice pan out for criminals while on the streets, at the time of arrest or after lock up.

It’s just the game of life for us versus them. But we should never use the outcome to determine if we write a report or charge someone who breaks the law or jail rules. We need to produce regardless. 

He said something else that struck a chord with me. He said, “Never take shortcuts,” and he teaches this to his trainees. He said he teaches the right ways of doing things and the hard way. While things can be done successfully with short cuts, the long way is always better.

It is no secret that communication issues between shifts, understaffing, administrational stress, a negative work environment, emotional exhaustion, or shift work play a frustrating part in our occupation. Due to these things, we at times may feel frustrated, discouraged or plain tired. It is at times like these, we sometimes take shortcuts.

And we must not.

It is during these times that it is the most important to remain at the top of your game. Do not let anything or anyone change how you work.

Here are four simple tips to work hard and never take short cuts:

1. Fight off complacency each day you arrive to work. No matter how you feel or what you are dealing with, never be complacent. Complacency puts you and coworkers at risk of being harmed and will affect your work performance. Never sacrifice officer safety.
2. Listen to your gut. When the hairs on your neck stand up or something does not feel right or you sense tension, listen to your gut. Police officers and correctional officers have a trained instinct and are able to sense when something is out of the ordinary. Act upon this by following through handling whatever the situation is that has arisen. It is better to overreact in preparation and be wrong, than under react and fall short being prepared.
3. Always do your best. Even when you are mentally and physically exhausted or just not feeling it, continue to fight to always do and be your best. Take care of yourself the best you can.
4.  Drop the ego. Be safe. Call for backup. Very few things are imminent danger. Get sufficient cover to deal with things accordingly. This can lessen the risk of being assaulted or injured.

So remember, never take shortcuts. Regardless of what task you are completing or who you are dealing with, do your job completely every time and take pride in your work for yourself. Work your day as if it is your first day in training. Do not work for recognition or credit but instead to show the crooks what type of officer you choose to be. 

As Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.” 

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