Officer Safety

Sowing and Reaping


Michael Warren

February 3, 2022

February 3, 2022

“Son, be careful. You reap what you sow.” Man oh man, have I heard that a few times - from my mom, dad, coaches, teachers, etc. And they were right we do reap what we sow.

But it seems like it was always used in a negative sense. That if we do bad things, bad things will result. The truth is, however, that the opposite is true as well. If we do good things, good things tend to result.

When it comes to officer safety, we need to incredibly careful what we sow. Often times when we see someone doing something that isn’t tactically sound, we refer to “training scars.” Training scars, by the way, are another type of sowing and reaping.

But if we were truly honest with ourselves, most often the things that we do that are questionable at best are personal scars. Personal scars developed by cutting corners, rationalizing, being cynical, or any of a range of activities we sow.

Something as simple as failing to check the tire pressure on our vehicles - simple but potentially life-threatening. We previously did it regularly. But a few shifts that were hopping right at the start and now we don’t even think of checking the pressure.

Or performing maintenance on our duty weapon. Cleaning it and ensuring that it is in proper working order. We call it a potential lifesaving piece of equipment but too often it becomes neglected because we “don’t have the time” to work on it.

Or our boots. Cleaning and polishing them doesn’t just make them look better (another officer safety topic), but doing so allows you to check the “tread on your personal tires.” Steady footing is important - really important - when you are forced to engage with someone who doesn’t want to be arrested. But there are many fine officers out there with slick tread because they have stopped looking at their boots except to lace them up.

Truth is sowing and reaping hits just about every part of our lives. Things typically don’t happen by accident - they happen because of the things we have sown.

But don’t take by word for it. I highly recommend that you read The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg and Atomic Habits by James Clear. I found these books to be enlightening and humbling - I think you will as well.

I encourage you to ask yourself each day, “What am I sowing today?” While I have control over the sowing part, the reaping part is beyond our control. Sow properly so the reaping is good.