By Craig Casaletto
Back in July of 2002, I had the opportunity to embark on a crazy ride called law enforcement.In the beginning, something about helping others and carrying a gun seemed kinda cool. What I didn’t know at the time was that the ride I was getting on was fucked up. A ride where you see and experience things that most people don’t (and shouldn’t… btw).Oh and just like a roller coaster, there are a ton of ups and downs and even the upside down whirly shit that makes you want to vomit.
There was a funny saying that went around work, one that you would hear on occasion and was in direct relation to the stupid, funny and unexplainable things that occur in the process of you doing your job. “You just can’t make this shit up”…it was true you couldn’t and just when you thought you’ve seen it all, you saw something else you couldn’t believe. I probably could write enough stories and fill enough magazines that would rival my cousin Johnny’s Playboy collection(which, by the way, was extensive and kept in month and year order.. he never missed a month).
In my fifteen years of being a police officer, I had had the privilege of working with some great, funny, intelligent and fucked up assholes.Like a big family, we all had our own quirks and we often cherished the opportunity to tell you about it ..very very often! We often joked about shit that most people wouldn’t find funny, but maybe that was just the way we handled all of the crap we dealt with on a daily basis.
Oh and big news flash here..a lot of the issues that most law enforcement officers have are not related to the public, calls for service or the people you arrest, but rather the organizational nonsense that exists. Public or private sector it doesn’t matter, it’s there.The only difference is that most individuals that choose a career in law enforcement do it for life. It’s sort of like marriage, but there is nothing romantic about it and the unfortunate reality is that on occasion, “until death do we part” applies to both.
Most law enforcement careers, last 2o to 30 years before you can retire and collect your golden egg, also known as your pension. Most people who have been doing the job for sometime have experienced some level of the internal crap that exists. Usually at some point, they want to get out of the career, but can’t because they have too much service time vested and can’t afford to leave or make a change.This comes at a significant price, often in regards to one’s health, both mental and physical.
I have seen some really good people walk through their careers pissed off and trapped, while the people who have the power to facilitate change, don’t.
It’s an interesting cycle, the people who are now leading were once following. The same people that were once pissed are now the one’s pissing people off. It’s kinda funny and sad how this whole thing works.
Towards the end of my ride, I contemplated taking some life changing risk, doing what most people in the profession don’t and leaving a lot on the table in the process. After experiencing a lot of everything, both internal and external, I decided to walk away from law enforcement. Not the quitting type of walking away, but the walking towards something better type of walking away.
During my time as a Patrol Officer, Field Training Officer, Detective and Sergeant, I learned a lot of things.Some of the most memorable, were from the people I served.It is through their lives, that I learned to appreciate mine.I also developed the courage (also with the help of others) to take a risk that I never would have taken. As a result of my new beginning and the desire to still serve, The White Tiger Podcast was born(*podcast meaning coming later*).
No matter who you are, you deal with shit. Rich or poor, big or small, hot or mildly attractive, you deal with it. Often positive real world answers are hard to find and god forbid you search the internet for clues. You will be reminded that your just signed your death warrant by choosing not to get your flu shot !
In closing, I leave you with something positive to chew on as I embark on this new ride called the White Tiger Podcast. Poet & philosopher, Ralph Waldo Emerson said..
“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us”
I kept this quote on my desk at work for the last fifteen years and looked at it everyday. It was a reminder that no matter what you see, what you deal with or the challenges you face, it’s what inside of you that makes the difference.
It’s this internal stuff that can either be your greatest ally or worst enemy.
Trust me…make it your ally.