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Thread: Can you cry in this field?

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    Can you cry in this field?

    My question is is it possible (easy or hard) to be emotionally sensitive and still make a valuable and rewarding career in law enforcement, this includes desk jobs and active patrolling etc. I am interested In this field but not only being the minority gender but also emotional as well, it sounds like an uphill battle?any experiences you can give advice welcome

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    Verified LEO eljefe241's Avatar
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    You seem to imply cops have no feelings. And I do, as I can prove by being offended at the remark about being a "minority gender." Women aren't a demographic minority and the lower numbers per capita in police work is more about the fewer qualified applicants (operative word: 'applicant'; you can't get hired if you don't apply) than some sociological bulls%%t from some college professor,

    I'm not clear on what your term "emotionally sensitive" means to you ... If you mean can you cry over every little thing, when you're hurt, when others are hurt, when you break a nail, when your locker won't open or your car battery is dead or ???

    Do you mean can you mean can you (we) cry when we lose a brother or sister officer to violence or after we've had to remove a dead family from a car crash or after seeing a parent abuse their child?

    No, being weepy at every event or whining about your lot in life or becoming 'emotional' at a crime scene, during an interview or while rolling Code 3 to a robbery isn't acceptable. You suck it up and git 'er done.

    In this job, you'll be insulted, teased, abused, hit, spat upon and called nasty names ... and that's just by the staff; the public's even worse.

    I once had some folks file a complaint against me with the sheriff. They were angry that I acted "distant and icy" while handling they felt was a very intense situation. They felt I should have been more like everyone else, who were weeping, praying and, in some cases, demanding vengeance. The sheriff explained he'd have fired me if I acted like that; my job is to remain calm, analytical and professional. Afterwards, you can cry but not in public.
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    Skill and cunning is always better than luck ... Luck always seems to be against the man who depends on it.

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    A crying Cop?

    Quote Originally Posted by eljefe241 View Post
    You seem to imply cops have no feelings. And I do, as I can prove by being offended at the remark about being a "minority gender." Women aren't a demographic minority and the lower numbers per capita in police work is more about the fewer qualified applicants (operative word: 'applicant'; you can't get hired if you don't apply) than some sociological bulls%%t from some college professor,

    I'm not clear on what your term "emotionally sensitive" means to you ... If you mean can you cry over every little thing, when you're hurt, when others are hurt, when you break a nail, when your locker won't open or your car battery is dead or ???

    Do you mean can you mean can you (we) cry when we lose a brother or sister officer to violence or after we've had to remove a dead family from a car crash or after seeing a parent abuse their child?

    No, being weepy at every event or whining about your lot in life or becoming 'emotional' at a crime scene, during an interview or while rolling Code 3 to a robbery isn't acceptable. You suck it up and git 'er done.

    In this job, you'll be insulted, teased, abused, hit, spat upon and called nasty names ... and that's just by the staff; the public's even worse.

    I once had some folks file a complaint against me with the sheriff. They were angry that I acted "distant and icy" while handling they felt was a very intense situation. They felt I should have been more like everyone else, who were weeping, praying and, in some cases, demanding vengeance. The sheriff explained he'd have fired me if I acted like that; my job is to remain calm, analytical and professional. Afterwards, you can cry but not in public.
    I will clarify on the emotional sensitivity and cop stigma. I have read up on how to become part of law enforcement and what it entails emotionally and physically. The general consensus is that a cop has to don a like you said, "a calm facade" when you get ready for the day. Within this society, and specifically within "tougher" professions, crying and emotional sensitivity is not appreciated and looked down upon. I only mention the gender thing, because although women are intergrated in the field, it is a man dominated profession and as of such, a woman has to prove themselves over and over while a guy only has to prove himself once in order to be accepted by other men.

    Emotionally sensitive, I am not refering to death or abuse, those are "normal" things to cry about. I am hypersensitive, this entails....


    You are deeply affected by all aspects of your life. As a Sensitive Soul, you have great emotional passion, intensity, and depth. You may have been told that your emotions are

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    are “too much.” You are sensitive, caring, and easily affected by the energy and emotions of others. These qualities make it easy to lose touch with your needs and desires.
    You have heightened perceptive skills. A Sensitive Soul is intuitive, highly aware, and keenly observant of the subtleties of your environment, including energy, light, noise, smell, texture, and temperature.

    so is it possible to cry a lot and be emotional on the job (not in crisis situations) but about menial things and still enjoy and gain respect in the job?

