Over the past couple of weeks there have been a couple stories on officers who have been assaulted by juveniles – 14 and 15 in these cases. In one instance, the officer was stabbed numerous times. Disclaimer: I am not going to be discussing these specific incidents. I mentioned them to simply show there is threat potential. I am going to be referencing my experiences
I remember the feeling I would get when dispatch would give me a call and the word “juvenile” was anywhere in the dispatch. You know the feeling I’m talking about? The feeling of dread. Of paperwork that never seems to end. The unique issues that come with dealing with juveniles.
One thing that rarely – if ever – came to mind was that this person might try to do me physical harm. In fact, if I’m truthful (and I’m trying), is that I didn’t see them as people. I saw them as paperwork – lots of paperwork.
The problem is that paperwork never really hurts someone. It certainly never maims or kills someone. While there are many times that paperwork made me late going home, it never prevented me from ever going home.
Don’t get me wrong – I am not advocating for folks throwing juveniles around or abusing them. Not at all. I am just trying to point out that we still have to be prepared. We still have to recognize a potential threat. Too much focus on the dread of paperwork can cloud our readiness. While age does matter when it comes to paperwork, it shouldn’t have an impact on our readiness to defend ourselves and others.