Ordinary Until Extraordinary

When New Agent Trainees (NATs) I instructed were beginning their FBI Academy training, I ostensibly viewed and treated them all as ordinary.  There were lawyers, doctors, school teachers, former military elite forces team members, rocket scientists, and just about any other impressive profession you can think of.  Some NATs had previous physical or tactical training while many others had never held a weapon or thrown a punch in their lives.  Yet, because of what would soon be expected of them, I needed each trainee to believe he or she was as ordinary as the trainee next to him or her.  Throughout their many months of training I would often remind them, “Gaining compliance with verbal commands is ALWAYS preferable.  Be as humble and respectful as possible, yet unmistakably prepared to use any level of force necessary.”

When law-enforcing individuals begin to believe and act like we are more than ordinary, we become liabilities to our teams.  However, when it comes to the law enforcement professional’s mental acuity and level of physical and tactical training, this is where we must undoubtedly be extraordinary.  We must consistently challenge ourselves to improve our physical abilities as well as our mental capacity to interact with others.  BOTH skill-sets require equal nourishment.  For whatever mental, physical or tactical goals you wish to achieve, you must integrate commensurate training skills into your daily routine as passionately as you plan breakfast, lunch or dinner.  Anything less may result in disappointment at the very moment you learn of your deficiency, and in law enforcement, that moment could be life-threatening.

A friend of mine in Arkansas arrested a young man one night who was sitting in a car, extremely intoxicated and soaked in his own urine.  When the young man became sick in the back seat of the officer’s cruiser, the officer quietly cleaned up the mess and wrapped a blanket around the young man to keep him warm.  The officer took the young man to the police station and got him cleaned up and fed before the officer ended his shift.  A few weeks later, the young man came back to the station looking for the officer.  The young man explained how, when the officer found him that night, he was returning from the funeral of a close family member, had become overwhelmed with feelings of hopelessness, and was searching for a way to kill himself.  He thanked the officer for the treatment he provided, and he credited the officer with saving his life.  That’s extraordinary.