Column: Law enforcement in 2021

Tecumseh Police Chief J.R. Kidney
Tecumseh Police Chief J.R. Kidney

It is the beginning of 2021 and Tecumseh Police Department has an opening for a police officer.

As I prepared to post an ad for the opening, I noticed that several agencies across the state have openings as well. It is getting harder and harder to find officers these days; it seems less people are interested in being a police officer and I understand that.

It is a high stress and highly dangerous job at times. There are also some rewarding times as well.

Some agencies have a hard time recruiting because of pay and some because of the world we live in today and the reputation of law enforcement. When I am talking with someone who may be interested in law enforcement, I always share the same information:

1. Treat people the way you want to be treated.

2. When you show up on a scene, handle that scene the same way you would want it handled for your favorite relative, meaning these families may be having the worst day of their life and if you treat them bad,  that not only affects you as an officer, but the entire reputation of law enforcement across the country.

3. Listen. Sometimes they just need someone to hear them. 

4. Never stop learning. I was told this when I first became a police officer and it has proven to be valuable information. Laws, tactics and the way of life change all the time. Never stop learning.

There are — just like every profession —  bad apples, but I truly believe the good outweighs the bad. There are some really good men and women in law enforcement with hearts of gold. If you have ever had the dream of being a police officer, please don’t let anything or anyone steal your dreams.

Oklahoma law enforcement needs good people. Chase your dreams and if you remember the four things I mentioned, you will be on your way to a successful career.

Tecumseh Police Chief J.R. Kidney has worked in law enforcement for over 20 years and has been at Tecumseh since 1999. Kidney started as a reserve officer in 1991 with Tecumseh Police Department and loves teaching law enforcement classes and has put on Reserve academies for over 10 years. He sits on the Oklahoma Association of Chiefs of Police, the CLEET Advisory Board and the Southeast Region Child Death Review Board. Chief Kidney loves representing small Oklahoma police departments working to improve the standards in law enforcement across the state.