So the first question you are probably asking is: "Who the hell is this guy Randy Sutton and why should I care anything at all about what he has to say?"
That is a valid question. By way of introducing this new blog to PoliceMag.com, allow me to explain who I am and what this blog is all about.
I was honored when the staff of Police Magazine reached out to me and asked if I would be part of their writing team. Police Magazine has been dedicated to informing American law enforcement officers for nearly four decades, and it is a role the staff takes seriously.
They should, because those who serve behind a badge are special people. I understand that fact because I served as a Princeton, N.J., police officer and detective for 10 years before joining the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department where I served for more than 23 years before retiring. In my law enforcement career, I witnessed bravery, commitment, courage, and sacrifice in the most dramatic of ways.
By way of background, I served most of my career on the street as a patrol cop and also as a sergeant and lieutenant. Yes, I spent time working narcotics and investigative assignments, but my heart was always in patrol. I’ve also been a police trainer for more than 15 years and traveled the country talking about "Policing with Honor," how to survive your law enforcement career ethically as well as physically and emotionally.
Anyone who has spent time working the street knows that the danger to cops' careers comes in many forms and while we have brought the number of police officers killed in the line of duty down to an annual figure in the 120s, we are losing thousands to termination and even worse, suicide. These are difficult statistics to hear but they are reality…our reality.
How do we face these challenges and the ever-changing environment that is confronting American law enforcement? How do we survive our careers with our mental, physical, and emotional health intact so we can enjoy our family, friends, and loved ones into retirement and if we choose, post retirement careers? That is the challenge facing each and every man or woman who chooses to pick up the badge or shield and protect their communities.
This is not a “fluff” blog, where I will fill your minds with words you want to hear with stories that will always portray law enforcement in in a positive light. Because even though the vast majority of those who serve do so with honor and commitment, we have to gauge reality and always strive to improve ourselves and our profession. This can only be done with exposure to the hard truths that challenge us, personally, professionally, and unfortunately politically.
I have always believed politics should play no role when it comes to law enforcement, that the profession should be above politics and only rely on “the right thing to do.” I know that many of you share that belief but that you, like I, have borne witness to the political realities, which are the cause for so much disillusionment among those who serve. We only have to watch the news to see how this has played out in Ferguson, Baltimore, New York, the Texas community of McKinney, and other areas of the nation. One of the most discouraging things I hear from law enforcement officers throughout the country is they are more afraid of their own chiefs, sheriffs, and administrations than they are of the dangers of the streets. They are afraid of being pawns or sacrificial lambs to appease those whose political, social, racial, or personal agendas have the political clout to destroy their careers. This is the great injustice of law enforcement and this is the reason I have committed myself to this blog.
I believe the men and women who prepare themselves morally, spiritually, and educationally to serve their communities; who survive the rigors of the hiring process; and who take that solemn oath when they pin badges on their uniform are some of the most honorable people in our country. I believe it is my duty to provide information, guidance, resources, and a point of view that might inspire and inform those I respect most. Those who serve.