Being A Cop

Being a cop is rewarding, but it isn't easy. Most people who get hired onto this job are aware of the duties of a Police Officer.

There's a major difference between wanting to be, and actually being a Police Officer.

Once you cross that threshold and are sworn in, the responsibilities, and the weight of those responsibilities, are real. Not only will you have the stress of the job, but your family life will change. You'll now be tied to the work scheduling.

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If you're married, that'll put pressure on your marriage because you'll have to try and fit family responsibilities around that.

Even when you're on your days off, you might be required to attend court.

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Remember, being a cop will affect those close to you as well.

Not only is the schedule a concern, but also the shiftwork that comes with it. Shiftwork causes problems with your circadian rythmn (body clock).

It`s unnatural for a person to be awake during the night. Human bodies are meant to be awake during daylight hours, and be at rest (sleeping) at night.

This is the time when our bodies recharge. It is estimated that 03:00 hours (3 AM - police departments use the 24 hour clock) is the time when our core body temperatures are the lowest. This causes our bodies to want to shut down and rest, and thus, we feel fatigued and sleepy.

But, being a cop, you must stay awake and alert, because this becomes the time you are the most vulnerable.

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights between 19:00 hours to 04:00 hours can be especially dangerous for officers. People who have been out drinking all night are forced out of the bars and problems can arise. Shooting, stabbings, rapes, etc etc are not uncommon at these hours.

Dealing with these calls and fighting your own fatigue can be difficult, but it is part of being a cop.

The reality is, switching from dayshift to graveyards is unhealthy. Studies show that on average, someone who works shifts for the majority of their employment, Police or not, cut their lifespan by 10 years.

I've personally found that I'm always tired to some degree. On some days, I'm actually completely fatigued and don't want to even get out of bed, let alone head in for work.

Depending on which Police Department you're with, and what their work schedule is like, you may find that the days off are just enough to recharge your body and feel "good" again, before you have to head back in for another block of shifts.

You can try using melatonin, which many shift workers use. It can be bought at any health food store or drug mart. Melatonin is actually a naturally occurring hormone in your body. The pineal gland in your brain releases melatonin and it helps to maintain your circadian rhythm and get a good deep sleep.

Unfortunately, as you get older, your pineal gland releases less and less of it, and you don't get as good a sleep. (Hence elderly people seem to wake up really early in the morning but babies seem to sleep like crazy). Taking the melatonin supplement can help boost the level in your body and help you sleep just a little bit better.

I try only to use it sometimes because I don't want to get dependent on the stuff. Some studies say that it's not habit forming, but I've talked to some nurses when I've had to go to hospital related Police calls, and some say that they've read studies saying that it can be habit forming.

So I just try to use it sometimes when I need to really get that deep sleep.

Being a Police officer also means that you are now a member of one of the professions with one of the highest divorce rates. Typically, divorce rates within Police departments are about 80%.

Part of it could be from work schedule, to personality change, to being tempted by badge bunnies/cop groupies The friends that you hang out with may also treat you differently. Those who used to be close to you may "suddenly" not be around as much.

They may look at you with distrust or suspicion.(If they act like that, should you really be wasting your time with them? Won't real friends support you in your dreams, not ostracize you?)

You may have to cut ties with certain acquaintances that you had before you got hired. You'll have to choose carefully who you socialize with.

Being a cop means that you have to decide who those are.

Please understand, the intention here is not to give a negative or pessimistic outlook when it comes to being a cop.

Yes, there are some negative aspects to this job, and there are many sacrifices that you make when being a Police Officer.

So, you may be asking, : why become a police officer ? Well, there are some positives and benefits to this career as well.

The opportunity to help others is extremely rewarding. It's an incredible feeling when someone has been victimized by some jerk, and you are able to catch the suspect and bring him in.

Although it's impossible to see the future, every time you bring in a robbery suspect, rapist, murderer, drug dealer, etc etc, you can be confident that you may have just saved some potential victim from a shitload of misery.

That's one of the greatest rewards of being a cop. To know that you've done something that may have potentially saved someone, even though you may never know his/her name.

The job itself if unique because it can be exciting , and every day is different than the last. There is also a certain amount of job security which vastly exceeds the private sector. There's also a Police brotherhood/camaraderie which exists among officers. It's extremely strong, and not only extends from those you work with, but also to officers from other departments, and even other countries.

It's evident if you've ever been to a Police Funeral for an Officer who has been killed in the line of duty. Or if you have ever been to a Police memorial.

Whether you attend an American Police Memorial, or Canadian Police Memorial, it's common to see Police Departments from both sides represented. Sometimes you even see Departments from overseas.

It's an incredible show of support and brotherhood, and it feels great being a cop knowing that you will all support one another.

There are also several Police and Fire Games (Yes, the "bucketheads" - firefighters participate in these too lol) with the World Police and Fire Games obviously being the big one.

The last Worlds took place in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada in summer of 2009.

These games are to build camaraderie between emergency services personnel, and includes several sporting competitions. It`s all in the name of friendly competition and brotherhood.

What would be the best and the worst ?

What do you think would be the best or the worst thing about being a cop? The job stability? The shift work? The excitement?

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The big Bosses who are mostly politicians.

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The best is making 25 years and being able to draw an o.k. pension the rest of your life. Probably the worst is having to take some else's life. That …

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I think the best thing would be to be outside instead of in a dingy office working a boring 9-5 job like I am, where everything is completely the same. …

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