Years ago, the Metro Academies used to participate in a series of spirited events known as the PO vs. CO Academy challenge. There were numerous events, such as the push-up and sit-up challenge, 100-yard dash and relay races. During my first four weeks of the Academy, the TAC staff kept pushing us to be motivated to beat the PO Academy. I heard stories about how the games were really competitive and at times even contentious. We were told a story that at the previous games, the Patrol Academy, while marching in formation, began to chant, “Look to the left and what do I see? A bunch of PO wannabes.” Unfortunately, that attitude still exists today.
I have always respected what others choose to do in their careers and lives. When I was in the military, I was told that the Air Force was the softest branch of the military. The Marines and the Army members would make statements that the Air Force was soft and easy; the Air Force members would state that Marines and Army members were brutes and grunts and not smart enough to be in the Air Force. Personally, I always thought this was ignorant and self-defeating. When I looked at the pay scale, I realized that an E4 in the Air Force earns the same amount as an E4 in the Army or Marines.
The same thing can be said about the LVMPD. I have heard so many times that a CO should not make the same amount of money as a PO. There are numerous similarities between both positions: both are commissioned, both go through an extensive hiring and background process, and both have a vigorous and daunting six-month Academy. So my question is: What makes one better than the other? They are different in some aspects, absolutely, but not better. When I hear or become aware of a young patrol officer making the statement that the COs should make less money or not be part of the same union, I wonder where that mentality comes from. I have never argued, nor will I ever, which job is better or harder — I will simply state that there are differences between the two and everyone’s career path should be respected. But I hear the arrogant and flat-out disrespectful comments, such as that the COs’ job is not dangerous and that they reap the benefits of the hard work performed by the POs.
To feel that your job or your status is more valuable or important is wrong. Unfortunately, the bad guys show each other more respect and comradery than we show our own. Personally, I think it starts at the top, with training. Recruits do not go into the Academy thinking they are better or different; that mindset is taught and learned. So if you are an FTO or a TAC officer and you are teaching your trainee to not respect another commissioned officer or to think they are a lower class because their job is different, then you are the problem. A wise man once said to me, “What other people say about you is not a reflection of you, but a reflection of them.”