In 2011 while assigned to an undercover narcotic unit for the State Of Connecticut, I was deeply involved in a large heroin distribution investigation. For this, I had to become a character, I grew my hair long, I stopped shaving and sometimes went days without showering or sleep. If you look at my about me page and see my photo with my family, you’ll understand how polar opposite I am compared to who I had to be for that case. Back then, I was mostly single, lived alone and would routinely, on Sunday nights travel twenty minutes to my mom and dads for family dinner. My mom’s joke would be to lock the front door, not letting me in, pretending she thought I was “a thug,” and not her son. She still jokes about it to this day.
One night, after working back to back twenty hour days, which included multiple heroin buys, three search warrant services, little sleep and a lot of coffee, I was finally headed home. In the local town that I’m actually employed in as a police officer, I stopped at a small grocery store to get a few items for myself and my unbelievable german shephard, Nia, (Ny-a). I was exhausted, I looked filthy I’m sure I stunk and I simply was not paying attention, which for the record is not like me. The parking lot was dark, and it was after nine in the evening, with my head down and my mind in other places I quickly walked through the parking lot, just to get to my unmarked, undercover “soft” car. For the record a “soft car” is a vehicle which at one point was seized from a drug dealer and since forfeited to the State for purposes such as mine. In this instance the car was a tinted out, dark colored Nissan Maxima.
Anyway, remember, I’m in the parking lot, before I know it I’m just about on-top of this elderly women, who was alone, she had just finished her grocery shopping and she absolutely was not paying attention. If, for example, I was a bad person with bad intentions, I could have easily ripped the purse from her shoulder, pushed her to the ground and/or kidnapped her. Thankfully, I was not that guy, if however she happened to turn around at that moment, with any conviction at all and by right, she would have swung her heavy purse at my head and knocked me out. It was at this moment that the concept of Prepare To Act was born and immediately went to work building the business and original programs to offer to the public.
What that incident taught me was that, at the time I was an 11 year police veteran that goes through extensive yearly training to keep myself alert, to keep myself ahead of the bad guys and to keep myself alive. But, there was no training for people like that sweet little old lady that has no idea, to this day what an impact she’s had on my life and the life of others. If you’re curious you can check out the Prepare To Act website at www.preparetoact.com to get an idea of what is that we do. We are also on facebook and always welcome new friends, #preparetoactct. But, this is not why we are here…..we are here to learn about the importance of having a presence of mind….read on my friend.
Presence Of Mind as defined by the dictionary is, “The ability to remain calm and take quick, sensible action.” Even better, Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines it as follows, “Self-control so maintained in an emergency or in an embarrassing situation that one can say or do the right thing.” No matter what class I teach, what training I attend one of the most important things to have is this ability at any moment and in any situation. Right now, I imagine you are sitting in a very controlled, comfortable environment, maybe your home or office and you are completely in control of everything around you. Imagine for a moment it’s night, it’s dark outside, you are home alone and you lose all power, the house is dark and you are alone. You pause for a moment, not overly concerned at the moment and you think, “Where’s a flashlight?” or “That’s so strange, I never lose power.”
Next, there’s glass breakage on the opposite side of the house, suddenly, things change. Your heart rate escalates, your hands become sweaty and your mind panics. What happens next is what’s called the “Oh Sh*t Factor,” and you as your own human being go into one of the following reactions, “Fight, Flight Or Freeze,” stress response. These words are self-describing, although we will be writing more in depth about it in future posts. My question to you is, what do you do? How do you react? The answer is however I planned ahead to react…whatever I prepared to do in advance and whomever I am inside.
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Benjamin Franklin
Expect The Unexpected
Always Stay Calm
Always Have A Plan
Always Stay Present
Be Aware Of Your Surroundings
Trust Your Instincts – If It Feels Bad – It Is Bad.
To comment on that last one above, I can’t emphasize that enough, it is vital to the existence of a Police Officer, we rely on that more than any single training. In our first product review, here at Preparetoact.org we have compared to 911 Apps that we think would be in your best interest to get. One of them, Safetrek, they’ve included a really great way to stay prepare if in fact your instincts tell you something bad is happening or may happen. Check them out on our review page.
In closing, I cannot stress enough the importance of the presence of mind and need to plan ahead for an emergency. There is a reason why all police officers, from around the world, never sit in public without facing the door.
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