Everyone has their own priorities in life. I’m not here to criticize anyone else’s, I’m just going to tell you mine. My family comes first, period. Whatever is best for them is what’s best for me. Nobody on this planet loves me as much as they do, therefore I’d do anything for them. Familytime is the most precious time to me.
My career comes second. I love what I do for a living. When I’m on the clock I do the absolute best job I can. When I’m off the clock, I’m still a sworn peace officer. If I can help in a situation, I will; only if I can do so without jeopardizing the lives of my wife or child. I don’t work overtime unless it’s absolutely necessary. Time and a half doesn’t come close to how much spending time with my family is worth.
We all hear the statistics on the divorce rate with LEO’s and from my personal observations, I can say that there is a trend. A lot of my partners are divorced some of them more than once. Not all of them were because of the job. Those who put their careers first usually have issues at home due to many reasons: they’re always at work, get called in, etc. What we do is important because if there was no officers to protect those who can’t protect themselves, nobody else will. I’ve seen a lot of children of LEO’s end up on the wrong side of the law. Children need their parents in their lives, preferably both parents. If you’re not there, you’re not there. What I don’t want is to be a statistic.
Shift work is rough on the family. On a 3/12, it’s nice to get the 3-4 days off, but those days that you’re on, you don’t have much time to get stuff done; you barely have time to eat, sleep and get ready for the next day. When you’re on your days off, you’re usually tired and don’t have much energy. I was fortunate to get out of that schedule into what I call, “the best schedule in Law Enforcement,” which is the court schedule. It’s like having a 9-5 job, while doing what you love to do.
Everyone has to have balance in their lives. For some it’s hard to decide their order of priorities. It isn’t for me because no matter what I decide to do, my family comes first.
Bottom line: as long as you are happy, all is good.