Another year has just about passed us by, doesn’t seem possible does it? We have finished all of our scheduled in-service classes. We have coached hundreds of deputies who fired thousands of rounds from handgun, shotgun and carbine alike. We’ve done PAT’s, PMP’s, PIT’s, CPR, Tap Rack Readies, reviewed DOR’s, PM’d weapons, remembered to not say “LCD” and done anything else that has an acronym or is mandated by the state.
We have been rained on and sunburned, totaled a training car, been kicked, punched and smacked with training batons, chased by lightning and twice got pretty cold. On a couple occasions we had no students, and probably should have taken those days off. We have juggled schedules, been to SWAT, Negotiator and Honor Guard training, taught at the police academy, argued about lesson plans and training objectives, laughed ourselves silly, been angry and one of us was concerned enough to write a book. Through all of this, sometimes despite ourselves, we are still here, still moving forward with our mission and challenging last year’s standard.
Unfortunately we have also been to two funerals this year where we bid farewell to three of our brothers who died violent deaths. Florida is number one again. Now Officer Arnulfo Crispin has been killed. A twenty-five year old who was doing his job, alone and in the dark in a place most of wouldn’t want to be.
We know that we can never make this job completely safe. If it was safe none of us would have joined up. However, we can step up our training as much as they let us. We can make our training as realistic as possible and demand more from our people. We can actively seek out training scars and crush them. And when we are done we can line it up and do it again. Our people and their families are counting on us.
We are preparing our brothers and sisters to win and get everything possible out of their pensions. We do our best to convince them to imagine the unimaginable and prepare for it. I submit to you that our position is a privilege and not a burden. We are teaching life saving skills and your job is an important one. In my eyes God has sub-contracted you to do his work and you are the best there is, in case no one has reminded you lately.
I wish all of you a Merry Christmas and as we go home to our waiting families I leave you with this thought. Let no man’s ghost say his training was inadequate.
Deputy Shawn Pappas
Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office