Now that I am in the real world working again as a civilian, I am seeing life through different eyes. When I was a cop, we often heard from our administration that we were replaceable and we had better do it the way they said. Did I get offended? Sometimes. Other times, I just let it ride off my back and didn't buy into the strong thumb of the brass throwing their weight around. In paramilitary establishments you are going to have that. That is how they know how to communicate and they can. It was accepted. At times it was what was needed.
If a police department truly gives the blessing from the top down that the troops are replaceable, what good are they instilling in their organization. Is every cop just a number? Can they be replaced as easily as they chant in your ear? In the literal sense, yes. But is it really practical and is it really true?
A police officer can be replaced. It takes money and time, but it can be done. Is it what is best for the community?
The men and women in blue, brown, green, red, or whatever color their agency dresses them in are not just replaceable simple as that. Organizations should shy away from this type of scare tactic when a team questions things or asks about policy implementation. They certainly don't like cops to be free thinkers. The cops also should not rebel against their commanders unless they are marching them into some mission that is unethical or illegal.
I was not replaceable. I don't care what I was told all those years. My cohorts are not replaceable either. They are people, trained very well, devoting their time and lives for the greater good. You can't replace them. You can exchange them. However, when trading around your candy, beware that some still put razor blades in there. You might get a sour one. You might get a broken piece.
My advice to the brass is change your attitude. It sucks. Wouldn't you rather motivate your troops to climb to higher expectations and growth? Happy faces produce better work and work harder for the community they were sworn to protect. Most I met did not take the task lightly.
If police departments were private entities, they would be broke. And all the workers would be on strike. They are just lucky that cops love being cops and the work overrides the negative moral busting leadership they sometime encounter. All brass is not like this, but all of them have said those things a time or two. Maybe in passing. Maybe as an order out of anger. Maybe as a joke. If you say it enough times, it becomes something you believe. Behavioral science 101.
It can start at the bottom. Love your work. Tell your coworkers to have a safe night. Be a good partner to those you work beside. Don't be a lazy slug. Bring a dinner or breakfast dish to work once in awhile. Those that play well together, work well together. Make yourselves congruent even if you get outside jabs to your force fields. The public gives you enough hell, you don't need it from inside.
Be proud to wear the badge. It is an honor most will never know. Don't abuse it. You are not replaceable.