I’m sure you’ve noticed, but it is the holidays. Snowmen, Santa Claus, Charlie Brown Christmas specials, right? Well, if you are in law enforcement the holidays can take on a different bend.
Got a mall in your beat? The holidays mean shoplifting, auto burglaries, and parking lot crashes.
One of the more worrisome things about the holidays is departments start getting short staffed at the same time the call volume goes up. Officers have families, and most of us like spending time with them. So that means using some earned vacation time to go see the kids’ Christmas pageant at school, or take the little ones shopping for your spouse.
A few of us even hit the road to go see family in other states. Sometimes in states so far away it seems like we are visiting another country.
So here’s the deal. If you are one of the guys stuck pushing a squad car around your beat while the rest of the shift is off drinking egg nog, watch your back. Shorter staffing means longer response time from backup. Your cover officer may be an extra two or three minutes away. For you rookies, that may not sound like a lot, but when you are holding a guy at gun point, or wrestling around with an EDP, two minutes can feel like an eternity.
Don’t rush into anything, and don’t take short cuts when it comes to officer safety. You may not be home on Christmas Eve because you are working, but you better not fail to go home because you got sloppy. It sucks not being there with the spouse and kids when Santa’s presents are discovered, but it sucks worse not ever going home.
Stay safe and Merry Christmas!