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William Harvey

William Harvey

William "Bill" Harvey is currently serving as chief of police in south central Pennsylvania. He retired from the Savannah (Ga.) Police Department where he worked assignments in training, patrol, and CID. Harvey has more than 25 years of experience working with recruits, rookies, and FTOs.

Take Time Off To Recharge Your Battery

Don't go overboard with training and extra shifts.

March 19, 2012  |  by William Harvey - Also by this author

CC_Flickr: JorgeMiente
CC_Flickr: JorgeMiente

OK, so you've made it through the academy and the Field Training Officer (FTO) program. Now, you're trying to survive the first year's probation. You're the hardest working cop on the shift in the precinct, and you're determined to make your mark on the department. Whoa! Let's talk about the long-term effects on you, if this pace continues.

I've seen far too many young men and women get themselves so wrapped around the axle with work during the first year that it damages their lives. Too many overtime shifts and off-duty gigs take away from the body's ability to recuperate. If you're one of those who must work out every day, stop and consult a personal trainer. They'll tell you that the body needs rest. Over-training can be just as dangerous as under-training. Rest is a good thing, and vegging-out on your day off is good every now and then.

I wish I had a dollar for every personal relationship and marriage broken up by this overindulgence in the new job. Take time to invest in yourself and others who support you, this will pay off. The department has survived many years without you, and it can make it every now and then without you. Spend some time with your family, friends, and yourself.

If you viewed your life like you were driving a car, stop and look at the idiot gauges and warning lights. While it's a thrill to hurl yourself into your new vocation and dream job at 80 mph, don't be caught for speeding by your family and friends. Slow up and pull over to pick them up for a ride in life.

Watch your fuel tank, and check the fuel you're using. Proper nutrition, hydration, and proper (legal) supplements will keep the octane levels up. Watch your battery gauge. You must keep it recharged. Get proper rest and proper recuperation. Take a few days off and recharge that battery. Do what's important to you to get yourself back into good sorts. I don't know your hobbies or interests, so if you need to go fishing, camping, or drive off for a few days mini-vacation, then do it!

To keep yourself at your peak performance levels, check your personal performance gauges on the dashboard. If you get a warning light, pull over and check yourself. Your survival in today's world in and off the job starts with you. My job is to encourage you to keep on a proper and safe pace through your career.

For those who don't heed the warnings, like myself, the American poet Edna St. Vincent Millay has one of the best quotes for workaholics. "My candle burns at both ends; it will not last the night; but ah, my foes, and oh, my friends—it gives a lovely light!" Slow up, recharge, and don't burn out. We in law enforcement need you. After all, you are our future.

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