The Routine State of Mind Can Get You Killed

On April 24th, two officers on my Department were shot, one fatally, while answering a shoplift call.
Last night, on May 2nd, two officers on my Department were shot at while responding to perform a civil standby. (They are unhurt, thank the lord. The suspect is now deceased).
I wrote this a year ago, but it’s time for a refresher.
It doesn’t get much more “routine” than a shoplifter or a civil standby. There’s just one problem.
The Routine State of Mind: (Can Get You Killed)
Routine Patrol.
Routine Traffic Stop.
Routine Call.
Routine Contact.
Routine Search.
All phrases that may show up in your vocabulary, in the news media article reporting your demise, or in your police report. Or how about these other ones?
Routine flight. (09/11/2001, Boston, New York, Washington D.C.)
Routine demonstration. (07/07/16, Dallas)
Routine extra job. (06/12/16, Pulse night club, Orlando)
Routine traffic control. (04/15/14, Boston Marathon)
Routine Ariana Grande concert. (05/22/17, Manchester, UK)
There’s more phrases I can add:
“Routine Date Night” to go see the new Batman movie in Aurora, Colorado.
“Routine Day at School” at countless high schools and colleges across the country – from Columbine, to Virginia Tech, to Newtown, Parkland, Florida, and the next one.
“Routine Day at the Office,” just before a disgruntled coworker walks in with a gun, an ideology, a mission.
Folks, the world is no longer “routine.”
And it’s time to remove that word from your vocabulary, especially if you are a public safety worker.
We are living in an era of uncertainty, extremism, and where violence strikes without notice; seemingly at random. The graphic results of this new normal – the new “routine” – are vomited across the headlines, the hashtags, and the banners of the activists. You may see it, shake your head sadly, and feel it doesn’t apply to you.
You couldn’t be more wrong.
A Routine State of Mind is the harbinger of complacency – and complacency is the herald of victimization.
The protectors of this nation are only as good as the information they either develop or are given, and it is the responsibility of all to remain vigilant, protecting your fellow human being as they concert-go, date night frolic, marathon run or office Christmas Party-it-up.
If you are a public safety worker, your very life may depend on your ability to discern the important clues, the hair rising on the back of your neck and the unease in the pit of your stomach, as you engage in that “routine” encounter on the streets of your community that is about to go bad in 3… 2… 1…
The Routine State of Mind (Can Get You Killed).
It doesn’t take an act of terrorism to end the routine.
The tranquility of your shift, of your day, may be pierced by the shocking violation of someone’s humanity with no notice, and your ability to perceive, react, and respond may very well be the difference between your survival, the survival of your family member, or the survival of any of those around you.
Whether your routine takes you to a pool party in Dallas disturbed by domestic violence and resulting vigilanteism, to the streets of Times Square where a maniac with a vehicle and high on PCP plows into a crowd, or to a night of merriment and fun attending a concert at a place known as the Bataclan in Paris,
Forgo the routine, and remain watchful, on guard, ready.
In a world where the only certainty is uncertain,
Where probability has given way to possibility,
The Routine State of Mind Can Get You Killed.
Dan Cincinnatus | P2 Concepts Writer/Instructor