by Daniel L. Bowen
When choosing a career in law enforcement, we are responsible for the lives within our community, our fellow officers, and the representation of our department. However, many of us may forget the responsibilities to ourselves once we hang up that uniform at the end of the day. Our service never truly ends after our shift. Unfortunately, we may become exposed to those same risks off-duty as we would on-duty. Understanding our capabilities in an off-duty capacity will not assure our survival alone. We must acknowledge that we do not have the same resources, strength in numbers, tools, effective communication, or identifying markers to react in every off-duty situation. Mastering your emotions, understanding your surroundings, maximizing your skills, and minimizing your limitations as an off-duty officer only benefits the world around you.