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    continue....

    are

  6. #6
    Verified LEO eljefe241's Avatar
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    Because this is kind of all over the place, I'm not sure where to begin a reply. You've got 'tough' professions, 'male dominance', women having to prove themselves over and over, "Sensitive Soul" (wtf; with Caps?) ... where are you getting this stuff?

    Sensitive Soul? I'm having flashbacks to the insurance commercial where Lee Ermey plays a therapist and the weepy client is saying "The color yellow makes me sad ..." Ermey hits him with the tissue box and calls him a "jack-wagon"

    Young lady, there's lots of professions that require 'tough' (at least as I interpret your meaning regarding emotions), to include ER and surgical physicians, EMT, airline and military pilots, firefighters, soldiers and Marines, truck drivers, and many others, Here's a flash: women are working in every one of those fields and doing quite well. Equating gender to 'Sensitive Soul' Syndrome is, in my opinion, condescending to women.

    As to 'dominance', as I noted, women can't get the jobs or prove themselves unless and until they apply, test, pass the training and demonstrate competence in the field(s).

    Trust me when I say that everyone - male, female and other - have to 'prove themselves' daily. It's never "Bob/Bobbette did real good today, so we never have to critique him/her ever again." All this feminist 'we have to work twice as hard to be thought of as half as good' stuff is mid-1970's; you don't have to burn your bra, grow hair in masculine areas, bench press 200 pounds or clear out a bar full of bikers alone. Most of us have moved on.

    Do women 'do the job' the same as males? No, but most - the ones who applied themselves - have compensated with different skill sets. As males, we didn't/don't always 'do it right' either ... I've worked with some fine cops, males and females, and a few losers of both genders.

    I might note that a good street cop or investigator - and most of those professions I listed above - have all or most of the characteristics you attribute to so-called Sensitive Souls; that's what makes them reactive and effective.

    To answer your final question: No, you can't cry a lot and be emotional - over anything - and be respected. I would suggest that there's very few jobs out there that will ... think about it: who would want to be around someone who cried and became emotional all the time? It's annoying to even consider.

    Candidly, this isn't even a profession - nor, I believe are those others - for you to consider as a career move.
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    Skill and cunning is always better than luck ... Luck always seems to be against the man who depends on it.

    Never try to fight an Old Dude. If you win, there's no glory; if you lose, your reputation is shot.

    "I make my practices real hard because if a player is a quitter I want him to quit in practice, not in a game." - Coach Bear Bryant / Alabama

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    Verified LEO Spike126's Avatar
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    I echo El jefe's comments. I supervised and worked with some of the best ass-kicking female officers that walk this earth. Were they "emotional?" NO...like the men they learned how to separate and compartmentalize when handling sensitive, ghastly, or dangerous situations. Those women, and not a few men either, who could not do this weeded themselves out and rather quickly at that. This job is NOT for everyone...that's why LEO's only comprise about 2%-3% of the total population. And you had better be thick skinned and have the ability to give as good as you get because 'ball busting' between cops, male and female, is the norm. Our female officers could more than hold their own verbally when it came to ball busting amongst their peers at line-ups or social events. It's a part of the camaraderie that civilians will never understand about us.

    If you cannot handle things such as that or learn how to separate out mentally then this job is not for you. For the record did I ever cry? Privately, when one of our rookies took one to the head, and went "End of Watch." In Public? Stoic and stone faced. One of the saddest days of my career...kid did not even make it a year out of the academy. But every last one of us in the department had to get past it and carry on. We will never forget him but we also won't let his death affect us negatively when it comes to doing our job.
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    Cuff 'em N Stuff 'em

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    Quote Originally Posted by eljefe241 View Post
    Because this is kind of all over the place, I'm not sure where to begin a reply. You've got 'tough' professions, 'male dominance', women having to prove themselves over and over, "Sensitive Soul" (wtf; with Caps?) ... where are you getting this stuff?

    To answer your final question: No, you can't cry a lot and be emotional - over anything - and be respected. I would suggest that there's very few jobs out there that will ... think about it: who would want to be around someone who cried and became emotional all the time? It's annoying to even consider.

