Theres more to being a cop than wearing a badge, carrying a gun and taking down bad guys. Cops are people first, and law enforcement officers second. They have families, dreams and more, but the perceived image they present often blinds people to that reality.
Scott Fielden is a part-time reserve officer with the Washington County Sheriffs Office. With the rank of reserve lieutenant, Fielden has worked side by side with the full-time officers of Washington County since 1977. He is also the author of two books, Music City Blues and, most recently, The Mind of a Cop.
My first book was about my brother, who is a cop in Nashville, Fielden said. That book got me interested in law enforcement myself. Its about some of his more interesting experiences. This book, The Mind of a Cop, came from my own experiences with law enforcement.
Fielden said he wrote the book in an attempt to inform, educate and hopefully entertain the public with facts about law enforcement.
The average person is often exposed to law enforcement because they have a problem, Fielden explained. And that experience colors their perceptions from then on.
Fieldens book is partially an attempt to explain the reasoning behind police officers actions and why they do what they do. The book also reveals the toll the career choice takes on officers and their families.
Fielden said there are high rates of divorce, especially among rookie cops, and cops are prone to stress-related illnesses as well as a limited life expectancy.
Fielden said that most people who are drawn into law enforcement are good people who just want to help others but because often the public sees them in an adversarial role, they forget these are just people trying to help them, and to do a good job.
A lot of families support their law enforcement members but they worry, Fielden said of the stress to families. What you see in the paper and on TV is only the tip of the iceberg of what these officers see every day. They need to let go of it somehow, but they dont want to do it at home because they try to protect their spouses, so they wind up talking among them selves and banding together.
The realities of the job can be raw and painful to see, but humor helps to diffuse the stress these men and women live and work with every day. A pharmaceuticals professional working with physicians and in ERs for the past 17 years, Fielden has heard similar kinds of levity from those professionals, too. The emotional toll of what is seen and heard can build up if not released in some way, and humor is often the vehicle for that release.
The Mind of a Cop is an informative, fast read that is filled with anecdotes from cops in several areas of the nation, including Washington County.