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Even though you're a police officer, you're still just
an imperfect human being, and you will have
prejudices.  Make no mistake, your prejudices will
cause you stress if you let those prejudices affect
the outcome of anything you do.  The really
beautiful thing about being a fact finder and
enforcer of laws is your ability, as a police officer, to
reach conclusions based on facts devoid of
prejudice.

As a police officer, you are the first, and most
important, cog in the wheel of criminal justice.  
People often view judges and lawyers as the
supreme defenders against prejudice.  Sometimes
that's true; sometimes it's not.  Remember, judges
and lawyers have a lot of time to insert their own
prejudices into outcomes through arguments that
are sometimes reasonable and sometimes
unreasonable.  You, on the other hand, will not
have time to finesse your prejudices into a desired
outcome without exposing your prejudices.

Here's a sad fact.  You're going to work with police
officers who let their prejudices influence their fact
finding activities.  I once worked with a police officer
of above average intelligence, but his slavish
devotion to his own prejudices made any
association with him, or his investigative activities, a
stressful experience for me and others.  If you find
yourself working with a police officer, or for a
supervisor, who has no appreciation for facts and
truth in general, you should do exactly what I
learned to do...you call that person on each and
every false or outrageous conclusion that person
attempts to render as factual.

Facts are facts, and it's very easy to reach
conclusions based on facts alone.  As you go about
an investigation, you're going to have a
preconceived outcome in mind...it's only natural.  As
your investigation continues, your desired outcome
looks promising as emerging facts seems to
support your initial conclusion.  Then...you uncover
a very strong and verifiable fact that simply blows
away your initial idea of how your investigation
would conclude.  If your prejudice(s) is strong
enough, you might be tempted to ignore a fact(s)
which does not fit with what is now your prejudicial
conclusion.  If you ever feel such temptation, take a
moment to reflect on who and what you are...a
police officer.
Everyone has prejudices, and that's a universal
truth.  While many people can express their
prejudices in a variety of ways with little or no
consequences, a police officer does not have that
luxury.  You'll be accused -- many times -- of acting
out of prejudice whether or not there's any basis
for the accusations.  Whether true or false, any
accusation of prejudicial wrongdoing is a stressful
experience to endure.  However, a false accusation
is far less stressful than a truthful one.

It is what it is...a simple phrase that every police
officer should never forget.  Even simpler is your
ability, as a police officer and fact finder, to avoid
stress by never letting your prejudices overshadow
or influence the factual simplicity of...
it is what it is.
That's the first, and most benign, definition of
prejudice.  Whether favorable or unfavorable, you'll
never, as a police officer, have any constructive use
for prejudice of any kind.  Forget, for just a
moment, the word itself.  When you make a
judgement or form an opinion before the facts are
known, your prejudice will frequently lead you to
wrong conclusions.  For a police officer, frequently
reaching wrong conclusions will, without any doubt
whatsoever, result in stress for the police officer as
well as others affected by the police officer's
prejudice.
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Prejudice
and Stress
"Facts are facts, and it's very easy to reach
conclusions based on facts alone."
~ Barry M. Baker
Webster's Dictionary defines Prejudice as:
"1. a judgement or opinion formed before
the facts are known; preconceived idea,
favorable or, more usually, unfavorable."
Copyright © 2018  Barry M. Baker  
CareerPoliceOfficer.com
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