Coffee with The Sarge: Walking in My Shoes
Sergeant Casey Crouse
We’ll take a tall cup of coffee here. And leave the pot….
“Unless you’ve walked in my boots, you don’t have a clue!” I suppose this can be said about any job. It is especially true with law enforcement. There are other hard jobs out there but law enforcement is truly unique. In essence, you are saying that unless you have done my job, seen my job, smelled my job and lived my job, you won’t understand my job. As a LEO, you know what I mean.
Generally to be a bona fide, certified, authenticated and real deal law enforcement officer, you need to pass an extensive background investigation, attend an academy or other rigorous training and be required to defend the United States Constitution ‘against all enemies, foreign and domestic”. You are required to be sworn in. The journey to being a LEO and breaking in these new boots is demanding and challenging. But this is only the doorway to LEO-land.
What does walking in my boots really mean?
First, take a look at the boots of a LEO. They are built for walking, standing, running and climbing. They step into water, mud, blood, human wreckage, cars, offices, homes, and businesses … and sometimes in the line of fire. Some are specially constructed for spec-ops, riding motors or participating in funerals. Most have to be able to be hosed off or brushed off and continue on with the job.
Ever notice the battlefield memorials that depict a lost soldier? It’s made up of a rifle that is stuck bayonet and muzzle down in the ground. His helmet, his dog-tags, the rifle he used and the boots he wore are all part of the memorial. He or she most likely had on those boots when he or she breathed their last.
A biblical version of the armor necessary to engage in battle includes suitable shoes. Our duty gear is made up of a shield (badge), breastplate (vest), helmet (if required, a Kevlar helmet), a sword (your sidearm and knowledge), a belt (your Sam Brown) and ‘readiness’ shoes. And even in the Old Testament there were the first LEO’s: The Gatekeepers.
Wearing my boots will not make you a LEO. Wearing my boots simply takes you to the arena where I work. Call it a ‘pedestrian ride-a-long’. In the end, you take them off and hand them back. They aren’t your boots: They are mine. You will need to earn your own. Until the time you are a LEO in your own boots, you are a respected supporter or a nosebleed, armchair observer.
When Alan Alda depicted the surgeon Hawkeye Pierce in the long running TV series, M*A*S*H, he wore a pair of second hand army boots that were originally issued to a real soldier. He never polished them, never cleaned them and wore them throughout the many years of filming for the show. His reason? So that he could take one step closer to feel what it might have been like to walk in a soldier’s boots.
How expensive are these boots we wear? Very costly. The sheer wear and tear on the human frame over the years of traipsing around in these boots can be devastating. It’s not the boots but the work. Retiring whole and in good health is not the usual. A soldier may be deployed in-theatre for many months. A LEO is deployed in-theater for many years. And you may only change out your boots a few times during this lifelong deployment.
Take a walk in these boots and you may begin to understand. Law enforcement officers shoulder the awesome burden of responsibility that only the real warrior LEO can bear …and his boots are the unique witness to this calling.
Thanks for sharing this cup of coffee. …been a pleasure. Safe Hunting.