    Candidly, this isn't even a profession - nor, I believe are those others - for you to consider as a career move.
    Here is my thesis, I am not weak mentally or emotionally, but I am just naturally emotional in that I take everything too seriously.I just wanted to know if feeling deeply and openly is going to effect anything. I need to clarify on the emotional thing. I don't cry over everything, I am excellent at thinking logically and calmly in emergency and high risk situations, but its afterwards that I would cry. It has been engrained in me (ie:culture, friends, family) that too much emotion is bad, which is what you are implying right now no? isn't it ok to have lots of emotions as long as you can somewhat control them?

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    feeling deeper than others and openly

    Quote Originally Posted by eljefe241 View Post
    Because this is kind of all over the place, I'm not sure where to begin a reply. You've got 'tough' professions, 'male dominance', women having to prove themselves over and over, "Sensitive Soul" (wtf; with Caps?) ... where are you getting this stuff?

    To answer your final question: No, you can't cry a lot and be emotional - over anything - and be respected. I would suggest that there's very few jobs out there that will ... think about it: who would want to be around someone who cried and became emotional all the time? It's annoying to even consider.

    Candidly, this isn't even a profession - nor, I believe are those others - for you to consider as a career move.
    Here is my thesis, I feel deeper than everyone and to the general you all, it comes across that I cry for no reason but it's because everything speaks to me emotionally louder and for example I may cry over cupcakes at a meeting because they remind me of a case I handled where an abusive parent hit their kid because she wanted to make cupcakes...do you understand wht I'm trying to say now? .I just wanted to know if feeling deeply and openly is going to effect anything. I need to clarify on the emotional thing. I don't cry over everything, I am excellent at thinking logically and calmly in emergency and high risk situations, but its afterwards that I would cry. It has been engrained in me (ie:culture, friends, family) that too much emotion is bad, which is what you are implying right now no? isn't it ok to have lots of emotions as long as you can somewhat control them?
    Last edited by horsemagster; 04-12-2014 at 11:22 PM.

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    Verified LEO eljefe241's Avatar
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    We all feel over things; we're not immune to emotions. Many cops have been in military combat and/or street situations. We've pulled people from auto wrecks, seen children abused, animals tortured and neglected, people killed in many violent ways. Some here have taken lives of people and animals ... Some need counseling and some don't. Some internalize the horror and others crack or have health problems.

    You don't have to justify, defend or rationalize who you are nor why. The world needs kind, caring, emotional souls. It also needs some stone-cold hard-asz sheepdogs to protect the flock.

    A person can feel deeply but the 'openly' part is not going to assure your coworkers of your emotional stability. It's not If you cry but when and why you cry. If you're a softy, they won't want you as a partner.

    So, let's cut to the chase: You want to be a cop or something similar (we've posted volumes on the 'similar', look it up). Have you reconciled that you may have to use force, even deadly force, on another person? Can you "feel deeply and openly" about pointing a gun at another human being, pulling the trigger, and having blood and tissue splatter your face and uniform? To see the expression in the person's face as their life leaves them? Can you go into an active shooter scene at a school or business, knowing you'll probably have to shoot or be shot?

    Can you draw a baton and swing hard and deep into the flesh of an assailant, knowing bones will break and they may be crippled? Can you take a punch to the face, feel your nose break, shake it off, and fight for your life; gouging eyes, throwing kicks and punches and biting?

    Can you lift the lifeless body of a small child from a car crash and still remain stoic? Can you go into a dark warehouse, searching for a hidden thief, and be prepared to shoot, fight or resist without becoming 'deeply and openly' emotional?

    This isn't a universe of college thesis, theoretical hypothesis, Nerf-World, warm & fuzzy, or group hugs and roundtable sharing time. Our world is, by turns, gratifying, boring, violent, humorous and humane. It can be a roller-coaster of emotions, all jammed into a single shift. It's not for everyone and, as pointed out, likely not for you. There's no shame to that, just harsh reality. Find something that gives you joy but doesn't have the downside stigma attached. If not, you'll get hurt or get someone - usually a partner - hurt or killed.
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    Skill and cunning is always better than luck ... Luck always seems to be against the man who depends on it.

    Never try to fight an Old Dude. If you win, there's no glory; if you lose, your reputation is shot.

