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  1. #1

    Default Positive Mentors: Those That Teach the Warrior

    I work in law enforcement and have been doing so for a long time. It's a career like every other career, and shares a common theme with those others, namely the notion of bad, poor or ineffective commanders, leaders, supervisors, or bosses. I'll admit that I've seen my share of those, but based on some recent comments I think it might be worth looking at the positive mentorship that's out there. So, if you've had a positive experience, maybe this is the place to put it.

    I'll put this here reference positive mentors I've had:

    As a new deputy sheriff assigned to an extremely pro-active tactical unit I experienced two critical incidents in my first two years on the road. In each event, Captain H came out and sat by us at the back of the ambulance. His words were simple:
    1. Congratulations and welcome to a special groups of men.
    2. What happens at work stays at work - no need to bother your relatives with this.
    3. I've got your back and your command has your back.
    4. You're still alive so you didn't fuck up too badly, but we'll debrief later and learn what we can.
    5. A righteous kill is honorable and fuck the man who says otherwise.
    6. You're a deputy sheriff and not a pussy, I expect you to ack like one.

    He said the same thing for each event. He set the tone as a commander and told us how to act. He had our back and at the Shooting Review Board he was there in the hallway each time, with each deputy, everytime..

    That captain went on to be a chief. I watched him pay for medical expenses for deputy families that weren't covered and for which our pay wasn't nearly sufficient. I watched him buy us dinner at long callouts. I watched him send patrol units by our family homes to take care of our families when something happened and we couldn't be there ourselves.

    I think there are positive mentors out there and they are worth seeking out, following and trying to model oneself after.

    Law Enforcement - yes, there are some selfish assholes out there, but the more I look the more positive role models I find. Sometimes you have to look....

    For what it is worth.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    That’s awesome Johnthan.... I too always look for the positive, you have to or life to me wouldn’t be worth living..

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Beyond The Wall
    I had a couple of men like that I worked for. Sadly...they were few and far between. The admin pussy stereotype was the norm.
    Gabriel Suarez

    Turning Lambs into Lions Since 1995

    Suarez International USA Headquarters

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Hmm... JohnthanNobody, would you say your agency typically promotes/hires brass from the cream that rises from the ranks, or are they more often appointed through political channels?
    "No plan survives contact with the 82nd Airborne Division."
    "Zen? Meh! Who needs it? All that effort to achieve nothingness and what do you got? Bupkis!"

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by kabar View Post
    Hmm... JohnthanNobody, would you say your agency typically promotes/hires brass from the cream that rises from the ranks, or are they more often appointed through political channels?
    All promotions from Deputy to Captain require extensive testing (written, essay, project with presentation, and in some cases physical exams). Captain to Chief is appointed. Sheriff is voted in.

    Every agency I’ve ever seen follows this model to some extent.

  6. #6
    I do think when it comes to promotions there will always be those that don’t want to put forth the effort to promote, but then want to complain about those that did and did promote. Most deputy level complaints I see these days come from lack of contextualization and seeing where they fit in, or what’s being required fits in.

    I see many many that just actually enjoy complaining. They don’t want to be part of the solution, but just want to bitch.

    Despite this, I think there are always mentors to be found.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Quote Originally Posted by JonathanNobody View Post
    Despite this, I think there are always mentors to be found.
    Indeed there are. There is "formal" power given by position and then there is "informal" power given through time on the job and respect earned by peers and *rank.*

    Regardless of department size, there are always mentors of some type. I have had several in my 30 years of LE, but they are truly few in number. There were a lot of officers that I felt were good LEO's, but they weren't *mentors.* All I can say is that when you find one, hold on to them and learn what you can from them...while you can.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    The squad leader I worked for in Afghanistan (I was a forward observer in an infantry platoon). He cared about things that mattered and regularly reminded us to not lose sleep over the things that didn’t. I learned a lot about being a soldier and some really good lessons about life from the man and while he’s fallen completely off the map I think about the way he looked at life regularly and I’m glad I had the opportunity to learn from him.

    To offer a different perspective that my dad gave me early in life. “Worst boss I ever had was (I can’t remember the name). He talked down to everyone, didn’t know what he was doing and his approach to everything was to just tell someone to do it and then fire them when they messed up. I learned more from him about what NOT to do than any one supervisor I ever had again.”
    Point being that a bad mentor (oxymoron?) can be just as useful as long as you know what right and wrong are.
    "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit." -Aristotle

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2015

    Working with men like this is one of the things I miss about the job. There is something about having a boss come up to you when you're the first one on scene for a critical incident and ask "what do you need?" not tell you what to do that seems to be becoming very rare nowadays

    Jim Miller
    ISA 6:8

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    While in the Navy I was fortunate to have several good 'bosses' before I encountered any poor ones. One OIC introduced himself with 'Do good and I'll try to get you credit for it. Screw up and I'll try to protect you if I know you did it in good faith.'

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