There are few things that suck more than failure.

In law enforcement, there are no trophies or accolades given for almost solving anything. Why does any of this matter?

Truly, I can think of several times in my career when I was so close to solving a case that I could taste it. But, it turned to ash in my mouth when the final piece of the puzzle failed to materialize.

We know who the bad folks are in our community. It is very common for all of the cops in a community to know who they are.

I can remember many debriefings of drug suspects who would say, “Well, I told you who the dealers are and now, it’s on you.” Most of the time I would respond by saying, “Well, no shit. I already knew who they were.”


It is really frustrating to have a villain out there who acts with impunity and who is protected by the same laws they are breaking.

It’s even more frustrating to have a murderer walking around breathing free air when they surely should be in the crossbar motel for the rest of their days. When you seek a warrant on some dirtbag, the prosecutor will say, “Yes I am sure he did it, but … Well, there just isn’t enough evidence to convict”.

You want to talk about an emotional roller coaster ride?


As the cop working the case, you think you have enough evidence, you believe that you have met the burden of proof, but the rug is snatched from beneath your feet, once again.

Most cops will tell you that their failures only fuel their internal fires to burn hotter, to do more and to work harder to eventually solve that case. The underlying issue is that when we try and fail repeatedly, despite our best efforts, it begins to make most of us bitter.


Bitterness often turns into two emotions both are equally damaging to our overall health and well-being. The emotions commonly associated with this are helplessness and anger.

I recall a riveting image of a U.S. Marine from the Vietnam War. In the picture, the Marine was visibly crying. He wasn’t crying because he lost a fellow Marine but, because he had run out of ammunition to shoot at the enemy.

What does that say to me?

Well, to me, there is a parallel. The Marine hadn’t lost his will to fight. He was willing to fight to the bitter end. His ability to fight would return had he just been patient.

He had to wait for his chance.


My point is this; don’t let failures personify you in this business. There will always be another chance. If the scumbag is behaving badly now, be patient. He will screw-up again.


What’s the worst thing that can happen? The individual could go straight.

Wouldn’t that mean you’ve won anyway?

Just a thought …

“Above all, it’s about going home at the end of the shift … “

We couldn’t agree more.



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