Jim asked, "How do I convince the female agents in our "plain clothes" agency how important it is to carry their issued weapon consistently? They have no problem giving me a list of reasons of why not to carry!"
Mabel says, "Jim. I asked a woman who is recently retired from an agency which also worked "plain clothes" and "undercover" to tell us her thoughts on this critical subject because as a supervisor she too heard the "list" of reasons why not to carry from her agents. Here is her comment.
"Obligation – something (as a formal contract, a promise or the demands of conscience or custom) that obligates one to a course of action." In our roles as police officers, we swear an oath or obligation the first day on the job. That obligation speaks to our newfound responsibility to the community we serve as well as our fellow law enforcement officers.
In my particular discipline, we worked in a plainclothes/covert unit exclusively and carried the issued handgun in a concealed manner under ordinary street clothes or business attire. Considering the normal attire, it was easy for Agents to "get away with" not carrying the issued handgun while on duty, in violation of department policy. Some Agents were guilty of this, especially when in the office completing "administrative duties". They complained that the equipment wasn’t comfortable and they were in a "secure building" after all. Desk drawers were the holster of choice for some agents. Our female agents were more likely to not carry their weapon than our male agents. Why does a perfectly reasonable and conscientious agent in almost every aspect of their profession chooses to fail their obligation over this issue?
Consider the effects of that decision to not carry on your partners and their mindset. Do they ask you if you have your weapon before you leave the office to work in the street? Do you think they wonder if you’ll have their back if you can’t even carry your issued weapon? How many times have you gone home unarmed because you forgot it in your desk drawer? What example are you setting for the other officers in your agency? If you aren’t concerned about what others think about you and your conduct as a police officer, at least consider what your partner thinks. You know, the agent that you spend more time with than your own family some times. The one that you count on when it’s just the two of you in the mud and blood and the beer.
Trust is hard earned. Trust between partners is even more precious. Trust isn’t issued to you with your shield and equipment. Trust comes from doing the job everyday and being the officer that your partner counts on. Your partner deserve more from you than your desire to ease your discomfort. I have to believe that the officer standing beside me is just as committed to the obligation as I am. Just as committed to my safety as I am to theirs. I’m obligated to protect my community and my partner! I can only do that if my tools are at the ready – all of my tools!
It’s still a tough job for females. There is still an expectation that we will fail. I will always remember the first female agent on our job. She worked undercover investigations and kicked ass and took names in the early days of women in policing. What I remember most were the stories that some of the older male agents told about her and how well she did her job. Those agents that I had so much respect for, respected her for her abilities. We strive to be part of a team, to be a partner in this profession. She was the example that I followed.
There is never an excuse to be unarmed while on duty. Let us resolve to be worthy of their trust and uphold the obligation that we swore. After all, someone is watching you, trying to find an example to follow. Don’t let your guard down – ever. Always Victorious!