My sister has a master's degree and is
a teacher. She teaches children with learning disabilities. Her
outlook on life is quite opposite of mine.
She leaves her purse unattended in a
shopping cart and is completely shocked when it comes up missing.
She can't believe that there are people in this world that would do
such a thing. She looks at everyone as if all people are completely
trustworthy unless they have given her a reason not to trust them.
Once she left her garage door partially opened and again was shocked
when items came up missing. "Who would do such a thing?" She will go
to a major city and walk around admiring the beauty, totally
oblivious to her potentially dangerous surroundings.
I won't even leave my vehicle
unlocked while entering a gas station. I sit in restaurants with my
back to a wall so that I have a clear view of the entire room,
especially the entry doors. I am very aware of everyone I see and am
very conscious of any suspicious activity, even when I am not
working. I notice things like customers entering and exiting
businesses such as banks. If you see a number of people entering a
bank and nobody exiting, you may want to wait, if you know what I
mean. I drive by convenience stores and notice clerks standing
behind the cash register and look at the customer on the other side
of the counter to see that everything appears all right. When I go
to a city, I am constantly looking over my shoulder to see if
someone is following or acting suspicious. I then look at my sister
and think, "Why don't you lock your doors?"
I am not as shocked as my sister
would be when I read headlines in newspapers. I have seen much worse
in most cases. I am, however, surprised to see someone involved in a
crime when it's someone I surely would not have suspected.
I have seen "good people do bad
things." We all have! Every time that our trust in someone is ruined
by what they have done, we seem to have a part of ourselves damaged.
We start asking ourselves questions like, "How could they?"; "How
could have I known?"; followed by, "Could I have prevented this from
[to top of second column
in this commentary]
I have seen "good people do bad
things." Whether it's a Catholic priest being charged with a crime
against a child. An ordained minister found guilty of buying,
receiving, selling stolen property. Well-known individuals found
guilty of embezzling from a business. A friend or family member
commits suicide, or a parochial school student who kills his
grandparents. My list goes on and on.
I believe that everyone in life has
a goal, and that's to be good at what they do. I have spoken to
factory workers who make the same part or item eight hours a day,
five days week, year after year. They find satisfaction knowing that
they can make those items fast and flawlessly. They may even compete
against other co-workers. A janitor takes pride in his or her clean
hallways and shiny floors.
I chose this career for the very
same reason. I thought I would be good at it, and I believe that I
am. I could not imagine doing anything else. Just as my sister takes
great pride in being an early childhood teacher, I, too, take great
pride in being an officer of the law. My outlook on life is quite
different than hers, but just the same, our goals are very similar:
to be good at what we do.
When I go to work and make an
arrest, I'm doing my job based on facts, witness statements and
physical evidence. It's not my job to hold grudges, to look down on
people or to show them disrespect. Most criminals do not expect to
get caught, and when they do, it causes a number of emotions, such
as fear, anger and disappointment. They are going through enough
without me rubbing it in their faces because... "I have seen a lot
of good people do bad things."