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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 © 2016  Barry M. Baker  
CareerPoliceOfficer.com
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