Know when to make a change

Author: Miguel Reyna
Author’s Email Address: miguel.reyna@co.travis.tx.us
Author’s Agency or Organization: Travis County Sheriff’s Office
Author or Author Agency’s Web site: www.tcsheriff.org

As a single father of three kids, I was forced to face some facts as I was on patrol working midnights…  Is it time to make a change? Am I still able to do this job and keep myself and my partners safe out here?

As a law enforcement officer, one of the most challenging things to do is face the fact that you have limitations.  In the course of six years I had undergone a myriad of changes in both my personal and professional life. I had gotten divorced one month after completing my field training program and entered the world of a single father. This greatly affected me in ways that I had not fully understood. In the following six years I found myself getting more and more run down as I struggled to find a balance. The stress was starting to affect every aspect of my life. My work performance began to deteriorate as small things began to get past me. The countless scenes that I had been exposed to had caused me to be more and more jaded and calloused.  My relationships with my girlfriend and children also became strained and I kept giving myself excuses saying “This is just how it is on patrol.” The stress had taken a great toll. My health was affected due to bad diet and inadequate sleep. I had gained weight and walked in a lethargic haze for most of my days off, just to start all over the next week. I finally reached that point and had to face a fact….I needed a change!

I began looking at options and decided to apply for a position as a training instructor for my agency. Three months later, I was reassigned and the difference was immediate. My new schedule greatly increased the amount of rest I was getting and enabled me the energy and time to begin exercising. I was also getting the opportunity to “re-learn” many of the techniques that had deteriorated over time while I was on patrol.  My advice to all officers out there is simple. Realize that you are human and take a little time to evaluate yourself.  Look for ways that you can make a change for the better before it’s too late.


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