conditions for the officers. One develops a great deal of empathy for the officers when one realizes the difficulties that can occur. Darren was made aware of how carelessly allowing newspapers to accumulate in front of a house can advertise that a family is gone for a week’s vacation, inviting burglary. After completing the Academy he came to the conclusion that police officers are people – no different than our fellow workers or our friends. Oh, granted some are friendly and easy to get along with while others are more aloof, a bit standoffish. But what’s different about that? They have families, spouses, and children. They get tired, they laugh, and sometimes get a bit grouchy like we all do. One of the tasks that differentiates officers from the rest of us is that each day they are forced to make life-changing decisions. The results of these decisions influence everyone involved. They can be praised for the successful choices and be admonished for any poor ones. Like most situations in life, the poor choices are splashed across the media, while the successful choices are often lost to the public. Prior to this Academy most people’s only contact with the police was being stopped for some traffic violation or perhaps being questioned about a theft or some other crime they had witnessed. All in all, the academy was an eye opener, and an excited Darren applied for acceptance into the VIPS program. Little did he realize that the simple portion of the program was past, and there was still more complexity to come. The time between offering his service and acceptance into the program seemed endless. One interview followed another, and a detailed background check seemed to go nowhere. But like all things in life, there is an end. Darren was given his uniform, a badge, and his smile got bigger and bigger. He was now a novice VIPS. Part Two next month—Darren shares his continuing education and tells about some of his experiences.
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