On all of the job postings I have seen and the applications I have filled out for the careers I have had, I have never seen the phrase “Must be Courageous” listed anywhere for job qualifications. This has been one of the most important qualifications for most of the job’s I have had. The great actor John Wayne told us “Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway”. I believe in Courage.
There are numerous traits’ a person can have. I believe the most important is courage. In my first few months as a rookie police officer, I was tasked with watching the front of a hotel. Inside was a local man who had drowned his wife in a swimming pool in front of his son. I did not know for sure, however it was believed this man was armed, and had stated to family he would not go back to prison.
As I watched, I felt sweat drip from my palms and forehead, and not because of the heat however, because I was scared. My stomach was doing back flips, and I could not hold still in the car I was in. There was a strong odor of diesel fuel in the air that was giving me a headache. The hotel was across the street from a truck stop. Then it happened, you could see the drapes move, and a man peer from the window. The door of the room flew open, and the man came running out.
There was no hesitation as I ran from the car with my gun drawn, and gave chase. I lost sight of the man several times. Without fear, I rounded blind corners, and jumped walls not knowing if he was on the other side waiting for me. I knew I had to catch this man no matter the personal danger to myself. As sudden as it began, it was over. My partner, another rookie and I cornered the man. After a slight struggle he was in custody, and it was over, I did this without thinking about any consequences to myself, I did it because it was my job and it was expected of me.
Courage is the tool you don‘t see on a policeman’s duty belt however, it is the most important one he carries. There were many different circumstances where I had to swallow my fear and take action.
I remember a drunk teen waving a butcher’s knife at anyone who got to close to him. I remember the dirt the teen was kicking up sticking to my face and arms. I remember hearing my heart thudding in my chest.
Another officer had beaten me to the scene and had a shotgun pointed at the teen. Instead of shooting the teen, I had the officer distract him and when his attention was turned away from me, I rushed the teen and disarmed him without injuring him.
All the acts of courage have several things in common. In each instance I buried my fear deep inside of me and did the job that needed to be done. I will always remember the sweat, the trembling, and the praying that always accompanied these acts of courage.
I think the words of Eleanor Roosevelt say it best “You gain strength, courage and
confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the things you think you cannot do”. This works with running down a criminal on foot and conquering the fears of everyday life. I believe in Courage
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