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Press On, Regardless

Written by Ed Sanow

The actions of the 4th Infantry inspire me. They found Saddam Hussein through sheer perseverance. That is how things get done. That is a great lesson for law enforcement. The 4th Infantry proved once again that sticking relentlessly to the mission pays off.

Keep going back to the city or county council with your budget requests. Keep interviewing potential witnesses for the one who will make your case. Keep stopping cars for the one that has the drugs or fugitives. Keep applying for grants. Make one more phone call. Stop one more car. Knock on one more door.

Attend one more meeting. Keep gathering intelligence. Keep following leads. Keep looking for more evidence. Keep looking for better officers and supervisors. Keep trying to fire the rotten apples. Keep trying to change the culture of your department. Keep putting up with the mischaracterizations from the press. Better yet, keep trying to educate them.

Keep trying to fix the racial or ethnic relationships between your department and the community. Keep trying to integrate the new officers from a decidedly different generation into the police force. Keep working the neighborhoods. Keep the pressure on crime.

Keep pushing the training budget. Keep pushing the staffing budget. Keep pushing the technology budget. Keep doing the day-to-day job that literally defines law enforcement, and try to inspire those around you to do the same. Keep acting like the police make a difference because they do.

While other military units in Iraq made the headlines and got the glory coverage, the 4th Infantry kept plugging away, out of the limelight. The vast majority of police work can be tedious and those efforts may go unsung or be criticized. As chief, inspiring your department may just be one of your most important tasks.

The actions of the 4th Infantry are a reminder that every job, every task, every assignment is important— even the dozens of low-profile, less-glorious or perhaps mundane jobs. This is a hard concept for some to accept. Doing your job right this one time may make all the difference.

My motto for life is Press On Regardless. That phrase comes from the sports car rally held each year in Michigan. The POR rally is absolutely brutal on men and machine alike. But like any test of mental, physical or spiritual strength, in spite of what happens (and lots of bad things do happen), to finish, you have to press on, regardless. Dogged determination. That is how criminals are found. That is how cases are won. That is how careers are made.

The next spider hole you look in may be just like the last one… empty. However, it also may just make history. Press on, regardless.


Published in Law and Order, Jan 2004

Rating : Not Yet Rated


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