    "I make my practices real hard because if a player is a quitter I want him to quit in practice, not in a game." - Coach Bear Bryant / Alabama

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    We'll that just blows... I will definitly have to reconsider my future then. Hmmm

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    Verified LEO greggzee's Avatar
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    horsemagster, I can only echo what others have said. I don't know what you can do with this 'emotional' stuff you carry, but LE is not for you.
    I have seen women AND MEN either washout or wash themselves out because it was just too much. I can almost assure you that you will be disappointed.
    Good Luck though.....A Sheepdog is not easy to be.
    Last edited by greggzee; 04-13-2014 at 08:32 AM. Reason: misspelling

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    Verified LEO dago3420's Avatar
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    I can't think of much to add to what the others have already said except I agree with them. This is not a profession for the faint of heart or the overly emotional and it is not because we don't have feelings. We see things on a daily basis that most people could never comprehend and if we let every instance of cruelty or tragedy effect us in the way you describe, we would not be able to make it. To do this job you must be able to compartmentalize the things you see because if you don't, you will end up as a statistic. Now that's not to say that we don't ever cry, but we must choose the time and place where we let our emotions show.

    Do yourself a favor and find another line of work.
    Last edited by dago3420; 04-13-2014 at 06:27 PM.
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    Verified LEO hawkspirit's Avatar
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    Well, I have a different take on this. I retired after 21 yrs. in LE. I am female. I well up very time I hear the Nat'l. Anthem. I used to cry at AT&T commercials. In fact, I've always kidded that I could hire out as a professional crier for weddings and funerals. And like the others, I've seen some pretty horrific things.
    Now, a little history. My first night alone I got in a high speed chase, a crash, and it took 11 officers from 5 agencies to catch the guy. "The boys" found out that night I would dive in, bite down like a pit bull and not let go. That got me a base of respect.
    Later, I went to a crash where a horse had been hit, but not killed. The guys were just going to shoot it in the head, but I stood my ground for a vet. (Probably a good thing since it turned out to be a $10,000 horse in 1986.) Everything had been handled and I ended up kneeling in the rain, holding the horses head, and crying as the vet put the horse down. Yes, crying. Just tears, no noise. Career ender? Nope. At my retirement party one of the guys with me that night, (now a Major), told the story, adding that as he left the scene, he thot, "well, I guess things are really changing in law enforcement, but maybe that's a good thing.
    I disagree that you have to keep proving yourself. You set the tone of who you are, solid backup, not lagging behind when going to a call, handling yourself and others well, listening to the radio and heading someone's way if it sounds like they've got something dicey. You prove yourself by being yourself, if you are the real deal. The women I saw fail, talked the talk, never walked the walk. A cop from another agency had dealt with one of those females, and others in his PD. He didn't think women should be in LE, and told me once, in no uncertain terms. Then he got in a high speed chase coming my way and I jumped out and ran a moving road block, got the vehicle stopped, bad guy in custody. Lots of cops around, so I just left. He called one of my guys and wanted to know my name, etc. he wrote a letter to my Captain, telling him what an amazing job I did. He and I became close friends for 18 years. He still didn't like most of the others, but he knew I was golden.
    I don't mean to blow my own horn, but I became a highly respected instructor of police subjects at 3 different colleges. When the younger guys had something they were unsure of, they called, me to help. I felt a little like a mother hen taking care of her brood. I partnered with one of the most savvy cops I've ever known. Still best friends. The clerk where we got our uniforms cleaned asked me about him once. I told her he was the best backup I could ask for. She smiled and said, "that's funny, that's what he said about you." Another guy told my Sgt. he'd rather have me for backup than anybody. That was all the evaluation I ever needed.
    So, now that you're really confused... The others are right. Law enforcement isn't for everyone. Actually, it is for very few. I was lucky. That first night, I couldn't believe they paid me to have that much fun. I felt that way all the way to retirement. I didn't cry at a lot of things, but I didn't have to fight it. Much of it became just part of the job. I did cry in private sometimes. If you've been thinking about LE for a long time, you've got guts, I'd say give it a try. The emotions don't necessarily become a problem. Just remember you're a cop, then a female. We don't do the job the same way as the guys, and the gals I saw run into trouble usually tried to. A guy wouldn't ask a guy to 'please' let me put the cuffs on. I only did it once but what did I care, I got the cuffs on the guy, then he went nuts. Oh, also don't go I thinking the guys should change how they are because you're there. Don't report harassment, grade it.

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    Verified LEO Spike126's Avatar
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    Hawkspirit...well said.
    Cuff 'em N Stuff 'em

 

 
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